How Breastfeeding Impacts Your Child’s Oral Health
May 5, 2020
Breastfeeding has proven to have countless benefits for both mother and baby. Many people are aware that it protects against allergies and eczema, reduces the risk of viruses and certain infections, and can even lessen the threat of SIDS. But did you know that breastfeeding can also affect the oral health of your baby?
Delivers Essential Nutrients
Breast milk provides children with the essential nutrients they need to grow and thrive. Each of these nutrients is important for maintaining healthy gums and teeth, once they erupt. Breast milk contains fatty acids which reduce inflammation, proteins which help build strong jaw muscles, and vitamins needed for good overall oral health.
Aids in Bite Alignment
In a recent study, researchers discovered that babies who were breastfed exclusively for the first six months of their life were 72 percent less likely to develop crooked teeth. This is primarily due to the sucking mechanism that differs between breastfed and bottle-fed babies. Breastfeeding stimulates the lower facial muscles which can help tone and strengthen the jaw. This can reduce the risk of bite alignment as the child grows.
Reduces the Risk of Tooth Decay
While any child can suffer from tooth decay, babies who are bottle-fed are more likely to develop cavities. Baby bottle tooth decay can occur due to frequent, prolonged exposure of a baby’s teeth to beverages that contain sugar; for example, when a baby is put to sleep with a bottle. Breastfeeding minimizes the risk of baby bottle tooth decay as most babies who breastfeed are not usually exposed to milk for as long of a period as bottle-fed babies.
Breastfeeding can also ward off cavities in other ways. Breast milk contains antibodies that help fight back against harmful bacteria in the mouth. This antibiotic effect of antibodies helps to counteract the effect of tooth decay to help children maintain a healthy smile. This is especially important for children who have certain genetic defects or health conditions that cause soft enamel, making them more prone to tooth decay.
Tips for Breastfeeding Moms
Many pediatric dental specialists recommend starting good oral hygiene care before your baby’s first tooth even appears. While you might not be able to see your little one’s teeth, they’re still there. In fact, teeth begin to form as early as the second trimester of pregnancy. Most babies will have 20 primary teeth when they are born, some of which are fully developed in the jaw.
To help care for your child’s smile, follow these simple tips:
- Gently run a clean, damp washcloth over your baby’s gums after each feeding to remove harmful bacteria.
- Once teeth emerge, use a small amount of water, an infant toothbrush, and a dot of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice) to brush your child’s teeth.
- When teeth begin to touch, start flossing between them.
- Start teaching your child to spit while brushing around age two. Once your child has reached age three, upgrade to a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
- Schedule a visit to a kids’ dentist by the time your child reaches their first birthday. Your pediatric dentist will perform a basic exam and explain proper brushing and flossing techniques.
- Ask your dentist about applying a topical fluoride if your child is at high risk for tooth decay.
- Promote good nutrition by limiting the number of sugary foods and beverages in your child’s diet. Candy, juice, and other sugary foods and drinks can erode enamel and contribute to cavities.
Breastfeeding and Good Oral Health
While the health of your child is your first priority, it is also important to take time for yourself. Motherhood is a big responsibility but don’t neglect your own health, including your oral health. If you have any more questions about breastfeeding and its connection to oral health, contact the pediatric dentists at Dr. Maggie Davis & Associates in Palm Harbor, Florida today to learn more.
Saliva and Your Child’s Oral Health
April 23, 2020
Your child’s oral health is very important. There’s a lot going on in their little mouths that need to be taken care of from the time they are born. Did you know that the saliva in your child’s mouth provides them with a “natural bath” until it’s time to brush their teeth? It’s true. Think of it as a gift from nature in taking care of your teeth, because it’s the same for adults too. Let’s look at some ways to keep this saliva secretion healthy!
How Saliva Improves a Child’s Oral Health
Saliva is the clear liquid that a mouth produces from salivary glands. These are located all around the mouth and work constantly to produce a healthy amount of saliva or “spit,” as it’s sometimes called. Made up mostly of water, overall each day your body can make around two pints of the secretion. It’s a little icky to think of, but that massive amount of saliva is working hard to make your mouth the healthiest it can be.
Even though it is mainly water, saliva also contains electrolytes and has other antibacterial properties that aid in keeping your mouth healthy. This is important for your child’s overall wellness.
Saliva Helps to Break Down Food Particles
One of the biggest jobs of saliva is to break down food particles. It would be very difficult to eat just about anything without saliva helping out the process. Along with your child’s teeth and tongue, saliva gets the food nice and moist to make sure it goes down their throat with ease.
After your child eats, it’s natural that some of the food particles will remain in their teeth. The saliva gradually washes away and breaks down those food particles, so they don’t stay embedded between the teeth and in the gums before they floss or brush.
Saliva also reduces the harmful bacteria that may remain in the mouth. That’s due to the enzymes in the saliva that can help reduce the amount of times your child may become ill. So when you think of it, saliva is really a superhero solution in your child’s mouth.
A Pediatric Dentist Loves What Saliva Does
Proper saliva production can keep teeth and gums healthy. It protects the teeth by acting as a natural cleaning agent to bathe the teeth between brushing sessions, morning and night. Pediatric dentists just love what saliva can do for your child’s teeth because it helps prevent problems, like cavities, from forming over the long run. Saliva truly does a wonder of good for your mouth.
Keep in mind that it’s still absolutely vital to encourage and make sure that your child brushes their teeth twice a day. More than likely, you will have to supervise your child and assist in proper brushing until they are around the age of eight. Make sure they brush their teeth for a least two minutes per session. Make it a fun activity for your child if it’s something they don’t like to do very much. Play or sing a fun song for them, let them pick out a toothbrush with colors or characters they like, and tell them how proud you are after they do a great job at cleaning their teeth.
Ways to Improve Saliva Production in Your Child
Your pediatric dentist will be able to tell if your child’s mouth is producing enough saliva by doing a regular exam. Some tips to make sure that your child’s mouth is properly hydrated is by making sure they get enough water each day. It can also help to let your older children chew sugar-free gum or have a mint after a meal to enhance the activity of their saliva.
If you have questions about your child’s oral health, it’s important to find the right pediatric dentist for your family. At Maggie Davis & Associates, one of our goals is to help your kids “grow up smiling” by helping them develop a healthy, beautiful cavity-free smile. Contact us today to make an appointment for your child’s next visit!
How to Be Part of Our Cavity-Free Club
March 3, 2020
Want to help your child become a member of the Cavity-Free Club? It takes just a few minutes a day to establish a good oral hygiene routine. Read on to learn more!
Many parents are unsure of the best time to start brushing and flossing their child’s teeth. What many parents don’t know is that they should begin good oral care before any teeth emerge. The AAP recommends wiping a baby’s gums with a baby toothbrush or soft washcloth after feeding. Once the first tooth erupts, parents should start brushing for two minutes two times a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a pea-sized dab of toothpaste.
When it comes to flossing, it’s best to start when the child has teeth that are in contact with one another. This usually occurs around age two or three. When teeth come in contact with one another, food particles can become lodged in the space in between. It’s important to teach them to upkeep their brushing and flossing every day, morning and night.
Brush and Floss
Brushing and flossing are the foundation for good oral health. Children should brush their teeth with the help of a parent starting from infancy. Only a small dab of toothpaste is needed for young children. Use a fluoride-free toothpaste until your child is old enough to spit it out, then you can switch to fluoride toothpaste as they get older. Show your child how to brush each tooth, front and back, along with the gums, and on the tongue. If you are not sure of the correct technique, ask your Palm Harbor pediatric dentist to show you.
By the time that your child is 7 or 8 years old, they may be ready to start brushing on their own. This is also the time to switch to a larger-sized toothbrush. When brushing, set a timer for two minutes to ensure that your child does not stop brushing before an adequate amount of time has passed. Also, teach your child to floss at least once a day. If you find traditional floss difficult to use, try floss equipped with a handle to make it easier. Don’t forget to replace your child’s toothbrush every three to six months.
Diet plays a major role in the health of teeth and gums. Children who consume a high sugar diet are at a much higher risk of developing tooth decay. Limit the amount of soda, juice, sweetened drinks, and other sugary treats that your child has. It is also a good idea to limit snacking between meals. When your child does have sugar, have them brush afterward.
Children over the age of two should drink mostly water to stay hydrated. Water is not only healthy for children but also helps to wash away food debris and dilute acids that can weaken enamel. Provide your child with a balanced diet containing fresh fruits and veggies, low-fat dairy, nuts, and seeds. Older children can benefit from chewing sugarless gum with xylitol, which can help stimulate the salivary glands, strengthen the jaw, wash away bits of food, freshen breath, and balance the acids that cause decay.
Visit a Pediatric Dentist
As soon as teeth emerge, cavities can develop. That is why it’s important for your child to visit a pediatric dentist at least every six months. At Dr. Maggie Davis & Associates, we offer a wide range of preventative services to keep your child’s smile gleaming. Regular visits to a pediatric dentist will also help ensure that your child is part of our Cavity-Free Club month after month. Call us today to schedule your child’s first appointment and get your child one step closer to a cavity-free life!
Not So Sweet Valentine Treats
February 6, 2020
Why You Should Limit Your Sweet Valentine Treats
Sweet treats have a lot of sugar and calories, while not containing a high nutritious content. Eating a lot of these treats can lead to weight gain and potential problems in the future, such as diabetes. They can also make a child feel sluggish or cause them to have problems sleeping. The other primary reason why you want to limit sweet Valentine treats is that the sugar can lead to cavities in a child. This is why may dentists for children advise you to limit your child’s sugar intake during any holiday, but especially ones that are surrounded by candy, like Halloween, and Easter.
Some Not So Sweet Valentine Treats to Consume
As a parent, you want to make holidays fun for your child. For many households, this includes making special treats for the holidays. Many families make Valentine’s Day cookies, cupcakes, cakes, or serve Valentine’s Day candies to help celebrate the day. If you want to serve some treats for the occasion, there are many not so sweet or less sweet treats that you can create for the occasion. Fruit is always a great option. You can make a fun fruit salad featuring all pink, purple, and red treats. Or, you can use a cookie cutter, and cut small hearts into cantaloupe, honeydew, or pineapple. Dipping items in chocolate has less sugar than a solid candy bar, so consider making chocolate dipped strawberries or pretzels. You can then use sprinkles to add color and texture.You can also use colored food drops to regular applesauce, yogurt, or milk, creating a fun pink Valentine’s treat. Lastly, you can make red or pink fruit smoothies using berries to create a healthy Valentine’s day snack.
The Worst Types of Valentine Treats for Your Teeth
There is nothing wrong with indulging in a sweet treat here or there, especially on a holiday. However, not all sweet treats are the same. Items that are hard, sticky, or chewy, such as caramel candy apples, lollipops, or sugary gummy candies are worse for your teeth than an item such as a solid chocolate bar. Hard items can cause stress fractures to teeth, while sticky items can stick to the teeth and can be difficult to remove. This not only increases the risk of cavities, but eating sweets like lollipops can leave sugar on your child’s teeth for a prolonged period of time can wear down their enamel.
What You Can Do After Consuming Valentine Treats
If you and your child have consumed a Valentine treat, you will want to help limit the risk to your teeth. If you are out and about, try drinking a glass of water or chewing on a stick of sugar-free gum, if your child is old enough. This can also increase saliva in the mouth, which helps to fight bacteria. Once you are home, be sure to help your child brush their teeth well and floss, especially after eating sticky or gummy treats, as these can get lodged in hard to reach areas and even along the gumlines.
Limiting your child’s sweets and offering up some not so sweet Valentine treats is only one of the steps that you need to take to help protect your child’s teeth. Visiting a pediatric dentist routinely is essential to your child’s oral and dental health. If you’re in the market for a new pediatric dentist near you, visit Dr. Maggie Davis! Whether your child needs to be seen for a routine six-month dental appointment, or if they are experiencing pain and may have a cavity, we can help. Contact us and book your appointment with us today!
The Importance of Calcium In Oral Health
January 7, 2020
Dairy Is The Way
This should be quite obvious but it is quite important, especially if your children are at a younger age. This need for milk-based products like yogurt, cheese, custard, and regular milk is extremely important during the formative early years that your child’s bones are developing. From a few months old to three years, you should regularly be incorporating dairy into their diets and getting about 200 to 300 mg a day for the first year, with an increase of up to 700mg a day by the end of the first three years.
Add Meats and Leafy Greens
There’s nothing better than bok choy, cabbage, spinach, brussel sprouts, and broccoli for your child’s diet. Besides the obvious plethora of nutritional benefits that can be derived from these plants, they are also full of calcium nutrients that are ideal for your growing child. These are also a great and easy addition to any lunch and dinner plate. Try adding fish as the major protein ingredient for lunch and dinner. Fresh salmon is ideal but canned tuna and sardines are also excellent sources of calcium if you are looking to make a quick lunch.
Snacking and Munching
Put down the processed foods like cookies and chips and focus on calcium delivering alternatives like brazil nuts and almonds. Snack time is a big opportunity to get calcium into your children’s diet. Instead of munching on a sugary snack, you can make trail mixes for them that include ingredients like almonds mixed raisins, you can even throw some milk chocolate pieces in the mix too!
What To Drink
By reducing soft-drink intake in your children, like juice, and having them drink water or a dairy-based drink instead, you can easily add to their recommended calcium intake. Start practicing this in the home as well by limiting your own consumption of soft drinks, caffeine, and alcohol. The long term benefits you obtain will far outweigh the short term gratification you get from a craving. Plus, you’ll be setting a good example for them early on.
Calcium intake can be a little different if you have some dietary restrictions, however, it is still possible to get a healthy amount of calcium even if you do have to make concessions with your child’s diet. Non-dairy foods like oranges, figs, sweet potatoes, and most grains are high in calcium.
Forcing your child to consume regular dairy products when they are lactose intolerant can result in diarrhea and severe cramps. Instead, try incorporating calcium-fortified soy or almond milk into their diet. Additionally, you can increase the intake of those leafy greens and meats in order to compensate for the lack of calcium intake through dairy products.
Incorporating A Vegan Diet
In the past, there weren’t many options for vegans to have access to much calcium intake due to dairy restrictions. These days, however, there are a plethora of dietary solutions that can be substituted in. For example, you can replace the fish in some of your meals with ingredients like Tofu or Tempeh. These meat substitutions are an excellent source of calcium and are low in saturated fats. Even if you don’t commit to a vegan diet, it can be healthy for your family to have a vegan meal a few times a week.
As you can see, there are several ways of incorporating calcium into your child’s diet whether they have food restrictions or not. Additionally, educating them on the importance of their food consumption and how it affects their development can have a marked impact later on in their life and can lead to a lifetime of healthy calcium consumption. For more information about how you can improve the oral health of your child, contact us today.
Toddlers and Tongue Health
December 5, 2019
How the Tongue Collects Bacteria
It’s important to remember that bacteria are microscopic and that they can hide anywhere there is a tiny crack or crevice. This includes between and on the taste buds, along the bottom of the tongue, and on or around all the supporting structures. When the tongue isn’t brushed or scraped, those bacteria continue to flourish and can contribute to bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay.
When to Brush Your Tongue
It’s important to brush your tongue and have your kids brush their tongues every time they brush their teeth. The good news is that you can simply use your toothbrush to accomplish this task. However, you can also purchase a dedicated tongue scraper, which is designed to clean the tongue and remove all the plaque and bacteria that are hiding in the crevices of the tongue.
It’s important to note that rinsing your mouth or having your kids rinse their mouths with a fluoride or an age-appropriate antibacterial mouthwash won’t kill the bacteria on the tongue. Instead, it will kill and wash away the top layer of the biofilm, leaving the deeper layers intact. This still is not sufficient enough to keep the tongue and mouth free of excessive bacteria.
How to Brush Your Tongue
Brushing the tongue can be accomplished with the same toothbrush you and your kids use to brush your teeth. You can also purchase a tongue scraper from any dental hygiene department in most big-box retailers or at your local drugstore.
Brushing Your Tongue with a Toothbrush
Using a toothbrush to brush your tongue is fairly simple. You want to reach every surface of the tongue by first brushing back and forth across the tongue. You can start anywhere on the tongue but remember that you need to reach every surface of the tongue just like when you brush your teeth and brush along the gumline. Next, brush side to side along the tongue from front to back or back to front. Lastly, rinse your mouth with water to remove all the toothpaste and everything brushed from your tongue and teeth. Our pediatric dentist recommends using a soft-bristled toothbrush for this task to prevent causing tiny cuts on your tongue or injuries to your tongue that could be caused by over-brushing.
Using a Tongue Scraper to Scrape Your Tongue
It’s estimated that using a tongue scraper to clean all the bacteria and plaque from the tongue is 30 percent more effective than using a toothbrush. If you are teaching your children how to properly clean their tongues with a tongue scraper, instruct them to stand in front of a mirror and stick out their tongues as far as they can stick them out. Tongue scrapers have a rounded leading edge. That should be placed at the back of the tongue. Next, slowly pull the tongue scraper forward along the surface of the tongue. It’s important not to press too hard, or it could result in injuries to the tongue. It’s always important to start in the middle of the back of the tongue and move the scraper forward toward your teeth, never backward toward your throat. It usually takes one of two passes along the surface to completely remove all the bacteria and plaque. Between passes, we recommend wiping the scraper with a clean cloth or paper towel.
Pediatric Dental Visits with our Children’s Dentist in Palm Harbor
In addition to brushing, flossing, rinsing, and scraping your tongue, remember to schedule regular pediatric dental visits with our children’s dentist in Palm Harbor. Regular professional teeth cleanings and additional services, like dental sealants, can help reduce your child’s risk of developing cavities, and gum disease and find oral health problems early.
To schedule your child’s next dental appointment with our dentist in Palm Harbor, give us a call at 727-786-7551.
At What Age Can My Child Whiten Their Teeth?
November 4, 2019
Wait Until Your Child Is at Least 15 Years of Age Before Purchasing Any Teeth Whitening Products
Our kids’ dentist in Palm Harbor recommends waiting until your child is at least 15 years of age before allowing them to use any tooth whitening products. All tooth whitening products contain a certain percentage of a bleaching product, usually hydrogen peroxide. This can lead to tooth sensitivity and damage to the enamel if it is used on adult teeth before the enamel completely hardens and matures, which can take up to two years after the tooth has erupted. To be completely safe, it’s best to wait until your child turns 18 before purchasing whitening products.
Choose the Right Oral Hygiene Products and Supervise Your Child’s Brushing
While your child is still young, it’s best to focus on purchasing the right oral hygiene products and making sure your child is brushing all of his or her teeth for the recommended amount of time; usually at least three minutes twice a day. This means purchasing an age-appropriate toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, and children’s mouthwash. Most tooth staining on a child’s teeth occurs to due improper brushing where food particles may not be completely removed. After your child brushes his or her teeth, you may want to examine your child’s teeth and/or brush them again, depending on your child’s age. Most parents stop strictly supervising their child’s brushing around the age of seven, but it’s okay to periodically supervise in order to make sure your child is still brushing, flossing, and rinsing their teeth properly.
Limit Stain Causing Foods
Certain foods and drinks can also temporarily stain your child’s teeth, like red and blue fruit juices, as well as fresh and frozen berries. If the food or drink can temporarily change the color of your child’s tongue, they can also change the color of your child’s teeth. Our dentist recommends limiting the amount of stain-causing foods that your child eats and ensuring that your child drinks a full glass of water after eating berries or other treats that can stain the teeth. This can help wash away some of the food particles. For extra stain-fighting protection, you can also encourage your child to brush his or her teeth about 30 minutes after meals and snacks. Brushing after meals not only reduces the potential for staining, but it can also help deter cavities and tartar build-up.
Get Professional Dental Cleanings from Our Pediatric Dentist Near Me in Palm Harbor
Along with good oral hygiene, it’s important to get pediatric dental checkups and teeth cleanings every six months. Dental checkups and teeth cleanings can help reduce your child’s chances of getting a cavity and developing early stages of gum disease. Professional teeth cleanings remove all the stains and tartar from your child’s teeth, which can help make them appear whiter and brighter.
Get an Examination from Our Palm Harbor Pediatric Dentist
If you are concerned about your child’s dull, stained, or yellow adult teeth, our Palm Harbor pediatric dentist would be happy to examine your child’s teeth and gums. In many cases, an extra professional teeth cleaning and some tooth polish can make a drastic improvement in the color and appearance of your child’s teeth. If that’s not enough, our kids’ dentist can recommend some other methods that are less harsh than professional teeth whitening trays.
To schedule your child’s next appointment with our kids’ dentist, contact us at 727-786-7551.
Best Ways To Limit Sugar This Halloween
October 7, 2019
1. Consider Purchasing Candy As Well As Other Fun Items
Children and adults love Halloween because it can be considered a good excuse to eat as much candy as you and your kids want, and it all starts with purchasing candy to hand out to the kids who come to your door. If you’re like most families, you’ll eat a lot of that candy before Halloween night. Instead of purchasing all candy, consider purchasing candy and other items that are not food. Our dentist in Palm Harbor recommends purchasing tiny and low-cost activity books, packs of stickers, and other fun items to hand out along with candy. You’ll not only be doing your kids a favor, but you’ll also be helping the neighborhood kids eat less candy.
2. Inspect All Your Kids’ Candy For Tampering And Remove The Worst Candy
Some types of candy are worse for your kids’ oral health than other types of candy. At the end of the night, as you inspect every piece of candy for tampering and safety, remove the worst candy, including hard candy and candy that is extra chewy and sticky, like anything with caramel or cream fillings, taffy, and gummy bears.
3. Limit Your Children’s Candy Intake
Instead of handing your kid’s bags and buckets back to them after you inspect it, consider handing out only a few pieces of candy. Our dentist recommends giving your kids no more than five pieces of candy on Halloween night. This will satisfy their excitement and limit their sugar intake. For the rest of the week, only give them a couple of pieces of candy a day.
4. Consider Acting Like The Switch Witch
The Switch Witch trades candy for toys, and it can be a tradition in your household. While the traditional Switch Witch involves contacting a Switch Witch online prior to Halloween, you don’t need to visit the website or create an email to be your own magic candy switcher. Simply purchase a few Halloween themed toys in secret prior to the big night. Then, create excitement with your kids by telling them that a special Halloween guest will give them toys in relation to how much candy they collect. While your children are asleep, swap out most of their candy for fun toys.
5. Eat Candy After Meals
There are good and bad times to eat candy. The worst way to eat Halloween candy is to substitute it for breakfast. This is because the bacteria in your mouth and your kids’ mouths explode overnight, and adding candy can make the situation worse. Instead, consider allowing your kids a couple of pieces of candy after lunch or after dinner as a form of dessert. This is because there are already food particles on the teeth and saliva production has already increased, which can help reduce the amount of sugar that stays in the mouth.
6. Encourage Brushing After Eating Candy
Once your children have consumed their candy, encourage them to brush their teeth and floss 30 minutes after their last bite. This helps remove sugar and candy particles that may be sticking to your child’s teeth and help against wearing down their enamel. If you are out somewhere where your kids cannot immediately brush their teeth, have them drink a glass of water after eating their candy. This will help rinse sugar from their mouths.
Limit Sugar Intake After Halloween With a Pediatric Dental Checkup
After Halloween, consider scheduling a dental checkup and teeth cleaning with our children’s dentist in Palm Harbor. A dental checkup can locate cavities and tooth decay early so that it can be treated before it results in discomfort for your child. It also removes all the plaque and tartar from your child’s teeth and below the gum line.
To schedule a dental appointment with our pediatric dentist, contact us online or call us at 727-786-7551.
Is Dental Sedation Safe For Children?
September 4, 2019
Benefits of Sedation Dentistry
Sedation dentistry is beneficial for helping your child feel relaxed and calm during his or her dental appointment, especially if the treatments are going to take a long time to complete. Sedation also ensures a pain-free appointment where your child won’t be distracted or resistant to the treatments. Additionally, procedures typically get accomplished faster with sedation dentistry due to your child not constantly squirming in their chairs. Sedation dentistry is also recommended for special needs children who may not understand why they are at the dentist or have the ability to sit still for an extended period of time.
Ensuring Sedation Dentistry Safety
Our pediatric dentist in Palm Harbor, Dr. Maggie Davis is committed to ensuring your child’s safety before, during, and after all sedation dentistry appointments. This means that prior to giving your child any type of sedation medication, we will always:
- Talk to you about your child’s health, dental anxiety, fear, and pain tolerances
- Talk to your pediatrician to make sure your child is healthy enough for sedation dentistry
- Monitor your child while he or she is sedated
- Have the appropriate medical professionals on-site
Types of Sedation Dentistry Offered by Our Dentist for Children
Our dentist for children in Pam Harbor offers three types of sedation dentistry: nitrous oxide, oral sedation, and IV sedation. The type of sedation offered by our dentist depends on your child’s age, anxiety levels, and overall health.
Nitrous oxide is also known as laughing gas. It is the mildest form of dental sedation. We recommend nitrous oxide for children who experience anxiety or fear while at the dentist. Once your child starts inhaling the mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen, the effects take hold within a few minutes. This medication will help your child relax and increase his or her tolerance for discomfort. Once the dental procedures are complete, the nose mask is removed, and your child will recover from the gas relatively quickly. It’s important to note that your child will remain awake while under the effects of the nitrous oxide.
Oral Pediatric Dental Sedation
Oral pediatric dental sedation involves giving your child medication by mouth. The medication will help your child relax and put them in a groggy state, but will not put them to sleep. We recommend oral sedation for children who have special needs, are developmentally delayed, or for children who are too young to understand or tolerate the dental procedures. While your child is sedated with oral medication, our staff will continuously monitor their vitals to ensure safety. As an additional precaution, we will also talk to your child’s pediatrician prior to your dental appointment in order to ensure your child is healthy enough for the medication and not allergic to any of the ingredients.
IV Dental Sedation
IV dental sedation is the deepest form of sedation we offer at our dental office in Palm Harbor. This type of sedation does not put your child into a deep sleep, like would be needed for surgery. Instead, they are in a deep twilight state that may result in them nodding off, but they can be woken with a light tap. During this type of sedation, we bring anesthesiologists and nurses into our office to administer the IV sedation and to monitor your child. When they arrive, they bring hospital sedation machinery and monitoring equipment with them, and the medical team never leaves the room while your child is under IV sedation. We recommend IV sedation for special needs children and children who are significantly developmentally delayed or who are too young to fully cooperate with instructions during the dental appointment.
To schedule your child’s sedation dentistry appointment in Palm Harbor, contact our office at 727-786-7551.
Dental Care and Treatments for Special Needs Children
August 1, 2019
While this is certainly understandable, children with disabilities or complex medical conditions are twice as likely to have unmet dental needs than children without special needs. There are many reasons for this. Fine motor delays can prevent some children from performing adequate oral care. Sensory issues can make the simple act of brushing a challenge for other kids. Medical conditions make some kids more susceptible to dental problems. Additionally, visiting a pediatric dental specialist for routine care may be next to impossible for some.
However, it’s vital that parents make oral health visits to a pediatric dentist a priority for their children. Here are some tips to help you set up your child up for a lifetime of good dental health.
Find a dentist for children early on. The sooner your child starts going to the dentist on a regular basis, the easier it will be to establish a routine. Find a pediatric dentist that allows your child to take a tour of the office. Bring your child to the office for a walk through, and let him or her examine the spinning toothbrushes and take a ride in the dental chair. Gaining familiarity with the office helps to lessen anxiety for both the child and the parent.
Talk To Your Dentist
You’re the expert on your child’s unique needs, so take time to explain things to your dentist. Dental professionals will be glad to meet with you in advance of your child’s appointment to discuss the best path forward for your child. For instance, according to the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network, patients with autism do well when they see the same staff and the same dentist at every appointment. Therefore, build that expectation into your child’s dental treatment plan. By maintaining open lines of communication and clear expectations between parent and dentist, the outcome for your child will be significantly improved.
Ask For Advice
As a pediatric dentistry office in Palm Harbor, Dr. Maggie Davis, and her staff can offer much more than routine cleaning and exam. They can talk to you about your child’s needs. Where does he or she need help? Is he or she struggling in one particular area of oral hygiene? We can point you to tools and products that could help. From floss holders to specialized fluoride rinses, we’re experts in adaptive dental aids for special needs kids.
At Home Care
Good oral care starts at home. If your child won’t let you brush their teeth, start by brushing his or her lips. Work your way up to brushing inside your child’s mouth. If he or she is resistant to a toothbrush, use a soft washcloth to gently wipe away dirt and food particles. Try a water flosser to clean between your child’s teeth if he or she won’t use dental floss. Limit snacks and sugary drinks to prevent decay and damage to the teeth and gums. Encourage your child to drink lots of water to rinse food particles from his or her mouth.
Patience With Your Special Needs Child
Just because your child is resistant to oral care, don’t lose hope! Keep trying, and take baby steps on the path to establishing a good oral routine. Don’t get frustrated and recognize the process may take time. We have tons of excellent resources for improving your child’s oral hygiene, so be sure to ask for help if you need it.
At Dr. Maggie Smith’s pediatric dentistry office, we are accustomed to serving special needs kids and welcome them at our practice. We look forward to talking with you about your child’s unique needs and helping you establish a positive relationship with our dentist. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!