dentist performs a procedure of care for teeth child

Is Nitrous Oxide Safe for Kids?

Most children are calm, comfortable and pain-feee in our pediatric dental offices! Sometimes, however, a child feels anxious during treatment. If the sights, sounds or sensations of dental treatment worry your child, they may respond more positively with the use of nitrous oxide.

What is nitrous oxide?

Nitrous oxide administered in a dental office is a safe blend of two gases – oxygen and nitrous oxide. When inhaled, it is absorbed by the body and has a calming effect. Normal breathing eliminates nitrous oxide from the body.

How will my child feel when breathing nitrous oxide?

We’ll give your child the opportunity to choose a scent or “flavor” of air to breathe. Your child will smell the “flavored air” and experience a sense of well-being and relaxation.

How safe is nitrous oxide for my child?

Very safe! Nitrous oxide is perhaps the safest sedative in dentistry. It is not addictive. It is mild, easily taken and then quickly eliminated by the body. Your child remains fully conscious, and keeps all natural reflexes, when breathing nitrous oxide.

Still, our doctors know that not all children are alike. Every service is tailored to your child as an individual. And nitrous oxide is not effective for some children, especially those who have severe anxiety, nasal congestion or extensive treatment needs.

If you have any doubts about nitrous oxide for your child, don’t be afraid to ask. Call any of our offices today and we’ll be happy to discuss your concerns!

Red Haired Little Girl Laying on Floor Sucking Thumb

Thumb-Sucking, Pacifiers & Oral Health

The world is a big, new, confusing place for a young child, so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that they like having something familiar to help them cope. Sometimes this means a stuffed animal or favorite blanket they carry everywhere, but for many children, it’s a pacifier or a thumb.

As parents, it’s important to be able to strike the right balance for our children when it comes to thumb-sucking or pacifier habits. Forcing them to stop too early can bring them unnecessary stress, but allowing them to continue sucking that thumb too long can cause significant problems for their oral health.

When Thumb-Sucking And Pacifiers Are Beneficial

Sucking on things is a reflex babies develop before birth, and it can be very comforting for them. Sucking their thumb or a pacifier will help them feel safe and happy in their earliest years of life. Benefits to thumb-sucking or pacifier use at this stage include helping them sleep (which also helps you sleep), keeping them calm when separated from you, and reducing the risk of SIDS.

When Is It Time To Stop?

Many parents worry that their toddler’s thumb-sucking or pacifier use will cause their adult teeth to grow in crooked, but there’s no need to worry at this age. Most children stop sucking their thumbs on their own by age four, and when they begin school, the desire to appear as grown-up as their peers will encourage them to stop.

If they don’t stop on their own around kindergarten age, this is when it’s important to intervene. Once the permanent teeth start coming in, vigorous thumb-sucking can lead to changes in the shape of the palate and an open bite between the upper and lower teeth, which will mean expensive orthodontic treatment down the line.

Tips For Discouraging Thumb-Sucking

Bite and dental alignment problems are less common with pacifiers because parents can simply take the pacifier away if the child doesn’t stop using it on their own by age three, but if your child is getting close to age six and still sucking their thumb, here are a few safe strategies you could use:

  • Praise their successes rather than scolding them for continuing to suck their thumb.
  • Create a rewards chart so they can see the progress they’re making and what they’re working for.
  • Keep their hands and minds occupied with activities like arts and crafts. Sometimes they thumb-suck because they’re bored!
  • Cover their hands with socks at night to keep them from thumb-sucking in their sleep. (You may need to tape these in place so they can’t remove them.)

Don’t forget that these strategies are for kindergarten-age and older children, not toddlers! Toddlers are too young to understand why you want them to stop sucking their thumb, so attempts at discouragement will only upset them.

Come To Us With Your Concerns

If you’re worried about your child’s pacifier use or thumb-sucking habit, don’t hesitate to talk to us! We can answer your questions and help you develop an effective strategy to ensure your child’s healthy dental development.

Jaw with teeth on white background, medicine concept. Vector illustration.

The Different Types of Teeth

You’ve probably noticed that your teeth aren’t all the same shape, but do you know the reason? Humans have four different types of teeth, and they each serve specific purposes, both in helping us chew and in giving us our beautiful smiles! The reason we need so many different types of teeth is that we are omnivores, which means we eat both plants and meat. We need teeth that can handle all of our favorite foods!

Children mouth with tooth numbering chart on blue background

Incisors

At the very front of the mouth, the top four and bottom four teeth are the incisors. The middle ones are central incisors, while the ones on the sides are lateral incisors. Incisors are built for slicing. When we take a bite out of an apple, for instance, our incisors shear off a tasty chunk of fruit, but they aren’t the teeth we actually chew with.

Canines

Next to the lateral incisors are our canines, which are the sharpest and longest teeth in our mouths. This enables them to grip and tear food, particularly meat. Unlike incisors, we only have four canines. Their long roots and their position at the “corners” of our dental arches also make them some of the most important teeth in our smiles, because they provide much of the shape. Another name for canine teeth is eyeteeth. That might seem weird, but it’s because these teeth are directly beneath our eyes!

Premolars

After the canines, we have our premolars. You can think of premolars as hybrids between canines and molars. They have sharp outer edges, but they also have flat chewing surfaces, which means they can help the canines with tearing food and the molars with grinding it up. We don’t have any premolars as children; our eight adult premolars are actually the teeth that replace our baby molars!

Molars

Finally, we have the molars. Molars are our biggest teeth, with multiple roots and large, flat chewing surfaces. We have eight baby molars and up to twelve adult molars, depending on whether or not we have and keep our wisdom teeth. Molars are the teeth that do most of the chewing, because those flat surfaces are perfect for grinding and crushing food until it’s ready to be swallowed.

What About Herbivores And Carnivores?

Our teeth are the way they are because we’re omnivores. Herbivores (plant-eaters) and carnivores (meat-eaters) have very different teeth. Herbivores typically have chisel-like incisors and large, flat premolars and molars for chewing plants, while their canines are small, if they have them at all. Carnivores tend to have much bigger canine teeth than we do, but their incisors are much smaller, and while they still have premolars and molars, they are often serrated like knives, built for shredding rather than grinding.

Biannual Visits

What do all four types of your teeth have in common? They need regular attention from a dentist! Keep bringing those incisors, canines, premolars, and molars to see us every six months so that we can make sure they’re all staying healthy. In the meantime, you can do your part by remembering to brush twice a day, floss daily, and cut back on sugary treats!

Test your knowledge and take our quiz!

Now that you’re an expert about the different types of teeth, test your knowledge with our Different Types of Teeth quiz!

baby milk bottle on pink background

Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Sometimes, bedtime can be a real struggle, and a bottle might seem like an easy solution. Unfortunately, putting a baby to bed with a bottle of milk or juice does more harm than good, because the easier bedtime comes at the expense of the baby’s oral health. Keeping those baby teeth healthy is crucial so that the adult teeth will have a better chance of coming in straight.

 

What Is Bottle Rot?

Prolonged exposure to the sugars in milk or juice erodes the enamel on a baby or toddler’s teeth, particularly the central incisors. If you’ve ever heard of the phrase “baby bottle tooth decay” or the more sinister-sounding “bottle rot,” this is what it refers to, and it’s definitely something to avoid. It can also happen with sippy cups and even breastfeeding! If a baby’s gums and teeth aren’t properly cleaned after feeding, the sugary milk residue left in their mouth increases the risk of tooth decay.

 

Stopping Bottle Rot Before It Starts

Preventing bottle rot is simple: only use a bottle for the baby’s mealtimes, not to soothe them or help them fall asleep when they aren’t hungry. A pacifier will be much healthier for their teeth. After the baby reaches six months old, it’s safe to use a bottle of water, or a sippy cup of water for toddlers. Not only will it not cause bottle rot, but it won’t leave stains if it spills!

After every meal, make sure to clean out milk residue. Once baby teeth start appearing, it’s time to start brushing them. Use a soft toothbrush and a dab of toothpaste no larger than a grain of rice. Because babies can’t rinse and spit, make sure to use a non-fluoride toothpaste that is safe to swallow.

 

Treating Existing Bottle Rot

If your baby is already showing signs of tooth decay, come see us! We’ll be able to assess the extent of the decay, deal with any cavities, and come up with a plan to prevent future damage. One of the easiest steps you’ll be able to take at home is to limit their consumption of sugary drinks like juice and soda. You can also bring them to us for fluoride varnish treatments to give their teeth extra protection.

 

We Can Help

We know that parenting is full of unexpected twists and turns, but we’re happy to help you navigate the ones involved in infant and child dental care. Like you, we want your child to have a healthy smile for life! If you haven’t already brought them in for a checkup, schedule one today!

Thank you for being our valued patients!

Shocked and surprised boy on the internet with laptop computer concept for amazement, astonishment, making a mistake, stunned and speechless or seeing something he shouldn't see

Surprise! Your dental benefits are about to expire.

Did you know: Most dental benefits are only available for one year?

Unused benefits — like FSA balances — from the prior year don’t necessarily roll over at the end of the calendar year. Many dental plans provide coverage up to a certain dollar amount annually, which means you could be missing out on free or discounted dental care. In fact, dental insurance companies count on making millions off of patients who never use their insurance benefits.

At Kid’s Dentistree, we are committed to helping you achieve the smile of your dreams and making dental care attainable, which includes utilizing your dental benefits. If you have been putting off a trip to the dentist or dental treatment, now is a great time to come in! We will review your dental benefits with you and show you how to maximize your benefits so that you can complete any outstanding treatment.

We also offer Payment Options and Care Credit if you need help covering any out-of-pocket expenses.

Give us a call today to see how we can help you use your benefits before you lose them!

National brush Day and Kid's Dentistree Logos with photo of children brushing and celebrating Halloween

National Brush Day 2016

November 1 is more than just the day after Halloween. It’s also National Brush Day, when we remind ourselves to brush twice daily and help educate our children on the importance of dental hygiene. In addition to other healthy habits, brushing 2 times for 2 minutes every day helps reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

Brush 2min2x

Teaching good dental hygiene to our children is especially important, so that they can make brushing twice part of their daily routine. According to Psychology Today, habits that develop early in life can be very difficult to change — so helping your children understand the importance of dental hygiene will transition into keeping healthy habits as an adult.

The Children’s Oral Health campaign encourages parents to reduce their children’s risk of oral disease by making sure they’re brushing for two minutes, twice a day. Their website, 2min2x.org, has plenty of educational and fun resources to help parents out, including these easy Tooth To-Dos:

  • Use a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste for kids ages 3-6, and use slightly more when they’re older.
  • Teach them to spit out the toothpaste when they’re done so they don’t swallow it.
  • Help your kids place the toothbrush at an angle against their gums.
  • Make sure they move the brush back and forth, gently, in short strokes.
  • Help them brush the front, back, and top of teeth.
  • Teach them to brush their tongue to remove germs and freshen breath.

For more tips, be sure to read Colgate’s Teeth Brushing For Kids: Three Strategies For Proper Technique.

Show Your Support

If you’d like to show your support for #NationalBrushDay, there are plenty of ways to get involved on social media.

 

Dental-Themed Halloween Costume Ideas

Headed to a Halloween party and can’t think of any costume ideas? We’ve got you covered! We looked all over Pinterest and found some great, do-it-yourself costumes you can make right at home. From cute to spooky, these inexpensive ideas are great for kids and adults too! Be sure to check out our Dental Halloween Costumes board on Pinterest for the complete list.

 

For Kids: Tooth Costume

a young boy stands smiling in his tooth costume made from pillows

Why not, right? And this is a great way to recycle any pillows you own that have lost their fluff. Just grab those two old pillows you’re replacing, a pair of scissors, a needle and thread. Follow the simple directions in this YouTube video and in 15 minutes, your kid will be wearing one toothfully cute costume.

If you want to ramp  it up, you could add a pair of all-black sweatpants or tights and a black sweatshirt, then you’d look like a tooth floating through the night. Maybe wear some glasses, wear a beard or walk with a cane and tell people you’re a wisdom tooth! Or you can wear some ears and put on some make up to look like a bear, and call yourself a molar bear! It’s always fun to get a little punny with your costumes.

 

For Couples: Toothbrush and Toothpaste Costume

Young white couple poses dressed in costume as a toothbrush and tube of crest toothpaste

Probably the most classic dental-themed costume is the tube of toothpaste. This one’s super easy to make out of recycled household items too! Just grab an old sheet, a lampshade, scissors, thread and a needle. You might need to go out and purchase these though: hot glue gun, headband and felt paper. We bet you can guess how these all fit together, but here are some better directions if you need them.

As for being a toothbrush, there are plenty of ways to make a brush. Basically all you need is a headband and a way to attach something flat with “bristles” attached. We recommend cardboard for the head and drinking straws for the bristles, but you can also use some light wood, zip ties or any other materials found in your garage or basement. Then just make sure your shirt and pants match and now you’ve got yourself a toothbrush costume!

 

For Everybody: Tooth Fairy

Girl standing on a porch dressed as the tooth fairy

Of course the Tooth Fairy is often depicted as a woman, but guys can have fun with this costume too! Every good Tooth Fairy costume features four main components: wings, wand, crown and a tutu. Even though a lot of people buy wings, this YouTuber has a cool tutorial on making your own pair with coat hangers and pantyhose. And it’s pretty easy to convert plastic headbands into a crown with some construction paper, glitter or other art supplies you have at home.

As for making a wand, we’ve seen a lot of people get creative — this pin shows one made entirely out of toothbrushes! But if you take a look around your house or apartment, we bet you can create your own. We’re thinking covers of notebooks glued to look like a tooth in the photo to the left. Maybe some wrapping paper cut thin for streamers. We looked around the house and found a chopstick, flashlight, umbrella and a wooden spoon we could use to make a wand.

 

More Dental-Themed Halloween Costumes

That’s not all! For more dental-themed Halloween costumes, just visit our board on Pinterest where we’ve got plenty more to offer. We found some pretty spooky facepaint, some more horror-themed dental costumes and even Nemo and Darla (featuring her infamous headgear) from Finding Nemo! Click here to see the rest and … Happy Halloween!

Gum Disease and Diabetes: Prevention Is Key

ADA Diabetes and Dental Infographic

ADA Diabetes and Dental Infographic

November is American Diabetes Month and we want to focus on dental care for people with diabetes. When you have diabetes, high blood sugar can take a toll on your entire body — including your teeth and gums. The good news? Prevention is in your hands!

 

Research suggests that the relationship between serious gum disease and diabetes is two-way. Not only are people with diabetes more susceptible to serious gum disease, but gum disease may have the potential to affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes.

 

As a diabetic, what can you do? Make a commitment to manage your diabetes and control your blood glucose level. The better you control your blood sugar level, the less likely you are to develop gingivitis and other dental problems. Then, take good care of your teeth and gums, including regular checkups every six months. To control thrush, a fungal infection, maintain good diabetic control, avoid smoking and, if you wear them, remove and clean dentures daily.

 

People with diabetes have special needs and your dentist and hygienist are equipped to meet those needs – with your help. Keep your dentist and hygienist informed of any changes in your condition and any medication you might be taking. Postpone any non-emergency dental procedures if your blood sugar is not in good control.

 

Managing diabetes is a lifelong commitment, and that includes proper dental care. Your efforts will be rewarded with a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums!

 

Sources: mayoclinic.com, diabetes.org

Request an appointment








Yes No
Phone Email