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Root Canal Therapy for Children

Pediatric Dentist in Midlothian, VA

Pediatric Dentist MidlothianPrimary (or baby) teeth play a vital role in the proper growth and development of your child’s permanent teeth. This is the reason why we may recommend root canal therapy for your child, rather than simply extracting a severely decayed baby tooth. Please review the information below to learn more about what symptoms may indicate the need for root canal treatment and how to prevent tooth decay in baby teeth.

In early stages, your child may not experience pain or discomfort from tooth decay. However, if your child suddenly develops sensitivity to hold, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and drinks, this could be a sign of decay. Other signs your child could need root canal therapy can include pain or throbbing in a tooth, which may indicate pulp damage or infection. This is most common when a tooth has been previously chipped or cracked and exposed the pulp within. We may recommend diagnostic x-rays to determine the extent of the damage or infection before advising treatment.

Root canal treatment for children proceeds in similar fashion to the adult experience. Local anesthetic medication is generally used to ensure comfort throughout. In most cases, your child’s root canal therapy will be a pulpotomy – removal of infected pulp only. Since less structure is affected by this treatment, it usually requires less time and discomfort to complete and to heal.

After your child’s root canal therapy, a dental crown will be fabricated and placed on the tooth to protect the remaining tooth structure from further damage. This crown will be strong and designed to perfectly fit within your child’s mouth. When the baby tooth falls out, the crown will go with it, allowing the permanent tooth to move into place normally.

There are actions you can take to help protect your child from tooth decay requiring root canal therapy. Some of these include:

  • Start twice yearly dental visits by age 1
  • Brush your child’s teeth until they are old enough to take over
  • Teach your child how to brush and floss correctly
  • Practice healthy nutrition in your home
  • Talk to your child about the value of healthy teeth and gums

For more information about childhood root canal therapy, contact our office.

A Parent’s Guide to Teething

Pediatric Dentist Midlothian

Midlothian Pediatric DentistTeething is a natural and necessary part of your child’s growth. However, knowing that doesn’t make it any easier to handle. If your baby has started teething, or if you are trying to prepare for the onset of this stage, review the information below. Consult your child’s dentist for more information about your child’s specific needs.

Symptoms of Teething

Misinformation about teething is common. Understanding what you should expect can help you know when you need to contact a doctor or dentist for your child.

Normal symptoms include: irritability, difficulty sleeping, fussiness, excessive drooling, loss of appetite, chewing on fingers.

Call your doctor if your baby has fever, rash, diarrhea, or if their gums have severe swelling, redness, or bleeding.

Treatment for Teething

Soothing a distressed, teething baby can be difficult. With sore, inflamed gums, your baby may respond to a chilled pacifier or teething ring. You may also try rubbing their gums gently with a clean finger or damp gauze.

It is best not to medicate your child during teething, as this can mask symptoms of a potential illness. Follow the recommendations of your child’s doctor or dentist.

Do not use topical pain relievers, which can be dangerous for young children. Homeopathic teething gels and tablets have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for their safety.

Dental Care for New Teeth

As soon as your baby’s first tooth emerges, dental care is needed. Gently wipe your baby’s tooth and gums with a damp washcloth at least twice a day and before bed. Once your child has two teeth that touch, begin cleaning between teeth daily using floss or an interdental brush.

Your child should have their first dental visit by age 1 or within 6 months of their first tooth. Stay positive when telling your child about the dentist. We will check their teeth and ensure a comfortable first visit. Contact our office to schedule an appointment.

Healthy Teeth for Sick Kids

Pediatric Dentist in Midlothian

Midlothian Pediatric DentistAlong with cooler weather and the end of year school break, winter brings the return of cold and flu season. When you are focused on a child with a fever, cough, or vomiting, it can be easy to question getting them out of the sickbed to brush their teeth. However, keeping mouths clean and teeth healthy can be even more important during illness. Here are some useful tips for protecting your child’s oral health when they’re sick.

Brush and floss

Brushing and flossing helps prevent build-up of harmful germs and bacteria in your child’s mouth. This helps keep their immune system focused on fighting the cold or flu virus. If your child’s illness includes vomiting, their teeth are exposed to acids that can weaken teeth. Help them rinse thoroughly and brush their teeth to avoid damage.

Hydrate

When your child is sick, they need plenty of water to stay hydrated, soothe a sore throat, and keep sinuses moist. In addition, dry mouth can occur during illness and increase risk of tooth decay. Drinking water helps combat dry mouth and congestion.

Watch out for sugars

Cough drops and cough syrups can contain high amounts of sugar to improve the medicine flavor. However, this can leave sugary residue on the teeth. Look for sugar-free options when possible and rinse well after any medicine with sugar.

Disinfect dental appliances

If your child has a dental appliance, such as a retainer, athletic mouth guard, or night guard, be sure it is cleaned thoroughly between uses. Contact our office for information on the type of cleanser that is appropriate for your child’s device.

Follow-up

When your child is well again, replace their toothbrush. Even a clean toothbrush may retain some bacteria or germs following use. To help protect your child from reinfection, discard the used toothbrush in favor of a new one.

For more tips on keeping teeth healthy through an illness, contact our office.

Keep Kids’ Teeth Safe and Healthy This Winter

Pediatric Dentist Midlothian

Midlothian Pediatric DentistAs a parent, you want to keep your child’s teeth safe and healthy all year long. Brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits are great ways to prevent tooth decay. What you may not realize is that the colder weather of the holiday season brings its own challenges to bear. Here are some ways to help protect your child’s oral health this winter.

Encourage Water

While you may think of summer as having dangers of dehydration, winter play holds similar risks for children. The air is drier during this season than in the spring or fall. Activities such as sledding and snowball fighting can lead to sweating out fluids. Have your child sip water throughout the day. This can keep them hydrated and prevent dry mouth, which can raise risk of tooth decay.

Mouth Guard

Whether your child enjoys skiing, sledding, skating, or snowball fights, winter brings increased risks of falls and injuries to both mouth and face. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), up to 40% of kids’ dental injuries occur during sports. Having your child wear a mouth guard during these activities can greatly reduce their risk of damaging teeth or gums.

Strong Hygiene

Regular brushing and flossing are crucial to keeping teeth healthy. If your child becomes ill with a cold or flu virus, continuing dental hygiene can help their immune system concentrate on getting well. If your child vomits, have them rinse their mouth with water right away to avoid leaving acids on their teeth. Discard and replace your child’s toothbrush once they are well to prevent re-infection.

Limit Sugar

Cold weather can lead to sniffles and coughs. Avoid bathing your child’s teeth in sugar from cough drops. Choose sugar-free options to soothe sore throats. Limit juice and cocoa that have high sugar content. Monitor your child’s candy intake through the holidays and ensure they brush after indulging.

Don’t Share

While sharing toys and books is a habit to encourage, sharing cups or silverware is not. Tooth decay, cold sores, and other oral ailments can be spread through saliva. Make sure each family member is using their own drink, spoon, and fork.

For more ways you can keep your child’s teeth safe through the winter season, contact our office.

Effective Prevention for Healthier Smiles

Pediatric Dentist in Midlothian

Pediatric Dentist MidlothianTooth decay is the most common chronic disease for children and adolescents. About ¼ of children and more than half of teens currently have this illness. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 90% of adults over age 20 have some amount of tooth-root decay. However, tooth decay is highly preventable. By providing effective dental care during childhood, better long-term oral health may be achieved.

Here are some practices that can help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues at every age:

Hygiene

Brush teeth twice each day with a soft-bristled brush. Clean your tongue gently with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper. Use fluoride toothpaste to help strengthen enamel. Children should use only toothpastes designed for kids’ use. Replace toothbrushes every 2-3 months.

Clean between teeth daily. Use dental floss or another interdental cleaner. Talk to your hygienist for a recommendation and instructions for effective use.

Diet

Eat healthy foods and limit sugary and acidic foods. Drink plenty of water.

Sealants

A recent study on the effectiveness of sealants was published jointly by the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). They found that sealants can prevent up to 80% of tooth decay in permanent molars when used for children and teens. Adults may see similar benefits from use, as well. Additionally, no adverse effects have been reported with use of sealants on patients of any age. Talk to our dentist about whether dental sealants may help you prevent tooth decay.

Fluoride

Fluoridation of public water has been listed by the CDC as one of the great achievements in public health in the 20th century. Studies have shown tooth decay in children who have fluoridated water sources is reduced by up to 40%. If you have concerns about tooth enamel weakness or if you live in an area without fluoridated water, ask our dentist whether supplemental fluoride may be right for you.

Dental Care

Visit our office for a professional cleaning and thorough exam at least twice each year, or as instructed. Seek treatment right away if issues are identified.

Effective preventive care saves time and money and can help ensure a lifetime of healthy, beautiful smiles. For more information about tooth decay prevention, contact our office.

Healthy Transitions: Trading Bottles for Cups

Pediatric Dentist in Midlothian, VA

Pediatric Dentist Midlothian

Helping your child switch from bottles to cups can be challenging. Babies may become emotionally attached to their bottles as a source of comfort as well as nutrition.

However, bottles can also become dangerous to your child’s teeth over time. Continuing to use a bottle too long can cause your child’s palate to narrow. This can lead to an increased need for orthodontic treatment as they grow.

Bottles also expose a baby’s teeth to liquids over an extended period of time. Liquids such as milk, formula, and juice contain sugars that can increase the risk of tooth decay. To help protect your child’s teeth, you should encourage your child to start drinking from a cup by their first birthday.

It is important to consider your choice of training cup. There are many and varied options of child training cups available. Here are some things to consider when selecting cups for your child.

Keep the goal in mind when choosing a style of training cup for your child.

Cups advertised as “no spill” often contain a special valve beneath the spout. This valve does protect against easy spilling, but also prevents sipping. Instead, these cups require your child to suck on the spout, essentially replacing one type of bottle with another. This can slow your child’s training on cup usage. In some cases, these valves may even require a high level of suction, making them frustrating to use.

Look for a cup with a simple spout rather than a “no spill” spout.

These cups are easy for your child to use and help them learn to sip. Cups with handles can be easier for small hands to learn to hold. If spills are a concern, look for a cup with a weighted base that can help it self-right.

Remember that transitions occur in stages.

Phase out the bottle in favor of the cup, don’t try to change all at once. Once your child can use the cup, limit the bottle to water. This can help make the bottle less desired. Provide the bottle less often over time to allow your child time to adjust. Once your child has mastered training cups, start offering a small plastic cup without a lid. When they can use this new cup, phase out the training cup.

For more information about bottle to cup transitions or to schedule an appointment, contact our office.

To Floss or Not To Floss?

Dentist Midlothian

Midlothian DentistBy now, you have likely seen news reports questioning whether flossing is necessary for your oral health.

We want to answer your question right away with an absolute YES. Cleaning between your teeth is an essential part of caring for your teeth and gums.

Whether you use traditional string dental floss, a water flosser, an interdental (between teeth) brush, or other form of interdental cleaning, it is important that you clean between your teeth correctly and on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, in the quest for catchy headlines, many news agencies have been providing a great deal of incomplete and inaccurate information.

Here’s the truth: Plaque and bacteria can be prevented from building up between teeth when flossing is done correctly on a daily basis.

Why does that matter? Build-up of plaque and bacteria between teeth is one of the leading causes of periodontal disease, a condition which not only affects your mouth, teeth, and gums, but has been linked to complications with diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other systemic health issues.

The next time you visit our office, ask your hygienist to show you the most effective way to clean between your teeth. For more information on flossing and interdental cleaning or to schedule an appointment, contact us.

Say Cheese!

Pediatric Dentist Midlothian

Midlothian VA Pediatric DentistIt has long been known that dairy products contain high amounts of calcium, which is important for developing and maintaining strong teeth and bones. However, not all dairy works in the same ways. Did you know that a recent study has found that cheese can actually help protect teeth against cavities?

How does cheese prevent cavities?

Eating cheese helps stimulate the production of saliva in your child’s mouth, which washes away sugars, acids, and bacteria on their teeth. Additionally, cheese is a great source of both calcium and phosphorous, which can help strengthen tooth enamel. What’s more, the scientists who performed the study found that some of the other compounds found in cheese seem to adhere to tooth enamel, further protecting the teeth from acids in the mouth.

Are all cheeses the same?

No, some cheeses are healthier for your family than others. To get the greatest benefit from your child’s cheese intake, stick with real cheese varieties, rather than processed cheeses. American cheese, cheese dips, and pre-packaged cheese products, such as those found in jars or spray cans, have added sugars to enhance their flavor. These sugars can be harmful to teeth, rather than protecting them. In addition, these types of cheese products contain a significantly reduced amount of actual cheese content. These processed cheeses can even wear down tooth enamel, increasing risk of decay.

What kinds of cheese should I give my child?

There are hundreds of types of real cheese available, which are packed with calcium and great for tooth protection. If your child enjoys aged cheeses, Cheddar, Swiss, Monterey jack are all tasty options. If he or she prefers softer cheeses, Mozzarella, Brie, or Camembert may be a great way to make your child smile. Gorgonzola, Roquefort, and other similar cheeses have much to offer for a child with a more expansive palate.

What if we’re on a low-fat diet?

Good news! The fat content of your cheese choices do not affect its ability to protect your child’s teeth. The low-fat or non-fat versions of your child’s favorite varieties of cheese contain just as much calcium, phosphorous, and other tooth-protecting compounds as the full-fat varieties.

With so many great options to choose from, consider offering your child cheese instead of sugary or starchy options for a snack or end of meal treat. Cheese tastes great and is healthy for your child and their teeth. For more ideas for healthy snacking, contact our pediatric dental office.

How to Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Pediatric Dentist in Midlothian, VA

Midlothian VA Pediatric DentistTooth decay in infants and toddlers is often referred to as “baby bottle” tooth decay. This type of tooth decay is often caused by bacteria shared by the primary caregiver or by a lack of proper oral hygiene. However, the most common cause is frequent and prolonged exposure to drinks containing sugar, especially in the baby’s bottle.

It is important to try to protect your child from developing baby bottle tooth decay. The health and development of your child’s primary teeth is crucial to ensuring their permanent teeth come in healthy and correctly-positioned.

Here are some simple, but effective ways to help prevent your child from developing baby bottle tooth decay:

Try not to share saliva with your child.
Do not lick your child’s spoon or pacifier before giving it to them. This can spread the bacteria which cause tooth decay, even when your own teeth are clean and healthy. Instead, wash the item thoroughly or replace it with one that is already clean.

Practice good oral hygiene for your child.
As a parent, your child’s dental health is in your hands. After feeding your infant, wipe his or her gums clean with a dampened washcloth. When teeth start to erupt, brush them gently with a child-size toothbrush. Use a smear of toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice. Begin flossing your child’s teeth as soon as they have two teeth positioned next to one another.

Take your child to regular dental cleanings and exams starting with the eruption of their first tooth. As your child grows, talk to them about keeping their teeth healthy. Explain why and how you brush their teeth. When they are old enough to start brushing their own teeth, brush with them to reinforce the proper oral hygiene habits recommended by their dentist and dental hygienist.

Limit sugary drinks, especially in bed.
Saliva decreases during sleep, allowing drink residue to stick to your child’s teeth instead of washing away. Baby bottles should only be used for milk, formula, or water. They should never contain juice, soft drinks, or sports drinks, which have high sugar content. Only give water in your baby’s bottles at nap time, bedtime, and in the car. Save milk or formula for meals and snacks, so your child’s teeth can be cleaned afterward.

As a parent, you are your child’s first line of defense against baby bottle tooth decay. For more information about keeping your child’s teeth healthy, contact our office.

Midlothian Pediatric Dentist | Help Your Child Avoid Dental Fear

Midlothian VA Pediatric Dentist

Pediatric Dentist in Midlothian VAThe American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children should see a dentist at least once every six months. Depending on your child’s individual oral health needs, they may need to see the dentist more frequently. Our dentist will advise you on how often your child should be seen.

In our office, we love to help children learn how to keep their teeth healthy and beautiful. Unfortunately, some children can develop fear or anxiety about visiting the dentist, even before they’ve ever been to one. We have found that the very best way to combat dental fear is to stop it before it starts. Here are some of our most effective tips for preventing your child from suffering from dental fear:

Start young. Your child should be having regular dental checkups starting by age one or within 6 months of their first tooth growing in. When checkups start from a young age, it is easy for your child’s dentist and hygienist to build positive memories with your child and ward off anxiety.

Stay simple. We like to tell young children that the dentist will check their smile and count their teeth, and that the hygienist will clean their teeth and teach them how to care for their teeth better. Too much detail about treatments and examination can be overwhelming and cause stress about the unknown.

Keep it positive. When you explain to your child that they are going to the dentist, don’t start detailing the things that could be negative. Instead, just explain that the dentist helps to keep their teeth healthy. If and when we need to treat your child further, our team is trained and experienced in explaining treatment without causing fear.

Set an example. The leading cause of dental fear in children is their parents’ dental fear. Make sure you are following your own recommended schedule for preventive care and treatment. When your child sees you being positive about dental care, they will feel more confident about their own dental appointments.

Parents have the greatest influence in their child’s perception of dental care. Show your child that their oral health is important and that the dentist is there to help keep their teeth healthy and beautiful.

For more tips or to schedule your child’s appointment, contact our office.

 

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