Dr. Maggie Davis' Blog
July 2, 2019
Does your child have chips, cracks, or cavities that are affecting the appearance of his or her teeth? Dental bonding can improve the appearance of your child’s teeth and help them feel better about themselves. It can also eliminate tooth pain from any unfilled cavities.
Understanding Tooth Bonding
Tooth bonding is a minor cosmetic procedure that’s designed to fix small imperfections in the teeth, including cracks, chips, small gaps between the teeth and small cavities. The tooth bonding material is a composite resin that is tooth-colored, which means once it’s placed and cured, it looks just like your child’s other teeth. In other words, tooth bonding will improve your child’s smile and help them feel more confident about their appearance. You may even notice that your child smiles more often in order to show off their beautiful teeth.
Benefits of Pediatric Tooth Bonding
Pediatric tooth bonding is a painless way to improve the appearance of your child’s teeth. It’s also minimally invasive. If it’s used to fix cracks and chips, no local anesthetic is required. The procedure has many benefits like:
- Each Tooth Takes a Maximum of 60 Minutes.
- It Fixes Minor Tooth Imperfections.
- It’s Completely Safe for Your Child.
- It Lasts Between Three and Seven Years.
- It’s Typically Considered Preventative and May Be Covered by Your Dental Insurance.
Tooth Bonding Procedure
The process starts with an examination of your child’s teeth and gums to locate any potential oral health issues, like cavities and dental decay. Next, your dentist identifies the teeth that would benefit from tooth bonding. This can include any teeth that are misshapen, cracked, chipped, small or that have yellow or white stains. If the bonding material is going to be used to fill a small cavity or your child is extremely sensitive to mouth discomfort, a administer local anesthetic is used to ensure that your child is comfortable during the bonding process.
When filling cavities using the composite material, a local anesthetic to make sure your child is completely comfortable. Next, your dentist will prepare the tooth to accept the resin. This typically involves slightly roughing up the surface of the tooth and applying a small amount of binding agent. This helps ensure that the composite resin bonds to the tooth.
Your dentist will then mix the resin and carefully apply it to the tooth. During the application process, the resin will be shaped so that it resembles your other child’s teeth. Once the appearance is ideal, the composite resin will be cured using an ultraviolet light.
Finally, your dentist will file and smooth the resin for a completely finished look. The entire process typically takes about 30 to 60 minutes per tooth, and once the resin has hardened, you can expect it to last between three and seven years. If your child needs other dental services, like teeth cleaning and x-rays, these can be performed during the same dental appointment.
In some instances, your child may need the advanced services of an orthodontist in order to improve the appearance of the teeth. If upon examining your child’s teeth and mouth and consulting with you, this is determined to be the best course of action, we will refer you to the orthodontist right next to our office.
Visiting Dr. Maggie Davis To Improve Your Child’s Smile
Our pediatric dentist, Dr. Maggie Davis, offers tooth bonding for children. If you’re looking for “pediatric dentist near me” in Palm Harbor Florida, look no further than Dr. Maggie Davis. She offers all types of pediatric dental services, including dental checkups, tooth bonding, and fillings. She even offers dental services for special needs children. To schedule your child’s next appointment, give us a call at 727-786-7551.
June 4, 2019
Some children are born with a very small amount of soft tissue that prevents the child from engaging in certain everyday activities. This problem can be corrected with a quick, easy soft-tissue laser surgery.
The lingual frenulum is the thin strip of tissue that can be found underneath your tongue. This soft tissue essentially attaches the very bottom of your tongue to the floor of the mouth. In order to properly engage in certain activities, such as eating, drinking, and speaking, the tongue and lips need to be able to freely move around.
Correcting Problems with Lip or Tongue Tie Surgery
Lip or tongue tie surgery is designed to clip the small amount of soft tissue that is preventing the tongue or lips from moving freely. This surgical procedure, which uses a soft-tissue laser, is the preferred method of treatment for lip and tongue ties because it can be done in the comfort of a pediatric dental office.
No anesthesia is required for this type of surgery. Instead, a pediatric dentist will administer a small amount of local anesthetic to the tongue or lip area. The local anesthetic will numb the area and prevent your child from experiencing any pain.
Once the area is properly numbed, your pediatric dentist will use a soft-tissue laser to neatly cut the excess tissue that is holding the tongue in place.
No Stitches or Bleeding is Involved
Mos pediatric dentists prefer soft-tissue surgery to other treatment options for lip or tongue tie is because it doesn’t require stitches. There is also little bleeding involved after the procedure.
Stitches are not used because the laser neatly and precisely cuts the soft tissue. Making such a small incision eliminates the need for stitches. The small incision also prevents any excessive bleeding from occurring during the procedure.
Preventing Future Problems by Choosing to Undergo Lip Tie or Tongue Tie Surgery
Having your child undergo lip tie or tongue tie surgery can help prevent them from experiencing a number of problems with their oral health and speech.
Some of the problems that are corrected with this type of surgery include:
- Inability to get proper nutrition due to not being able to breastfeed properly
- Pain and discomfort that occurs when breastfeeding
- Difficulty with making the proper sounds of certain words and letters
- Difficulty removing plaque and food particles from around the gum line
- Challenges with eating or enjoying certain activities such as playing instruments, eating ice cream, or licking lips
Lip and Tongue Tie Release Surgery is Relatively Painless
Lip tie and tongue tie surgery are not completely pain-free. Slight pain and discomfort can follow the completion of this type of surgery. Luckily, the pain and discomfort only last 24 to 48 hours.
If your child does experience any pain or discomfort from surgery, some ways to relieve pain include:
- Applying a cold compress to the mouth area
- Providing your child with cool – not extremely cold – drinks or foods
- Breastfeeding – breastfeeding provides a natural sense of comfort to the child that helps reduce any pain and discomfort
- Giving your child over-the-counter pain relievers – speak with your doctor or pediatric dentist before giving your child any medications
If you notice your child is experiencing pain or discomfort when eating or speaking, you may want to schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist to discuss lip or tongue tie surgery. A pediatric dentist can conduct a quick oral examination and determine if a lip or tongue tie is causing the problems.
Call Dr. Maggie Davis to Discuss Your Child’s Options
Looking for a pediatric dentist in Palm Harbor? Dr. Davis is an experienced pediatric dentist who can help you discuss your child’s options with soft tissue laser treatment for tongue and lip tie. Contact Dr. Maggie Davis today to see if your child could benefit from our services!
Not sure if your child is suffering from tongue and lip tie?
Take Our Free Infant Frenum Assessment Today!
May 16, 2019
Cavities tend to happen when you least expect it. You take your child in for a regular routine dental check-up, just to be surprised when the dentist tells you that your child has a cavity. Now, what do you do?
Don’t Panic or Get Upset
It is extremely important that you don’t panic or get upset when you discover that your child has a cavity. Cavities can happen to anyone, at any time. Even children who regularly brush and floss on a daily basis can get cavities.
When the dentist tells you of your child’s cavity, remain calm. If your child appears upset by the news, reassure them that it is okay and that there isn’t anything to worry about.
If you are unsure how to act or react to your child getting a cavity, you can always follow the lead of the staff at the dentist’s office. Most pediatric dental office staff members have experience explaining to children about upcoming dental procedures.
Get the Cavity Filled
Parents often believe that if a cavity occurs to a baby tooth, there isn’t really a need to have it filled. Unfortunately, that isn’t a good decision.
A baby tooth should be filled, even if it’s about to fall out. If the cavity is not corrected in a timely manner, you put your child at risk of experiencing an extremely painful dental abscess or damage may occur to their surrounding teeth. A dental abscess and damage to surrounding teeth can be costly to correct.
Work to Identify Ways to Prevent Cavities
After your child experiences their first cavity, it is a good idea to work on identifying ways that you can prevent future cavities. There are a number of things you can do to help prevent future cavities from happening to your child.
Some ways you can prevent future cavities include:
- Encourage your child to brush at least two times a day and floss daily
- Teach your child the proper brushing and flossing technique
- Supervise your child’s brushing and flossing – this will help you identify if your child is missing sections of their mouth and will help you make sure they are brushing and flossing properly
- Encourage your child to eat a healthy diet filled with fruits and vegetables
- Keep your child properly hydrated by having them drink plenty of water
- Avoid extremely sugary foods – it is okay to eat sugary foods in moderation, but remind your child to brush their teeth at least 20 minutes after eating sugary foods
- Limit the amount of acid or sugary drinks your child consumes
- Limit the amount of candy or food that sits in your child’s mouth – foods such as suckers, hard candies, and sugary gum can increase your child’s risk of developing a cavity
- Consider having your child’s permanent teeth treated with a protective sealant
- Schedule regular routine dental checkups
- Get your child’s teeth professionally cleaned every four to six months
- Make sure your child is getting the right amounts of fluoride – fluoride will not only strengthen your child’s teeth but will also reverse minor damage caused by tooth decay
Think Your Child Has a Cavity? Schedule an Appointment with a Pediatric Dentist
If you believe your child may have a cavity, Dr. Maggie Davis can help. Dr. Maggie Davis is an experienced pediatric dentist who can help improve the oral health of your child. Dr. Davis will not only assess your child’s case and provide treatment recommendations, but she will help you learn ways you can prevent cavities from happening in the future.
In addition to treating cavities, Dr. Maggie Davis can also help with everything from space maintenance and interceptive orthodontics, to emergency tooth extractions. Call our office to learn more about the dental services provided by Dr. Maggie Davis, or to schedule an appointment for your child.
April 15, 2019
Oh no! You just discovered that your child has a cavity that needs to be treated. Before you automatically jump to conclusions and assume that your child is going to have to sit through drilling, filling, and sedation, you might want to look into a relatively new treatment option for cavities – silver diamine fluoride.
What is Silver Diamine Fluoride?
Silver diamine fluoride is a thin liquid that can be used to stop the progression of tooth decay that is causing a cavity. The liquid is quickly and painlessly brushed onto the area where the cavity is forming. Once the growth of the tooth decay is stopped, the cavity will not grow in size.
The Benefits of Silver Diamine Fluoride
The use of silver diamine fluoride is growing in popularity due to its numerous benefits. Some of the benefits of this non-invasive procedure include:
- No need for sedation – the procedure takes seconds so there is no need to sedate a child to make them sit still
- No drilling involved
- Painless – fluoride is brushed onto the tooth and most children barely notice it
- High success rate – silver diamine fluoride has a high success rate when it comes to stopping the progression of a cavity
The Downside to Silver Diamine Fluoride
Like any dental procedure, there are benefits and drawbacks to choosing to use silver diamine fluoride to treat your child’s cavity.
The first major drawback is discoloration. When the silver diamine fluoride is brushed onto the tooth, it actively works to stop tooth decay that is causing the cavity. The area where the cavity was will turn a dark blackish color. This discoloration won’t harm your child’s oral health, but it could make them feel self-conscious if the large black stain is visible when your child smiles.
Another downside to using silver diamine fluoride to treat cavities is the need to monitor the cavity. Your child’s dentist will need to regularly monitor the area where the silver diamine fluoride was applied. The dentist will be looking for any signs that the tooth decay has continued to spread and is causing additional cavities.
Other drawbacks include:
- Inability to fully restore the strength of the tooth
- Need to have the fluoride reapplied
- Problems may develop with your child’s bite if they continue to avoid the area where the cavity was while eating and chewing
Who is a Good Candidate for the Use of Silver Diamine Fluoride?
Silver diamine fluoride may be a good treatment option for cavities if your child has any of the following features:
- Younger children – this non-invasive cavity treatment option is great for younger children who may not be able to sit still for the entire filling process. Instead of having them sedated, this non-invasive procedure allows for the cavity to be properly treated
- Special needs or sensory disorders – children who may have sensory disorders and other special needs will find this quick, painless procedure easy to endure
- A cavity that formed in a baby tooth
- A cavity that formed in a permanent back tooth
- A cavity that isn’t too deep
Speak with a Pediatric Dentist to See if Silver Diamine Fluoride is a Good Option for Your Child
Dr. Maggie Davis is a pediatric dentist who offers silver diamine fluoride as a treatment option for cavities. Not every child is going to be a good candidate for the use of silver diamine fluoride to treat a cavity. If your child is not a good candidate for this dental treatment, Dr. Davis can provide you with treatment recommendations that will improve your child’s oral health.
Call the office of Dr. Maggie Davis today to schedule an appointment for a pediatric dental checkup for your child or to ask any questions you may have about silver diamine fluoride.
March 13, 2019
Children who have special needs often have unique oral health issues. Symptoms of their condition, oral sensitivity, taking certain medications, diet, and difficulty eating can all contribute to dental concerns. Behavioral or medical problems may result in dental care taking a back seat at times. However, children with special needs have a greater risk for oral health problems, so it’s not only essential to ensure you’re practicing good dental hygiene at home with your child, but your child also needs to get routine dental care from a dentist.
Dental Concerns for Children with Special Needs
Many children with special needs have dental problems related to their health condition or the treatments for their condition.
For example, your child’s condition could be affecting:
- The amount of saliva your child’s mouth makes (Saliva protects teeth and clears away food)
- How oral structures and teeth grow
- The way calcium is laid down on the enamel of the teeth as they grow
- What and how often your child can eat (note: children with G-tubes still are at risk for tartar buildup and cavities)
Some of the most common dental concerns affecting children with special needs include:
- Teeth grinding – Your child could be grinding his teeth during the teeth or while sleeping, and grinding may damage teeth over time.
- Holding food in their mouth – Some children hold food in their cheeks or their mouth, a condition known as food pouching. This can make it easier for bacteria to grow and cause cavities.
- Dry mouth – Medications or your child’s condition could affect saliva production and cause dry mouth. This can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and oral infections.
- Delay of tooth eruption – Sometimes the teeth take a longer time to come in for children with special needs. This is often seen in children who have Down syndrome.
- Bad breath – Sinusitis, diabetes, some medications, and digestive problems may all lead to bad breath.
Choosing a Dentist Who Offers Special Supports for Special Needs Children
It’s critical that you follow good oral health practices at home with your child, but it’s also essential to make sure your child gets into the dentist for routine checkups and cleanings. Of course, this can come with unique challenges, so you’ll want to find a dentist who offers special supports to accommodate children with special needs. Finding the right dentist for your child requires balancing the dentist’s experience with your child’s needs. Take time to visit or call a dentist to find out if they have worked with other children who have your child’s condition. Talk to the practice about the special supports needed by your child. Some of the special supports to look for include:
- Accessibility – Find out if the areas both outside and inside the dentist’s office are easily accessible for your special needs child. Does your child use a wheelchair? You’ll need to ensure that there’s a wheelchair ramp to enter the practice and that the wheelchair will easily fit into the exam room.
- Pre-Appointments – Ask about pre-appointments. They allow your child to meet with the dentist, visit the exam room, and see the dental equipment. Pre-appointments can help your child feel a lot more comfortable with the office, resulting in better cooperation during the appointment.
- Previous Experience – Does the dental staff have experience working with children with special needs? Ask about previous experience and strategies they’ve developed to help support special needs children. Experienced dentists will be able to provide you with helpful home care advice that enables you to improve your child’s overall oral health.
- Available Sedation – Is sedation available? Some children may require mild sedation while others might need general anesthesia. Talk to the dentist to find out what options are available and the sedation options he or she would recommend for your child’s needs.
- Special Training – Does the dentist have any specialized training for treating children who have special needs? Many pediatric dentists do have specialized training, and that’s a benefit for you and your child.
Good dental care is crucial for your child’s overall health and wellbeing. Look for a dentist who can work with you and your child to achieve good oral health. Together you can work with your child’s dentist to prevent potential problems and keep your child’s teeth and gums as healthy as possible so they can live their best life.
February 28, 2019
The tooth fairy does a lot for children all over the world. She gathers up baby teeth and leaves a special treat or surprise for them. To show her how much we appreciate all the hard work she does, people have decided to create a holiday just for the tooth fairy. That holiday is known as National Tooth Fairy Day.
Here is a Little Secret! There are Two National Tooth Fairy Days
We are going to let you in on a little secret. The tooth fairy is so beloved by children – and adults – all over the world that she has not just one special holiday, but she has two!
National Tooth Fairy Day is celebrated on February 28 and August 22. That gives you two chances to celebrate this lovely fairy who goes around collecting teeth and leaving treats or money for children!
Who is the Tooth Fairy?
The tooth fairy is a mythical creature who is believed to help children celebrate the loss of their baby teeth. When a baby tooth is lost, a child will take the tooth and carefully hide it under their pillow. While they are sleeping, the tooth fairy will come in the night, take the tooth, and leave a present which can be candy, toys, or even money.
How is National Tooth Fairy Day Celebrated?
There really is no right or wrong way to celebrate National Tooth Fairy Day. It really all depends on your children and what they like to do.
Some ways to celebrate National Tooth Fairy Day include:
- Teaching children the story of the tooth fairy and talking to them about what she does
- Asking children to draw a picture of what they think the tooth fairy looks like
- Talking to children about what they would like to get from the tooth fairy when they lose their teeth
- Making a tiny tooth fairy pillow that will hold their lost tooth safely
- Watching a movie that features the tooth fairy – Rise of the Guardians and Tooth Fairy are two of our favorite family-friendly movies about the tooth fairy
Talk to Children about How to Properly Care for Their Teeth
National Tooth Fairy Day gives you a great opportunity to talk to your child about how to properly care for their teeth. In fact if you want to get really creative you can make the oral health care tips you provide tooth fairy themed!
Some things you will want to focus on when teaching children how to properly care for their teeth include:
- Brushing at least twice a day – it would be ideal if children were encouraged to brush their teeth after every meal, but they should be told they need to brush their teeth twice a day
- Flossing at least once a day – focus on teaching children the proper flossing technique so that teeth and gums are cleaned without being damaged or harmed
- Teaching proper tooth brushing techniques
- Talking about the importance of using the right amount of toothpaste and choosing the right toothbrush
- Talking about the importance of eating plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Talking about how to reduce or eliminate the amount of sugar, candy, sodas, and sugary beverages that are consumed
- Discussing the importance of visiting the dentist regularly for annual checkups and professional cleanings
Schedule an Appointment for Your Child with a Pediatric Dentist
National Tooth Fairy Day serves as a great reminder to make sure you have schedule an appointment for your child to see a pediatric dentist. Looking for a pediatric dentist? If so, call Dr. Maggie Davis.
Dr. Maggie Davis is an experienced pediatric dentist who provides a wide variety of dental services to children of all ages. Dental services Dr. Maggie Davis currently provides include routine checkups and professional cleanings, emergency dental appointments, fillings, root canals, tooth extractions, teeth whitening, and orthodontics. Call her office today to schedule an appointment for your child. We look forward to welcoming you and your child to our dental family!
January 6, 2019
When your baby starts teething, it’s no fun for anyone. It’s easy to helpless as your child goes through the discomfort that comes along with new teeth breaking through, especially since your little one doesn’t understand why he’s in pain. However, there are actually many ways you can make the teething process a bit easier for your baby.
When Does Teething Generally Begin?
In most cases, babies begin to teeth when they’re around six months old, although teething can start a bit earlier or later in some children. Usually, it’s the two bottom front teeth that breakthrough first, following by the top two front teeth. Even before you first see a tooth peeking through, teething pain may occur because of the pressure of the tooth pushing against the gum as it prepares to erupt.
Signs Your Baby is Teething
How do you know when your baby is teething? Some of the most common symptoms of teething include:
Putting things in their mouth
Rubbing at their face
Decrease in appetite
Tender, sore gums
Crying more than normal
Tips for Easing Your Baby’s Discomfort While Teething
Once you know that your baby is teething, you can do several things to ease your baby’s discomfort. Helpful tips you can try to relieve the pain include:
Tip #1 – Massage the Gums – The swelling and pain that comes with teething can often be soothed by massaging the gums. Many babies start biting down on the sides of a crib or playpen when teething because they like the pressure. Use a clean finger to gently massage the gums to help reduce their pain.
Tip #2 – Hard Teething Toys – Many little ones love chewing on something hard because it adds pressure, and it can even speed up the teething process. Teething toys made of toxin-free plastic, rubber, or silicon are all great choices. Experiment a bit to see what your child likes the most, and make sure you keep teething toys clean.
Tip #3 – Use Something Cold – A cool washcloth or even a frozen washcloth can feel wonderful on your baby’s irritated gums. Plush teething toys that are chilled also make great options. You can dip them in a bit of breast milk and freeze them or put them in the refrigerator as well.
Tip #4 – Offer Chilled Food – Many babies don’t want to eat much while they’re teething, and since cold feels good on swollen gums, chilled food may help. Be sure to choose only healthy foods, such as soft frozen fruits if your baby is already eating solid food.
Tip #5 – Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers – Mayo Clinic recommends giving your baby over-the-counter pain relievers like Children’s Motrin or Children’s Tylenol if they are especially cranky and fussy while teething, although it’s a good idea to consult with your baby’s physician or dentist. However, it’s important to use these medications as directed.
Tip #6 – Skip Teething Medications with Lidocaine and Benzocaine – Some of the over-the-counter teething medications that contain lidocaine or benzocaine can actually prove harmful to your baby, and they’re not recommended. You’ll also want to avoid homeopathic teething tablets.
Don’t Forget That First Dental Visit
When your child begins teething, it’s time to start thinking about that first dental visit. It’s recommended that baby’s see a dentist by the age of one. As soon as your baby has teeth, there’s a risk of tooth decay. That first visit to the dentist is an excellent time for your child to get acquainted with the dentist and become familiar with the office. Your pediatric dentist can examine your child’s teeth and talk with you about how to begin properly caring for their teeth, how to prevent tooth decay, normal dental development, and some of the common habits like thumb sucking or sippy cups that can result in dental issues.
Although teething is normal, it can be difficult for you and your child. Try some of these tips to ease their discomfort and be ready to offer some extra snuggles to soothe them. Once your baby has teeth, give us a call, and we’ll get that first dental visit scheduled so you get a head start on keeping your child’s teeth and gums healthy.
December 13, 2018
Stocking stuffers are one of those things parents rarely spend a lot of time thinking about. They tend to just grab whatever small items they can think of or that are easy to find, such as candy, gums, sweet treats, and tiny toys. Grabbing these types of items may be a quick and easy solution, but it isn’t always the best as it results in purchasing useless toys and unhealthy snacks.
Instead of stuffing your child’s stocking with a bunch of useless or unhealthy items why not choose stuff that will help improve the health of your child’s teeth and gums. In an effort to help you save time this holiday season, we have created a list of mouth-healthy stocking stuffers.
Can’t Go Wrong with a Toothbrush
It may seem practical, but really you can’t go wrong with adding one or two toothbrushes to your child’s stocking. After all, you should be switching out your child’s toothbrush every three to four months, so this will come in handy in the future.
When shopping for a toothbrush to use as a stocking stuffer, consider finding a special one that your child will enjoy. Toothbrushes come in a variety of different colors and even feature characters from your children’s favorite movies and TV shows. Picking one of these types of toothbrushes will not only make the gift seem special, it could make it fun for your child to brush their teeth.
Want to Give Candy? Pick Sugar-free Options or Gum Sweetened with Xylitol
Avoid disappointing your child by only giving them a stocking filled with healthy practical items and make sure to add a few sugar-free candies or gum sweetened with xylitol. These items will allow your child to enjoy a sweet treat without completely damaging their teeth.
In fact, gum sweetened with xylitol has been proven to improve people’s oral health. It has been proven in various dental studies that chewing this type of gum increases saliva production which helps keep your mouth healthy by removing harmful bacteria and plaque.
Have an Athlete in the Family? Get a Mouth Guard
If you have a child who is an athlete you know how easy it is for mouth guards to go missing. Even if your child doesn’t misplace them or lose them, they still need to be replaced every couple of months as bacteria can build up in them. Luckily, mouth guards make great stocking stuffers.
Slip a brand new mouth guard into your child’s stocking this year and they will be fully prepared to engage in favorite sports activities without worrying about if their teeth will be damaged.
Flavored Toothpaste and Dental Floss
Children go through a lot of toothpaste and dental floss. Fill your child’s stocking with some flavored toothpaste and dental floss. It is practical and something they will use every day.
Why flavored toothpaste and dental floss? Children tend to find brushing and flossing to be a boring task. Using flavored toothpaste and dental floss will make the experience more fun. If your child is having fun, they are more likely to make sure they brush and floss at least twice a day.
Getting a stocking full of toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss can be disappointing especially if you are a child who was looking forward to sweet treats. Help your child avoid being disappointed by adding some healthy snacks to their stocking.
Some options for healthy snacks include:
- Small bags of nuts
- Dark chocolate – just make sure to have your child eat this in moderation
- Granola or granola bars
If your child has a favorite snack that they don’t get a lot, consider splurging and purchasing it as a stocking stuff. Just make sure it isn’t something that is high in sugar or too sticky/crunchy.
While you are thinking and planning ahead for the holiday season, why not take the time to schedule a post-holiday dental exam and professional cleaning for your child with the wonderful staff at Dr. Maggie Davis’ pediatric dental office. Call our office today to schedule an appointment with us.
November 15, 2018
Children with special needs often have unique oral health issues that are a result of their health condition, oral sensitivity, diet, or difficulty eating. Certain developmental disabilities may also affect the skills needed for completing everyday tasks, such as routine dental hygiene. Children who have special needs often have a higher risk for dental problems as well, so learning how to maintain the oral health of your child despite the challenges is essential to their overall wellness and quality of life.
Common Dental Concerns and Challenges
If you have a child with special needs, their condition may affect saliva production, how oral structure and teeth grow, what your child is easy to eat, and more. Some of the most common dental concerns and challenges in children who have special needs include:
- Bruxism – Your child may grind their teeth during the day or while sleeping, and over time this can damage teeth.
- Dry Mouth – Medications or your child’s condition may lead to dry mouth. It can also affect their nutrition and result in dental problems like gum disease, mouth infections, and tooth decay.
- GERD – This can cause your child’s mouth to be more acidic, wearing down their teeth.
- Bad Breath – Diabetes, digestive problems, some medications, and chronic sinusitis may result in bad breath.
- Holding Food in the Mouth – Some children may hold food in their cheeks or mouth, an issue known as food pouching. This can result in the growth of cavity-causing bacteria.
- Medications Affect Gums and Teeth – Certain medications may contain sugar, increasing the risk of cavities. Other medications may affect saliva production while certain seizure medications may result in enlarged gums.
- Delay in Tooth Eruption – Your child’s teeth may take extra time to erupt, something that’s very common in children who have Down syndrome.
Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Mouth
Since children with special needs have a higher risk for oral health problems like gum infections, bite problems, enamel irregularities, and cavities, it’s so important to work on maintaining a healthy mouth. Here’s a closer look at a few tips that can make caring for your child’s oral health a bit easier.
Tip #1 – Assist Your Child in Brushing Twice Daily
Brushing daily is one of the most essential tasks for a healthy mouth. If your child needs help or some adaptations, here are some tips that can help.
If your child needs help brushing:
- Be sure you’re able to see each tooth
- Use a small amount of toothpaste on a soft bristled brush. For children who are bothered by the toothpaste or those with difficulty swallowing, you can brush with fluoride mouthwash instead.
- Help your child rinse with some water after you brush. If they can’t, give them a drink of water.
If your child can brush on his own but needs a bit of help, here are some creative options:
- Add a strap to the toothbrush to make it easier to hold if your child uses a strap to hold other items.
- You can make the handle of the toothbrush bigger by using foam tubing or a bicycle grip to the handle. Another option is to cut a slit in a tennis ball, sliding it onto the toothbrush handle for easier grasping.
- Other toothbrush options, such as a water pic or electric toothbrush, may make brushing easier for your child.
Tip #2 – Get Professional Help with Sensitivity and Tolerance Issues
Many children with special needs have increased mouth sensitivity and may not tolerate brushing and flossing well. It’s often difficult to address this on your own, so take the time to get professional help for your child with these issues. Professional therapy may help your child overcome these problems so brushing, flossing, and dental care become easier.
Tip #3 – Don’t Forget Routine Dental Visits
Regular dental checkups and cleanings can ensure any potential problems are found before they cause your child discomfort and pain. It may take a little time to help your child feel comfortable at the dentist. Consider scheduling a visit to the office with no treatment. Let your child see the office, sit in the dental chair, meet the dentist, and get some oral hygiene tips.
It’s also a good idea to work with a dentist’s office that has experience with children with special needs so they’re prepared to help your child relax throughout dental checkups and treatment. Be sure to talk with the dentist and office staff about any concerns you have before treatment so you can all work together as a team to maintain your child’s oral health.
October 15, 2018
Halloween is one of those holidays that has a lot of prep work involved. There is the obvious prep work you need to do such as planning parties, purchasing candy, planning trick-or-treat routes, and picking out costumes, but there is one thing you should be doing that isn’t so obvious – removing choking hazards.
There are so many potential choking hazards that your child can encounter during the Halloween season that is an unpleasant topic that must be discussed.
Removing Choking Hazards from Halloween Costumes
Many parents pick out Halloween costumes based off of looks, but sometimes the cutest costumes are the most dangerous. When picking out a costume for your child keep the following things in mind so there are no choking hazards:
- Avoid costumes that have extremely small parts such as sequins, glitter, or beads. This is especially important if you have younger children who like to put things in their mouth. Even older children will sometimes suck on small parts out of habit.
- Think carefully about accessories. Parents are often so focused on picking out accessories for their child’s costume that they don’t think about the possibility of a choking hazard. Make sure any accessories you pick out (masks, headbands, wands or swords) don’t have small pieces that can fall off.
- Be mindful of wigs and other items that could shed or cause small pieces to fall off.
Avoiding Choking Hazards with Halloween Candy
Halloween candy is so tasty, but it is probably the biggest choking hazard that your child can encounter. Keep your child safe by doing the following:
- Inspect all Halloween candy and look for candy with small pieces. Remove any candy that may have small pieces so it doesn’t tempt your child.
- Be careful with hard candy. It may not be small, but sometimes children will instinctively swallow it and it will get lodged in their throat.
- Avoid candy that is too soft. Things such as marshmallows and taffy are soft but a child could swallow it and start choking.
- Avoid candy that has things such as peanuts or gum inside
- Be careful of candy that may have small toys inside them. Children won’t choke on the candy, but the toy could prove dangerous.
Other Ways to Keep Your Child Safe This Halloween
Reducing or removing choking hazards isn’t the only thing you can do to keep your child safe this Halloween season. Some other things you can do to keep your child safe include:
Verify that any cider or juice your child consumes is pasteurized. Harmful bacteria, such as salmonella, can grow in unpasteurized products. Prevent food-related illnesses by making sure you serve drinks that are safe and free of bacteria.
Keep party food safe. Make sure perishable foods have been properly chilled. Don’t allow food to sit out too long if it is perishable. Bacteria can grow on perishable food after two hours. Avoid potential food-related illnesses by making sure all perishable food is properly stored and only out for a minimum amount of time.
Pick costumes that will make your child visible when they are outside. Some parents encourage their children to have two costumes: one that is used for indoor parties and one that is used for outdoors. This allows the child to have a fancy costume while also having one that keeps them safe at night.
Plan for an After-Halloween Professional Teeth Cleaning Appointment
If you want to be completely prepared for Halloween, you will schedule an appointment to have your child’s teeth cleaned sometime in November. Children will do a lot of snacking on candy filled with lots of sugar. Even if they brush and floss regularly, the candy could still cause tooth decay to develop.
Scheduling an appointment for a professional cleaning will make sure your children’s teeth and gums are healthy after all that candy.
Prepare now for Halloween by calling our office. Call our office today to schedule an after-Halloween professional teeth cleaning appointment for your child.