We often hear parents saying they are worried about using fluoride in their children’s mouths. Some parents won’t allow their children to have fluoride treatments at the dentist. While as a parent you always have concerns about medications and procedures (as you should), there are many medications and treatments in which the benefits far outweigh the risks. This is true for fluoride. Given in the correct manner and amounts, fluoride has been proven to be very safe for a child’s oral health and can help to prevent tooth decay when used on a regular basis.
Fluoride contains fluorine, which is a natural element. It is a common ingredient in most toothpastes, mouth rinses and is added to many community water supplies. Research has proven that rates of dental decay have been reduced by over 50% in areas where water fluoridation is practiced. Fluoride prevents cavities by deterring the loss of minerals from tooth enamel and also helps to strengthen tooth surfaces that are weak and where decay may be beginning to occur. Fluoride also combats bacteria in the mouth that cause cavities. Too much fluoride can cause fluorosis in permanent teeth as they are developing. Fluorosis appears as white spots or streaks and in more serious cases can cause pitting and discoloration of the enamel. Should fluorosis cause an undesirable appearance, it can be addressed with various esthetic treatments. Products containing fluoride should be kept out of the reach of young children. Children should brush their teeth at least twice a day, after breakfast and before going to bed at night.
Toddlers and young children should be supervised by adults while they brush their teeth, to ensure that the amount of fluoride used is appropriate and safe. Children under the age of two should use just a small smear of fluoride toothpaste. Children aged 2-5 should use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and they should be taught to spit out the toothpaste rather than swallowing it.
Topical fluoride treatments provided in your dentist’s office are very safe and offer your child further cavity prevention. It may be painted onto the teeth as a varnish, or it may be a foam or gel in a tray which is applied to the teeth for a few minutes. An in-office fluoride treatment is a smart choice for children who have a history of cavities, wear braces, or who are known to have a diet high in sugar or carbohydrates. Fluoride has been used for many years and has been a very beneficial aid in helping to prevent tooth decay. Parents should feel comfortable with fluoride use, when used appropriately and as directed by your dental professional. If you have concerns or questions, your dentist is your best resource and is your trusted partner in helping ensure your child’s optimal oral health. If you have other questions regarding your child’s dental care, visit my website at http://www.vanguarddentalgroup.com/nh-dental-services/pediatric-kids-dentist.php.
Baby teeth that get decay shouldn’t be ignored just because that tooth will eventually fall out when the adult tooth erupts. If decay in baby teeth is not treated, it can lead to pain and infection. Infections can lead to the need for extraction. It is always preferable to treat and retain a child’s primary teeth whenever possible. Dental treatment of primary teeth is every bit as important as treatment of adult teeth and will start your child on the road to excellent dental health.
When children’s primary teeth have decay, that decay must be removed in order to preserve the health of the tooth. The decayed portion of the tooth that is removed is replaced with a filling material. When a tooth has excessive decay on many surfaces, or the cavity is very deep, it may require a crown, (a steel or ceramic tooth replacement), as opposed to a routine filling. This becomes necessary when there is so much decay that placing a filling would not be successful. If much of the tooth structure is removed, it may not be strong enough to withstand chewing and grinding. A crown is the preferred option in these cases. It is much more durable and should last until it is time for the child to lose that tooth naturally.
Stainless steel crowns are quite often used, however, we do offer a more esthetically pleasing option of an all-ceramic, white crown when it is appropriate. A ceramic crown looks more like your child’s natural tooth and may be a more esthetic treatment choice. Your dentist can explain which type of crown he or she feels would be most appropriate for your child’s needs. Visit my practice’s website at http://www.vanguarddentalgroup.com/nh-dental-services/pediatric-kids-dentist.php to learn more about crowns and the many other services we offer for children and teens.
Many children, especially those who have had a traumatizing dental experience in the past, may have anxiety (fear) about visiting the dentist. I specialize in helping anxious children feel more comfortable during dental treatment. Sometimes I perform sedation treatment, which is a very successful treatment option for children who are nervous about dental procedures.
There are many factors which go into determining if a patient is a candidate for sedation. Sedation may not be recommended for patients with heart or respiratory problems or other serious health conditions. Any time a patient is sedated, they must be monitored carefully by a practitioner who is qualified and licensed to perform sedation, as I am. We don’t rush into sedating patients and we never sedate a patient on their first or even second appointment.
We have a separate treatment planning appointment before the sedation appointment so that we may discuss the sedation process and treatment plan thoroughly with the parent. It is always my goal to ensure that my patients and their parents are completely informed and agree with their proposed treatment plans.
Kids smile about dental appointments at my office!
Sedation dentistry is a very valuable treatment option for patients who have extreme dental anxiety. Many patients who are referred to me for sedation don’t really require sedation-they simply require a dentist who is trained in treating anxious patients and making them feel at ease. I assess each patient very carefully to determine what treatment approach will be in that patient’s best interests. My team and I strive to make even very nervous children able to enjoy visiting their dentist! Visit our website at http://www.vanguarddentalgroup.com/nh-dental-services/pediatric-kids-dentist.php to learn more about the services we offer at Vanguard Dental Group or to take a virtual tour of our office!
In my practice, we try to educate the parents of our young patients about the importance of good dental prevention. We would much rather practice preventative dentistry as opposed to restorative dentistry which is necessary due to neglect or lack of preventative care. Brushing and flossing regularly, eating healthy foods and visiting the dentist at least every 6 months are all crucial in helping your child to enjoy good oral health.
One preventative service which I highly recommend is sealants. A sealant is a plastic barrier that is applied to the chewing surfaces of molars. It is applied with an applicator similar to a paintbrush, and is a completely painless procedure. The sealant flows into all the grooves and depressions in the teeth, and protects the teeth from plaque and acids that will cause decay if not properly removed. A special curing light is then used to help harden the sealant. Sealants are very durable and are able to withstand the force of chewing for years before needing to be reapplied.
Sealants are a wonderful way to help prevent your children from experiencing decay. They are painless to apply, and are not an expensive dental service. If your dentist recommends sealants, you should feel comfortable knowing it is a very safe and effective preventative treatment for your child’s dental welfare. A small investment in a sealant today could prevent a costly restorative charge for a cavity in the future! Please visit our website at http://www.vanguarddentalgroup.com/nh-dental-services/pediatric-kids-dentist.php to learn about all of the pediatric preventative services we offer at Vanguard Dental Group.
Me and my new friends at The Trudi Birger Clinic
It’s that time of year again! I just returned from my trip to Jerusalem, Israel, where I volunteered for a week at the Trudi Birger Dental Clinic. I am a member of Dental Volunteers For Israel, a foundation that brings dentists together from all over the world to treat underprivileged children who need dental care. Thousands of children have been treated through DVI, and now can live each day without the pain of dental problems interfering with their life and schoolwork. The number of children in Israel who are suffering from serious dental health problems is staggering. If dental disease is left untreated, it will only become more serious and make these children more likely to suffer from medical problems which are linked to dental disease.
This was my second annual trip in conjunction with DVI, and it is something I am committed to doing and look forward to every year. The satisfaction in seeing the expressions on the faces of these sweet children as I help them and give them simple toys is something that really warms my heart. I am so grateful for the opportunity to give something back. Just as I hate to see children here in my community suffer from dental pain, I feel the same compassion for these children. This is why I love being a pediatric dentist. There is nothing like knowing that you helped a child, relieved their pain and helped them live a healthier and happier life!
Unfortunately, many children experience fear and anxiety about their visits to the dentist. Many children who are not generally anxious about their routine dental cleanings, experience anxiety regarding dental procedures such as fillings or extractions. There is a safe solution to help put these young patients at ease and allow them to comfortably tolerate dental procedures. Nitrous Oxide/oxygen, also commonly known as “laughing gas”, or “happy air” is a very common, safe, sedative drug which is used for children and adults.
Nitrous Oxide is a gas which has no odor and is inhaled by the patient before a procedure is started and continually inhaled throughout the procedure. After a few minutes of inhaling the gas, the patient starts to experience a sense of well-being and relaxation. They may even feel a little tingling in their arms and legs (which is perfectly fine). Nitrous oxide/oxygen raises a patient’s pain threshold and the patient may feel time passes more quickly.
Nitrous oxide/oxygen is one of the safest sedatives used in dentistry. It is well tolerated, it can be adjusted in various concentrations and is non-allergenic. Nitrous oxide can also be used in conjunction with other sedative drugs when necessary. Your child will be conscious, aware and able to communicate with us at all times. When treatment is completed, the nitrous oxide is discontinued and oxygen is given to the patient. There are no lingering effects with nitrous oxide.
Kids can smile about visiting the dentist!
In my office, we sit and have a treatment planning discussion with parents before we attempt any dental restorative treatment. Though nitrous oxide is safe, it may not be the best option for children who are too anxious and will require more sedation. I am able to assess what will work best for your child’s specific dental and emotional needs. Read more about sedation with nitrous oxide and conscious sedation treatment by visiting http://www.vanguarddentalgroup.com/patient-resources/post-treatment-care-pediatric.php. We have so many resources at our disposal to help your child have a pleasant dental experience that there is no need for them to fear dental procedures.
Many parents think that it is a healthy practice to give their children fruit juice. When fruit juice is labeled “all natural” or “organic”, it seems like a safe, health-conscious choice for their infants or young children. The truth is, even though fruit juice is natural, it is actually one of the worst things you can give your child. All fruit juices contain natural sugar, which can do just as much damage as added sugar. Fruit juices also contain acid, which can seriously erode the protective enamel on a child’s teeth. When children drink juice frequently, the sugars and acids find every nook, cranny and crevice in their teeth and cause decay.
Choose plain milk rather than chocolate
Drinks such as chocolate milk, carbonated sodas and sports drinks can be equally as dangerous to a young person’s teeth, and should be avoided. Children who are put to bed with bottles or sippy cups of juice or milk are at extreme risk for “bottle rot” (massive decay caused by bottle use at bedtime). Pre-teens and teenagers in high school or college who are in the habit of sipping on carbonated sodas while studying are also at high risk for tooth decay. When teeth are constantly bathed in sugar and acids, the natural saliva loses the battle of being able to wash away those sugars and acids, as it is supposed to do.
I feel that fruit juice is the biggest cause of decay in young children. It is something in which I strive to educate my patients’ parents, so that their children can have the healthiest teeth possible. It’s such an easy solution, but unfortunately it’s like a deep, dark secret to most parents.
So what are parents supposed to do? Be sure to provide your children with a balanced diet that does include fruits and vegetables. Brush and floss their teeth 2-3 times daily, start seeing a pediatric dentist 6 months after the first tooth erupts and every 6 months after that. As far as drinks are concerned, give your children lots of plain water, plain, unflavored milk, and try to avoid sending them to bed with bottles or cups of anything other than water. Preventing decay can be easy, once you know all the facts. For more information on this, visit: http://www.vanguarddentalgroup.com/patient-resources/soft-drinks-and-tooth-decay.php.
So many children who come to my office have unfortunately had some very upsetting and often traumatizing experiences at other dental practices. Sometimes it’s due to the fact that the child was brought to a general practitioner, rather than a pediatric dentist. Sometimes it’s because offices haven’t had the specialized training in the proper way to approach and treat a frightened child. We have many young patients who have come to us after unsuccessfully visiting 3-4 other offices and being told that they require sedation in order to receive dental care. My staff and I specialize in helping children receive dental treatment in an environment that will ease their fears and change how they view going to the dentist.
I have had extensive training in treating anxious children. I am Board Certified in Pediatric Dentistry by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. I am also certified to practice both conscious and operating room sedation treatment. My office takes the time to ease nervous children into their dental treatment. Many children who have been told they require sedation come to my office and do quite well, sometimes without sedation at all! It’s all in the approach you take with anxious young patients and being able to connect with them at their level in order to make them feel safe and cared for.
Dr. Jim has t.v.'s on the ceiling!
I have many clinical staff members who have been with my practice for 20-30 years and together we make a great team that kids love to visit! With today’s technologies and my expertise in treating anxious patients, there is no need for a child’s visit to the dentist to be a traumatizing and dreaded experience. We have televisions on the ceiling above my dental chairs, nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to help them relax, and I quite often even sing to my patients while performing their dental work! Come visit me and my staff to see why your child could actually look forward to going to the dentist! Or, take a sneak peak at my office through our virtual tour at http://www.vanguarddentalgroup.com/patient-resources/dental-office-video-tour.php . You can also see testimonials of parents whose children now love coming to the dentist by clicking here http://www.vanguarddentalgroup.com/dental-patient-testimonials/. We would love the opportunity to help your child end their fear of the dentist.
One of the things I hope to change during my career as a pediatric dentist, is to educate parents to bring their children to the dentist as infants, rather than waiting years to begin regular dental visits. Many dental offices tell parents that they don’t have to see a dentist until their child reaches age 3. First time parents haven’t been down this road yet, so they assume that is the best thing to do. Unfortunately, by age 3 or older, many years of habits like going to bed with bottles of milk, drinking fruit juice containing sugar, prolonged use of pacifiers and many other habits, have taken a toll on a very vulnerable new mouth. Too many children experience early childhood decay. It is sad to see a child who is 3,4,5 years of age or older, whose mouth is ravaged by decay, and now requires many restorative procedures in order to relieve their pain and return their mouth to a healthy state. This can be avoided by parents learning how to care for their child’s teeth-while they are still a baby! Visit our website at http://www.vanguarddentalgroup.com/nh-dental-services/pediatric-kids-dentist.php to learn about what sugar in even natural fruit juices can do to children’s teeth!
My office offers Infant Care Visits, for children under the age of two. We recommend visiting the dentist 6 months after the first baby tooth erupts. At our Infant Care visit, we educate new parents on the best practices to keep their baby’s mouth as healthy as possible. We discuss bottle feeding, pacifier use, diet, hygiene and many other topics that are important to young parents. I perform an examination on the infant to assess
Babies should see the dentist 6 months after getting their first tooth!
development and identify any problems that may be developing-so we can help Mom and Dad avoid dental issues in the future. We stress the importance of regular dental visits, and the fact that even though baby teeth are going to fall out eventually-they are going to be needed for many years. Baby teeth that have cavities that are left untreated lead to an unhappy child who is in pain and can’t concentrate on schoolwork and activities. Those baby teeth must be restored so they can be retained until adult teeth can replace them. An Infant Care visit is an invaluable tool for each and every new parent who wants their child to start on the road to a healthy mouth for a lifetime!
Call 603-434-1586 today to schedule your baby’s Infant Care appointment today!