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Smiling Children at Pediatric Dental Associates of Glen Mills

Dental Topics

  • Why is it important to choose a Pediatric Dentist?

    Pediatric dentists care for children of all ages. From first tooth to adolescence, they help your child develop a healthy smile until they are 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.

  • Should I Visit the Dentist During Pregnancy?

    Research has shown that mothers with poor oral health may be at a greater risk of passing cavity-causing bacteria to their children, and periodontal disease can increase the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that all pregnant women continue to visit the dentist for checkups during pregnancy.

    To decrease the risk of spreading the bacteria, mothers should visit their dentist regularly, brush and floss on a daily basis, and maintain a healthy diet full of natural fiber, and reduce sugary foods. Additionally, increasing water intake and using fluoridated toothpaste helps prevent cavities and improves oral health.

  • When should I take my child to their first dentist appointment?

    The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends taking your child to their first dental appointment and establishing a dental home by the age of one or shortly after the first tooth erupts.

  • When will my child begin to get teeth?

    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.

    Most children have 20 primary, or baby teeth. Typically, there are 10 upper teeth and 10 lower teeth. These 20 primary teeth are eventually replaced by 32 permanent teeth, 16 in the upper jaw and 16 in the lower jaw.

    The eruption of the permanent molars usually happens between ages 6 and 7. Therefore these teeth are often referred to as the “six-year molars”. These molars erupt behind the  baby molars. Many children will have 28 of their permanent teeth by age 13. These teeth include eight incisors, eight premolars, eight molars and four canines.

    The last teeth to develop are the third molars, better known as “wisdom teeth”. These teeth generally begin to erupt between the ages of 17 and 21. Due to these teeth being located so far back in the mouth, they often are not needed for chewing and can be difficult to clean. It may be recommended that these teeth are removed to prevent any issues in the future.

  • Why do I need to take care of baby (primary) 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. Untreated tooth decay in primary teeth can lead to pain and infection for the child. Baby teeth are important to help with chewing and eating leading to proper nutrition.

  • What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

    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.

  • Tips to Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

    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.

  • What if my Child Fractures or knocks out a Tooth?

    If your child fractures or knocks out a tooth, you may store the tooth or fragments in a clean container of milk. 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. Your pediatric dentist will be able to repair your child’s tooth or fix it with a crown.

  • What if my child has a Tongue, Cheek or Lip Injury with Excessive Bleeding?

    If your 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 time they can be susceptible to infection.

  • What do I do for a Persistent Toothache?

    If your child has a toothache, then have them rinse their mouth with warm water to ease the pain. Make sure their teeth are completely clean with no food or plaque stuck between the teeth. You may also give them Tylenol or ibuprofen to help relieve pain.

    If the pain persists for more than 24 hours, contact your pediatric dentist. Persistent toothaches can indicate more serious problems that need to be observed by a dental professional.

  • Why are Dental Radiographs (X-Rays) Important?

    If a wire, bracket, or band breaks or becomes loose, you will need to take care of it as soon as possible. If the bracket is still attached to your wire, leave it in place and try not to touch it until your repair appointment. If a piece of your braces falls out, bring it with you to your repair appointment. If any part of your braces is causing you discomfort, you can cover them with a piece of dental wax until your appointment.

  • When Is The Best Time For Orthodontic Treatment?

    As braces move your teeth, you may experience minor soreness in your teeth or gums. This is normal! It means that your braces are working and moving your teeth. Most discomfort is very mild and should fade within a few days. To help ease discomfort, you can try using a warm salt water rinse or over the counter medicine such as Tylenol or Advil.

  • What are Shark Teeth?

    If you have a wire poking your gums, you can take a small amount of your dental wax and place it on the piece of wire that is poking you.

  • My child snores and often seems to stop breathing during sleep. What could cause this?

    If you have a wire poking your gums, you can take a small amount of your dental wax and place it on the piece of wire that is poking you.

  • Do you offer pediatric sedation?

    If you have a wire poking your gums, you can take a small amount of your dental wax and place it on the piece of wire that is poking you.

  • Do you use Silver diamine fluoride (SDF)?

    Yes. Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) is a useful alternative to more invasive dental procedures. It can be used to help prevent dental caries (or cavities) from forming, growing, or spreading to other teeth.

  • What is Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)?

    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.

    If your child’s teeth-grinding is ongoing, then their dentist may suggest a mouthpiece, similar to what an athlete might use, to wear during bedtime. This mouthpiece, which can be molded to fit your child's teeth, will prevent them from grinding their teeth during sleep. The mouthpiece may take some getting use to, but has proven positive results in cases of Bruxism.

  • How do I Stop My Child from Thumb Sucking or Pacifier Use?

    Thumb sucking, finger sucking, and pacifier use are habits common in many children. 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.

    If your child hasn’t stopped sucking their fingers by age 3, then you must wean them from the habit so that they can develop a healthy young smile. By 3 years of age, your child’s mouth will be rapidly developing and thumb sucking, finger sucking, or pacifier use can interfere with that process.

  • I have noticed that my child breathes through his/her mouth frequently. Is this a problem?

    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 these symptoms, we can help determine underlying causes and may refer your child to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor for further evaluation. Mouth breathing in children can cause bad breath, crooked teeth, jaw alignment issues, and other orthodontic problems.

  • How Can I Help Prevent Cavities for My Children?

    To prevent cavities, we suggest enjoying a mouth-healthy diet, full of fibrous fruits and vegetables. Drink more water, which prevents dry mouth and naturally cleans teeth. Brush twice a day for two minutes at a time, and floss daily. Visit your dentist every six months for routine checkups and preventative care.

  • How Do I Care for My Child’s Teeth?

    It’s never too early to begin a healthy oral care routine. In fact, you should begin caring for your child’s gums long before their first tooth emerges, which is usually around the six-month mark of their life. Healthy gums are an important predicator of healthy teeth, and maintaining clean gums will help ensure that your child has healthy, cavity-free baby teeth.

    You can clean your infant’s gums – or their first teeth – by simply 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 a sugary drink, use the damp washcloth to gently wipe out their mouth. This will remove any sugar or acid that’s left by their food, and help prevent early cavities.

    Once your child has a few more baby teeth – usually between 8 and 12 months – then you can graduate from a washcloth to a toothbrush designed for toddlers. There are a lot of toothbrushes designed for babies and toddlers from which to choose. Generally speaking, toothbrushes designed for babies have much softer bristles and a smaller head than those meant for older children.

    Use only a smear of fluoride toothpaste – about the size of a grain of rice – to brush their teeth. When they’ve gotten older and have more teeth, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Always be sure to rinse their mouth out with cool water after you’re done brushing, and try to keep them from swallowing any toothpaste.

    Flossing is also important for baby teeth. Flossing helps remove the plaque and food that can become lodged between teeth. Be sure to floss your child’s teeth daily.

  • Can my Child’s Diet affect their Teeth?

    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 clean your teeth as you eat them! That is also true of fibrous fruits like apples, strawberries, and kiwi.

    So, choose raw fruits and vegetables instead of chips, they are better for your overall health, and they won’t stick to your teeth like starchy carbs and sugars.

  • What are Dental Sealants?

    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.

  • What is Fluoride and Why Do My Children Need It?

    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 American Dental Association has recommended using toothpaste containing fluoride to prevent cavities. Fluoridated toothpaste does an excellent job of cleaning teeth, especially when the proper amount is used. Children under the age of 3 should use a smear amount or the size of a piece of grain; while those over 3 should graduate to a pea-size amount.

  • Xylitol – A Healthier Sugar for Teeth?

    Xylitol has the sweet benefits of traditional sugar, but it does not have the negative effects on teeth like sugar. The natural sugar alcohol, Xylitol, helps prevent cavities by inhibiting the growth of bacteria that causes cavities. You can find natural xylitol in some fruits and berries. Xylitol can most often be found in gums and mints.

    The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recognizes the benefits of xylitol for the oral health of infants, children, adolescents, and persons with special health care needs.

  • Are Sports Drinks Bad for Your Teeth?

    Did you know that sports drinks can contain more sugar than leading cola beverages, with as much as 19 grams of sugar per serving? The sugars increase the acidity in your mouth which attracts tooth enamel destroying bacteria. Sugar increases the acidity in your mouth which helps give bad oral bacteria the fuel it needs to create cavities.

  • Why Does my Child Need a Mouthguard?

    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.