Will my child need braces?

Did you know the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children get their first orthodontic check-up no later than age 7? That may seem early, but taking care of orthodontic needs from a young age can help your child build and maintain a healthy and confident smile for many years to come. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of early orthodontic care.

Why should your child see an orthodontist early on?

Being able to identify a child’s facial growth pattern early makes it easier to influence and redirect the arrangement of teeth, allowing for a straighter smile when permanent teeth arrive. Around the time your child reaches the age of 7, their first molars have erupted and their bite — the position of the teeth when the jaws are closed — is visible. In addition, incisors are erupting, making early signs of crowding visible. If an orthodontist identifies a potential future orthodontic concern, they might recommend a dental appliance now that could prevent the need for a more complicated or expensive appliance in the future. It may also decrease the amount of time your child wears braces later.

What are some of the early signs of potential future orthodontic concerns?

Early identification is critical in the timing of treatment and parent education. There are a few early signs that can help you to determine if the time is right to schedule an orthodontic consultation for your child. These include issues with bite, crowding, spacing and protrusion.

These visuals from the American Academy of Orthodontists can help you detect problems to watch out for with your growing child. 

How much does orthodontic treatment cost?

For those of you nearby one of our BracesBracesBraces or American Family Orthodontics sister practices, you can schedule an initial consultation for FREE! During the initial visit, the team will perform a thorough examination to determine if orthodontic treatment is necessary. General questions regarding treatment costs and payment options are discussed during the first appointment. Keep in mind that the best time to treat a child orthodontically differs from patient to patient. If you are not near a BracesBracesBraces of American Family Orthodontics practice, ask your pediatric dentist to recommend an orthodontist in the area.

What do I do if my child has a toothache?

No parent wants to see their child in pain. When a child complains of mouth pain, the cause is sometimes unrelated to their teeth, like in the case of a sinus infection. Oftentimes, however, teeth are indeed the culprit. A quick look inside the mouth can sometimes help identify the cause, such as a new tooth sprouting or a stuck piece of food. As Seattle Children’s Hospital explains, however, the problem occasionally warrants further evaluation by a dentist. So how do you know for sure whether the issue is serious enough for a visit to the dentist? We’ve provided a few tips to help you identify the problem, ease your child’s pain, and help them get the care they need. 

Try to locate the site of the toothache.

If your child is old enough, ask them to point to the location of the pain. Look inside for red or swollen gums, tooth discoloration, broken teeth. If you see swelling or a “pimple” around the tooth, this could be a sign of a dental abscess and warrants seeing a dentist as soon as possible. If the child has pain only when they bite down with a specific tooth, this could indicate a cavity.

Rinse and floss your child’s teeth.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends rinsing your child’s mouth with warm water and flossing to remove any food particles trapped between their teeth. If you haven’t identified a clear cause after looking around, it’s possible that removing a stuck food particle will resolve the problem. Remember to be gentle while flossing because your child’s gums might be sensitive. Colgate.com also suggests rinsing with salt water because of its abilities to inhibit harmful bacteria and ease discomfort.

Apply a cold compress for pain.

A cold compress slows blood flow to the affected area and may help ease discomfort and swelling. If you do not have a store-bought compress, you can make one by wrapping ice in a small towel or cloth. Try icing for 15 minutes and taking another 15 minutes off.

Use pain medication. 

If the pain persists, you can try giving your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen while you are waiting to be seen by a provider. Remember to make sure that any medicine is safe: carefully read the instructions to find the correct dosage for your child’s age. 

Make an appointment.

While the cause of your child’s toothaches may be as simple as a new tooth sprouting or a food particle that is easily removed with flossing, sometimes the problem is more serious. If your child has swelling, redness or a suspected cavity, it’s important to see a pediatric dental specialist as soon as possible. When in doubt, always contact us, particularly if the toothache persists for over 24 hours. We’ll get your child smiling again!

All about Tongue and Lip Ties with Dr. Julia Dobson

Tongue and lip ties occur when the string of tissue under the tongue or lip, called fascia, is too tight, thick or short, causing difficulties with movement. Symptoms can vary based on the degree of the severity and, for infants and young children, may include trouble with feeding, speech and sleep. In this video, Dr. Julia Dobson explains what tongue and lip ties are, signs to look for in your child, and when to consider seeking treatment. 

If you suspect your child has a tongue or lip tie and would like to schedule a consultation, please contact us today.

Recognize World Autism Month in April

April is an opportunity to recognize World Autism Month. Kicking off with World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, the purpose of World Autism Month is to increase both understanding and inclusion of autism in our communities and around the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, autism affects approximately 1 in 54 children in the United States each year. While the cause of autism is unclear, it is likely due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. 

Symptoms of Autism

Autism spectrum disorders are marked by a wide range of behavioral and communication symptoms.These can include:

  • Difficulty with verbal communication.
  • Difficulty with nonverbal communication, such as eye contact, tone of voice and facial expressions. 
  • Trouble expressing emotions or understanding emotions in others. 
  • Repetitive behaviors, like rocking or repeatedly touching objects.
  • Strong need for routine. 
  • Sensitivities to light, touch, sound, smell or other sensory stimuli.

In addition, many children with autism are hard working, sociable, honest, respectful, and kind.

Visiting the Dentist

Visits to the dentist can often be challenging for children with autism, but our goal is to make it as positive and comfortable an experience as possible. With years of advanced training, our pediatric specialists are able to adapt to the needs of every child we meet, including those who need that extra level of care. Our goal is to create a relaxing atmosphere where we can instill positive associations with visiting the dentist and reduce feelings of anxiety. In cases where an additional level of relaxation would be helpful to the child, our specialists are also qualified to perform sedation in the office and/or hospital.

We welcome children with autism and other special needs to our practices! If you are a parent of a child with autism and have any questions for our team, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Celebrate National Dentist’s Day this Saturday!

Saturday, March 6 is National Dentist’s Day! Celebrated annually, National Dentist’s Day is an opportunity to show appreciation for the dentists and dental specialists who keep our mouths healthy, including general dentists, pediatric dentists, orthodontists, oral surgeons and prosthodontists. As part of our celebration, we’ve combed history to recognize a few of the very first dentists and dental specialists.

First Dentist of Ancient History

The first recorded dentist, Hesy-Ra, lived and worked in Ancient Egypt around 2600 BC. He was known as the “Chief of Dentists” and was a person of high distinction under the pharaoh. According to New World Encyclopedia, the inscription on Hesy-Ra’s tomb reads, “The greatest of those who deal with teeth, and of physicians.”

First Women Dentists 

Did you know that March is Women’s History Month? Women have played a vital role in dentistry. Emeline Roberts Jones was the first woman to practice dentistry in the United States. Since women were not allowed to enter dental school at the time, Jones secretly provided dental services until her husband allowed her to join his dental practice in 1855. Lucy Hobbs Taylor was the first woman to actually graduate from a dental school, earning her degree from the Ohio College of Dental Surgery in 1866.

First Pediatric Dentist

Another noteworthy woman in dental history is M. Evangeline Jordon, the first dentist to specialize in pediatric patients. Jordon began her career as a teacher and worked summers as a dental assistant, but eventually devoted herself to dentistry full-time, limiting her practice entirely to children in 1909. Jordon aimed to find methods for reducing children’s fear of going to the dentist. She also wrote and lectured on the importance of proper oral hygiene habits for kids.

First Orthodontists

While there is evidence that orthodontics has been around since ancient times, two French dentists are credited with progressing the field to where it is today. Pierre Fauchard developed a device called the “blandeau” in 1728, which helped to expand the mouth arch. Later, Louis Bourdet, who was dentist to the King of France, perfected the blandeau and was the first dentist to recommend extracting premolar teeth to ease crowding and to improve jaw growth. A century later, American Edward Hartley Angle developed the first classification system of malocclusion and the first school of orthodontia, establishing orthodontics as a specialty distinct from general dentistry.

First Oral Surgeon

Simon P. Hullihen is regarded as the “father” of oral surgery. Graduating as a medical doctor, he specialized in treating problems of the mouth and head, performing over 1,100 operations using instruments he invented himself.

First Prosthodontist

The practice of prosthodontics goes back to ancient times, when ancient Egyptians used gold wire to stabilize and replace missing teeth. However, the birth of modern implantology is often credited to Italian Manilo Formiggini, who developed a spiral stainless steel implant that allowed bone to grow onto the metal.

This National Dentist’s Day, give thanks to dentists for the important work they do to help keep our mouths healthy. If it’s time for your check-up, be sure to contact us.

Celebrate Children’s Dental Health Month!

The American Dental Association (ADA) designates every February as Children’s Dental Health Month. The observance helps to promote children’s oral health for caregivers, teachers, and others who work with kids.

This year’s theme is “Water: Nature’s Drink.” The theme highlights the importance of drinking water over sugary beverages to keep teeth healthy. On their MouthHealthy.org website, the ADA explains that water, particularly water with fluoride, can strengthen teeth and help to prevent tooth decay. In addition, water is a low-calorie drink that keeps your mouth clean and fights dry mouth. The necessity of this year’s theme is evidenced by a study conducted by JAMA Pediatrics, in which 20% of 8,400 children observed reported not drinking any water. Those children typically consumed almost twice as many calories and more sugary beverages like soda and fruit drinks.

Promoting Oral Health in Children

In addition to drinking water, MouthHealthy.org provides a number of tips for helping to foster healthy teeth and gums from a young age. These include:

  • Keeping an infant’s mouth clean before teeth erupt by wiping his or her gums with a soft, clean washcloth or gauze pad.
  • Brushing newly erupted teeth twice a day with a rice-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Increasing to a pea-sized amount of toothpaste after age three.
  • Visiting the dentist as soon as the first tooth erupts, and no later than age one. 
  • Avoiding dipping pacifiers in honey or sugar, or putting them in your mouth to clean them.

Additional Resources

The ADA provides several resources in celebration of National Children’s Dental Health Month, including crossword puzzles, coloring pages and other activities. A printable reference guide is also available with 5 tips for avoiding tooth decay. 

The Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center, part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, provides a number of resources for oral health. These include healthy recipes, oral hygiene tips, and books about oral health.

If you’d like to discuss your child’s oral health or are ready to make an appointment, contact us today. We’d love to see your child’s smile!

Kid's Dental is a part of Mortenson Dental Partners.

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