Archive for the Dental Tips Category

Wondering If Fluoride Is Safe For Your Children?

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 Haas Dental Associates for more information..

 

 

What Is A Pediatric Crown and Why Does My Child Need One?

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 Haas Dental Associates to learn more about crowns and the many other services we offer for children and teens.

Are Sealants A Good Idea For My Child?

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.haasdentalnh.com to learn about all of the pediatric preventative services we offer at Haas Dental Associates.

Is Nitrous Oxide Safe For My Child?

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.haasdentalnh.com/services/pediatric-dental-services. 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.

Eliminate Fruit Juice From Your Child’s Diet

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.

boy drinking chocolate milk

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. Contact us to get all the facts: http://www.haasdentalnh.com/contact-haas-dental-associates.

Babies Should Really Be Visiting 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.haasdentalnh.com/patient-resources/faq 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!