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Tongue Piercing

Tongue piercings can be an exciting way of expressing one’s self, but most dentists – as well as the American Dental Association – discourage doing so. According to the ADA, tongue piercings can pose a serious threat to a child or teen’s health, especially if part of the tongue jewelry breaks off and becomes lodged in the airway.

Did you know…

that there are many risks involved with oral piercings, including chipped or cracked teeth, blood clots, blood poisoning, heart infections, brain abscess, nerve disorders (trigeminal neuralgia), receding gums or scar tissue. Your mouth contains millions of bacteria, and infection is a common complication of oral piercing. Your tongue could swell large enough to close off your airway!

Common symptoms after piercing include pain, swelling, infection, an increased flow of saliva and injuries to gum tissue. Difficult-to-control bleeding or nerve damage can result if a blood vessel or nerve bundle is in the path of the needle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I let my child pierce his or her tongue?

The American Dental Association opposes intraoral piercings, and this is especially true for children under age 18. But if a piercing is inevitable, ensure that the procedure is performed in a sterile environment by a trained professional. Never allow your child to pierce his or her own tongue, or to allow a friend to do it.

Are there any special instructions my child will need to follow after having his or her tongue pierced?

Absolutely. Ensure that your child recognizes that a tongue piercing is a commitment. It requires responsibility to keep the piercing site clean and free of debris that could cause infection. He or she will also need to practice hygienic handling practices and commit to visiting the dentist on a regular basis to maintain optimal oral health.

Tooth Eruption

On average, the eruption of baby teeth begins around the age of 8 months with the incisors in the lower jaw and ends at the age of about 30 months with the second baby molars in the upper jaw.

The eruption of the permanent teeth usually begins at around 6 years of age with either eruption of the incisors in the lower jaw or eruption of the first permanent molars and ends with the eruption of the second molars in the upper jaw at 12 years (except for the wisdom teeth).

Did you know…

Babies can be born with teeth? These are called natal teeth and are usually just early euption of a normal baby incisor. Teeth that appear withing 30 days of birth are called neonatal teeth. These teeth may need to be removed if they are very mobile, interferes with breastfeeding or causes ulcerations under the babies tongue.

Frequently Asked Questions

Any advice on teething?

From six months to age 3, your child may have tender gums when teeth erupt. Many children like a clean, chilled (not frozen) teething ring, a cold wet washcloth or have their gums rubed with a clean finger. The use of teething gels is not recommended.

Should I have my child’s teeth examined as they erupt from the gums?

You should bring your child to the dentist no later than 6 months after his or her first tooth erupts. After that, visit a dentists every six months for cleanings and check-ups, or more frequently if complications arise. When your child is old enough to get permanent molars, you may benefit from visiting the dentist soon after they erupt to have protective sealants placed on those teeth.

Should I be following any special care instructions between my childs dental visits?

Yes. Before your child’s teeth erupt, gently cleanse the gums daily using a clean, moist cloth. You may begin brushing using a soft-bristled toothbrush as soon as the first tooth emerges, and your child may use a small amount of child-safe toothpaste beginning at age 2. As your child’s teeth continue to emerge and fill in gaps, teach your child the importance of flossing and the proper way of doing it. Finally, avoid allowing your child to consume excessive amounts of sugary beverages and foods, as these can lead to tooth decay.

Nursing or “Baby Bottle” Decay (Early Childhood Caries)

A child’s teeth begin to emerge when they are just a few months old and still drinking formula or breastmilk. As soon as the teeth erupt from the gums, they become susceptible to tooth decay. Surprisingly to some parents, decay can begin long before a child is eating three solid meals a day. The condition is called early childhood caries and is also known as ‘baby bottle’ decay, and it is caused by prolonged exposure to sugar-containing drinks. It is often seen in children who are put to bed with a bottle or given a bottle in place of a pacifier when crying. Baby bottle decay typically affects the upper teeth closest to the front of the mouth where formula or other drinks pass over the teeth. If bacteria are present in a child’s mouth, it can feed on the sugars and begin to cause cavities and decay.

Did you know…

that early childhood tooth decay can occur very rapidly? It is important to remain vigilant about keeping your child’s teeth safe by knowing the signs of early decay. Inspect your child’s front four teeth regularly for signs of caries or pain. If your child frequently pulls at his or her mouth, is verbally complaining of tooth pain, or has visual discoloration of the teeth, see a pediatric dentist immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I have my child examined for early childhood caries?

Both the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association recommend a first dental exam within 6 months of your child’s first tooth erupting and every 6 months after that. However, if your child is exhibiting signs of decay between visits, bring him or her to a pediatric dentist for an exam immediately.

What should I expect during my child’s dental exam?

Children’s dental exams are much like those of adults. A dentist will examine the teeth and a hygienist will clean them. You may also elect to have fluoride treatments to prevent decay. If your child’s dentist identifies decay, it will need to be treated to prevent pain and infection. If decay is severe, your child’s infected teeth may need to be extracted.

Are there any special instructions I need to follow for preventing early childhood caries?

Children’s teeth may be temporary, but they still depend on their oral health to develop communication skills and chew food. You can prevent early childhood caries by adopting healthy habits when at the first sign of your child’s first tooth:

  • Avoid putting your child to bed or consoling him or her with a bottle
  • Avoid giving your child sugar-filled beverages from a bottle
  • Make a habit of brushing your child’s teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush daily
  • Begin using a smear of fluoride toothpaste when the first tooth erupts and increase to a peasize once your child can spit out the toothpaste
  • Never share saliva with your baby, as it introduces cavity-causing bacteria to the mouth
  • Avoid using a bottle after your child’s first birthday

Special Health Care Needs Patients

Special health care needs include any physical, developmental, mental, sensory, behavioral, cognitive, or emotional impairment or limiting condition that requires medical management, health care intervention, and/or use of specialized services or programs. The condition may be congenital, developmental, or acquired through disease, trauma, or environmental cause and may impose limitations in performing daily self maintenance activities or substantial limitations in a major life activity.

An integral part of the Pediatric Dentistry training and education is concerned with the medical and dental health of the special patient. Patients with significant medical, physical, or mental disabilities often present challenges to dentists. Our training allows us to address their special needs and provide the best care possible.

Dental Health and Diet

A healthy diet is a balanced diet that naturally supplies all the nutrients your child needs to grow. A balanced diet is one that includes the following major food groups:

Frequently Asked Questions

How does my children’s diet affect their dental health?

They must have a balanced diet for their teeth to develop properly. They also need a balanced diet for healthy gum tissue around the teeth. Equally important, a diet high in certain kinds of carbohydrates, such as sugar and starches, may place your child at extra risk for tooth decay.

How do I make my children’s diet safe for their teeth?

First, be sure they have a balanced diet. Then, check how frequently they eat foods with sugar or starch in them. Foods with starch include breads, crackers, pasta and snacks, such as pretzels, and potato chips. When checking for sugar, look beyond the sugar bowl and candy dish. A variety of foods contain one or more types of sugar, and all types of sugars can promote dental decay. Fruits, a few vegetables, and most milk products have at least one type of sugar.

Sugar can be found in many processed foods, even some that do not taste sweet. For example, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich not only has sugar in the jelly, but may have sugar added to the peanut butter. Sugar is also added to such condiments as ketchup and salad dressings.

Should may child give up all foods with sugar or starch?

Certainly not!! Many of these foods provide nutrients your child needs. You simply need to select and serve them wisely. A food with sugar or starch is safer for teeth if it is eaten with a meal, not as a snack. Sticky foods, such as dried fruit or toffee, are not easily washed away from the teeth by saliva, water or milk. Therefore, they have more cavity-causing potential than foods more rapidly cleared from the teeth. Talk to your pediatric dentist about selecting and serving foods that protect your child’s dental health.

Does a balanced diet assure that my child is getting enough fluoride?

No. A balanced diet does not guarantee the proper amount of fluoride for the development and maintenance of your child’s teeth. If you do not live in a fluoridated community or have an ideal amount of naturally occurring fluoride in your well water, your child may need a fluoride supplement during the years of tooth development. Your pediatric dentist can help assess how much supplemental fluoride your child needs, based upon the amount of fluoride in your drinking water and other potential sources of fluoride.

My youngest is not on solid foods yet. Do you have any suggestions for him?

Do not nurse a young child to sleep or put him to bed with a bottle of milk, formula, juice or sweetened liquid. While a child sleeps, any unswallowed liquid in the mouth feeds bacteria that produce acids and attack the teeth. Protect your child from severe tooth decay by putting him to bed with nothing more than a bottle of water.

Final Tips for your child’s diet and dental health

  1. Ask your pediatric dentist to help you assess your child’s diet.
  2. Shop smart! Do not routinely stock your pantry with sugary or starchy snacks. Buy fun foods just for special times.
  3. Limit the number of snack times; choose nutritious snacks.
  4. Provide a balanced diet, and save foods with sugar or starch for meal times.
  5. Do not put your young child to bed with a bottle of milk, formula, or juice.
  6. If your child chews gum or sips soda, choose those without sugar.

Child’s First Visit

Your child’s first visit to the dentist is a developmental milestone. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child’s first visit be at the eruption of their first tooth and no later than their first birthday.

Visiting the dentist for the first time!

Your child’s first dental appointment is the time when you will get to know your pediatric dentists and we will get to know you and your child.

The first visit is an opportunity for our pediatric dentists to evaluate your child’s oral and dental health and help establish good oral hygiene routines. We will check your child’s teeth and gums, oral development and provide a dental cleaning, fluoride treatment and x-rays if necessary.

Topics that will be covered include: teething and tooth eruption, diet, fluoride, oral hygiene, caries risk assessment, habits and more. This is also your opportunity to ask any questions you may have.

Our goal is to establish a “dental home” for your child; one where he/she will feel comfortable and one that is easily accessible for routine care and dental emergencies. As your child’s dental home you can feel confident that we can always be contacted for your child’s dental needs!

Frequently Asked Questions

My child still has ‘baby teeth.’ Is it really necessary for us to visit a dentist?

Yes. The primary teeth are not only important for communication and digestion, but they also directly impact the future health and development of your child’s permanent teeth.

What should I expect at my child’s first dental visit?

You should expect an environment that is kid-friendly including an area for children of all ages. The little ones can bring the playground inside and play on the slide, for the computer savvy kids we have i-pad gaming stations or they can visit our fish tank until their name is called. Once called, your child will either go straight to our brushing station; where one of our staff will demonstrate brushing and have them brush their teeth. If patients require x-rays of their teeth, that will be done before they brush. Your child will then sit in an exam chair where their teeth and gums and dental development will be checked, cleaned and provided fluoride treatment.

Will I need to follow-up with my child’s dentist in the future?

Yes. You should return to the dentist for additional pediatric dental check-ups and cleanings at least once every 6 months. Also, do not hesitate to contact your child’s dentist if you notice signs of decay, oral pain, or developmental delays.

Invisalign/Invisalign Teen

Invisalign® is an orthodontic appliance system used to inconspicuously treat crooked and crowded teeth in adults and teens. This modern take on braces features a system of clear aligner trays that are worn at all times with the exception of during meals and when brushing or flossing. The trays are custom fitted to the teeth, making them virtually unnoticeable when laughing, talking, and eating with other people. Patients receive a sequence of trays, each of which is slightly different than the one before. The aligners provide a slight resistance to the teeth, forcing them to move into alignment over time. With Invisalign®, adults and teens can achieve the smiles they’ve always wanted without feeling self-conscious about the mode of treatment.

Did you know…

wearing Invisalign® is in no way as restrictive as traditional braces? Many adults opt for this system not only because it is discreet, but also because there is no need to change your diet to avoid foods that could damage braces. This is because the Invisalign® system is free of braces and brackets, instead opting for a removable tray that can be taken out prior to meals. Also, Invisalign® fits well into busy adult schedules, as there is no need to attend frequent visits for wire tightening. Most patients simply change to a new aligner tray every couple of weeks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I a candidate for Invisalign®?

If you have crooked or crowded teeth that are embarrassing to you or otherwise preventing you from achieving optimal oral health, Invisalign® could be the solution for you. Visit your Invisalign® dentist for a complete consultation to find out if you could benefit from clear orthodontics.

What should I expect during my Invisalign® treatment?

You will wear your aligners nearly all of the time, with the exception of about two hours per day. Invisalign® treatments are different for everyone, but most patients can achieve their ideal smiles within one to two years. During that time, you can expect to make occasional dental visits to monitor your progress.

Will I need any post-treatment care?

Following your treatment, you will no longer need to wear Invisalign® trays. However, you will need to wear a retainer each day to help protect your new smile. It is also important to continue visiting your dentist for routine check-ups and twice-yearly cleaning.

Types of Braces

Dental braces have come a long way since they were invented in the 1800’s. Today, Americans and residents of are privy to a bevy of tooth-straightening options, each of which offers different benefits. Currently, the most popular types of braces used in include:

  • Metal Braces – These are traditional braces most often seen in children and teenagers. Metal braces are the most affordable and use a system of brackets and wires to move the teeth over time.
  • Invisalign – This modern orthodontic treatment is highly popular among adults who want to straighten their smiles discreetly. Invisalign orthodontics is a system of customized plastic trays that are worn day and night, with the exception of when a patient is eating, brushing and flossing. The invisible trays are switched out every couple of weeks until a desirable result is achieved.
  • Lingual Braces – These metal braces attach to the backs of the teeth and are not visible to other people.
  • Ceramic Braces – These braces work like traditional metal braces, except that the brackets bonded to the teeth are made of ceramic. This helps prevent staining, and they can also be color-matched to blend with the teeth.

Did you know…

that you do not have to have crooked teeth to benefit from braces? Even patients with a little bit of crowding can benefit from orthodontic treatment. When the teeth are properly aligned, patients can better clean between the teeth, preventing decay and gum disease. Furthermore, teeth that are optimally aligned can help remedy malocclusion complications, such as headaches.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need braces?

Only you and your dentist can determine whether braces are right for you. However, chances are you could benefit from treatment if your teeth are crooked, overlapping or protruding. Schedule an appointment with your dentist or orthodontist for more information.

What should I expect while I have braces?

You will have certain dietary restrictions with most types of braces except Invisalign. Some foods, such as hard, sticky and chewy foods, can have an adverse effect on braces and damage the brackets and wires. You will also need to make frequent office visits to have wires tightened. If you have Invisalign, there are no dietary restrictions, as the orthodontic trays are fully removable when eating. You’ll also be able to switch to a new Invisalign tray every few weeks without visiting your dentist.

What happens when my orthodontic treatment is complete?

When you have completed your treatment, you will have your braces removed and be given a retainer. The retainer must be worn at all times initially to help preserve the new placement of your teeth. As time progresses, you may be able to begin wearing your retainer only at night.

Adult Treatment

Everyone deserves a smile they can be proud of, and many achieve straightened, well-aligned teeth after undergoing orthodontic treatment as a child. But for adults who do not have the privilege of having straight teeth, orthodontics are still an option. In fact, there is no such thing as being too old for orthodontic treatment. More adults than ever are seeking straighter teeth – perhaps due to advancements in modern dentistry that allow for more discreet and less invasive orthodontic treatments. And braces aren’t becoming popular for cosmetic reasons alone. Rather, many adults are realizing the long-term oral health benefits associated with having straighter teeth.

Did you know?

There are many myths surrounding braces and adult orthodontics:

  • MYTH: Adults don’t get braces.
  • FACT: Approximately 20 percent of all orthodontic patients are adults over age 18.
  • MYTH: Braces are too embarrassing as an adult.
  • FACT: Today’s braces can be made from ceramic to blend in with your natural tooth shade. Many adults also opt for removable braces made of clear and discreet aligning trays.
  • MYTH: I don’t want to spend years in braces.
  • FACT: You probably won’t have to. Many adults complete orthodontic treatment in just months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I a candidate for adult orthodontics?

You may be a candidate for adult orthodontics if your teeth are crowded, overlapping, crooked, or have gaps between them. To find out more about your treatment options, schedule a consultation with your orthodontist.

What should I expect during adult orthodontic treatment?

During your orthodontic screening, you will undergo an examination and digital imaging to determine the position of your teeth and bite. Your orthodontist will map out a treatment plan designed to give you the straightest teeth possible in the least amount of time. Depending on the type of braces you choose – traditional or removable – you’ll be fitted for your appliance and given instructions on how frequently to return for follow-up appointments.

Will I need to follow any special instructions while I have my braces?

Yes. If you are wearing clear aligners, you’ll need to change out your trays every few days or weeks. You’ll also be instructed to wear your aligners at all times, with the exception of during meals and while brushing your teeth. If you have traditional metal or ceramic braces, you may be given special instructions to avoid biting down on hard or chewy foods, such as popcorn kernels, ice and taffy.

Adolescent Treatment

Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a dual step method of aligning a child’s teeth and producing a functional bite. Usually, two-step orthodontic treatments begin between the ages of 7 and 9, when many of the primary teeth remain in a child’s mouth. The braces stay on for a year or two, after which time they are removed and replaced with a retainer. This resting phase lasts about 3 years, after which time children return to the orthodontist for the second phase of treatment. From start to finish, two phase orthodontics can take 5 years or more, but most orthodontists and parents believe the results are often worth the extended treatment time.

Did you know…

the American Association of Orthodontists endorses early childhood orthodontic treatments? The Association recommends an initial screening for every child no later than age 7. Because children this age have achieved approximately 80 percent of their total facial growth, a first phase of treatment during this time period can leverage remaining growth. By the time they reach age 11 or 12 (when the second phase of treatment is initiated), children have achieved more than 90 percent of their lifetime facial growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does my child need two-phase orthodontic treatment?

The only way to know if your child needs orthodontic treatment of any kind is by visiting an orthodontist. Children as young as 4 can be screened, although the AAO recommends waiting no longer than age 7. If your child is over age 7 and has not yet been screened, make an appointment for a consultation at your earliest convenience.

What should I expect during a two-phase treatment?

Between the first and second treatment phases, you’ll need to bring your child to the orthodontist periodically to monitor progress and check the condition of your child’s retainer. He or she may also need occasional x-rays to ensure everything is progressing smoothly and as planned. Once your child has lost his or her final primary tooth, you’ll return yet again to get the second set of braces – usually around the age of 12.

Will I need to follow any special care instructions while my child is undergoing two-step orthodontic treatment?

Yes. Orthodontic appliances are designed for durability but can easily break when not cared for. You’ll need to ensure your child is following all directions for brushing around the braces and also exclude hard candies or foods that could damage the appliance components.