April is National Facial Protection Month!

April 3rd, 2024

As the weather warms up and gets sunny ☀️, children are outside more participating in sports and recreational activities ?‍♂️

As pediatric dentists, we highly promote the use of facial protection, such as mouth guards and helmets. But why may you ask?

There is a high chance of injury to your child's teeth and mouth during participation in sports and recreational activities! As dentists, we work hard to help families prevent these injuries as best as we can.

But of course, dental injuries unfortunately do happen quite often. If your child ever has an injury to their mouth, please contact to our child's dentist ASAP! We take dental injury emergencies very seriously and some injuries may be time sensitive to take care of.

A great resource that families can use is a phone app called ToothSOS (Disclaimer: we have no financial obligations to this application, it is just a great resource!). Families can easily pull up what injury their child has and follow the instructions on the app until they can reach their dentist.

Have fun and stay safe in the sun! ☀️ Don't forget to have your children wear mouthguards and helmets!!

What are your "dental" new year resolutions?

January 3rd, 2024

New Year, new me?

With each new year comes new resolutions! We came up with a few to help you start off the year with great dental health for your child!

  1. Regular brushing routine: Our guidelines recommend that parents help their child brush 2x/day for 2 minutes each time. We know how hard it can be to do this, especially for our youngest patients. The most important thing is to establish a regular brushing routine - such as bath, brush, book, bed. Having a regular routine that your child can get used to brushing is much better than pushing for brushing 2x/day.
  2. Healthy food choices: It's always easy to say: "we have to eat healthier!" Healthy food choices doesn't have to mean no sugar, no sweets ever. What's more important is how often your child is consuming these sweet treats. Having the treat ocassionally as a dessert or special occasion is much healthier for your teeth than having it every day throughout the day. The more we expose our teeth to sugar, the more likely your teeth may develop cavities!
  3. Don't forget to see your dentist at least 2 times a year! Regular check ups not only have keep your child's mouth healthy and cavity free, this helps establish a healthy habit that your child will hold on to when they are adults. Children who had great experiences at the dentist as a child are more likely to continue to seek dental care when they are older!

We wish everyone a wonderful new year!

Holiday gift ideas that make your dentist happy :)

December 16th, 2023

Need help with last minute holiday shopping? Here are a few of Dr. Norman and Dr. Cat's favorites! :)

1) Children's toothbrushes - You can make brushing fun by having your child choose a toothbrush with their favorite character! Our Drs. daughter LOVES Bluey, so what better toothbrush to choose? Make sure that toothbrushes are age appropriate with soft or extrasoft bristles and don't forget fluoridated or hydroxyapatite toothpaste!

2) Electric toothbrushes - For those children old enough for electric toothbrushes, having your child pick their favorite character or color brush will make brushing so much more exciting! You can also get a brush that is associated with a phone app or timer to make sure your child brushes for the full 2 minutes (always make sure brushing is supervised in younger children!) 

3) Biodegradable and plastic-free floss picks - We find that floss picks make flossing super easy for parents and kids! We favor environmentally friendly floss options!

4) For our youngest children - our favorite "brush" is the banana! It works as a great teether, it can help sooth gums, and is safe for infants to hold on their own (the protective handles prevent children from pushing the whole brush in their mouth). This is a great introduction to brushing even before teeth come in the mouth!

5) And of course - we can't forget our favorite toy options! For children who are nervous of going to the dentist, these dentist playsets help familiarize children with the dental setting, making going to the dentist a less scary place!

We hope you all have a wonderful holiday season!

*Disclaimer: We do not endorse, sponsor, or have any financial obligation to any of the products shown in this post.

How do I help my child not be scared to lose their teeth?

May 31st, 2023

Losing baby teeth is a normal process and it is an exciting part of growing up! But because this is a new process, it can also be a little scary for children. They may worry about the tooth falling out and causing them discomfort, or worried about losing their teeth forever. As a parent, you can help make the experience less scary and more fun for your child!

One way to make losing baby teeth less scary is by explaining the process to your child in a way that they can understand. You can show them pictures of the process to help them understand what's happening. You can also explain that losing baby teeth is a sign that their adult teeth are growing in and a part of growing up!

Another way to make the experience less scary is by creating a fun and positive atmosphere around the event. You can make a big deal out of your child's tooth falling out, celebrating with a special treat or even throwing a "tooth-loss party." You can also involve your child in the tooth fairy tradition by letting them put their tooth under the pillow and leaving a small gift or note in return.

It's also important to remind your child that losing baby teeth is not painful, and if there is any discomfort, it is usually mild and short-lived. You can also remind them that their dentist is always available to help if they have any concerns.

Additionally, you can help your child by teaching them good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing and flossing, to keep their teeth and gums healthy, preventing any discomfort or infection that could happen when a baby tooth comes out.

And as always, we are always available to help with any concerns you may have!

How do you treat children with special health care needs?

May 24th, 2023

As a pediatric dental office, we understand that every child is unique and may have special health care needs that require extra care and attention. Children with special health care needs often face additional challenges when it comes to maintaining their oral health, and it is important for parents and caregivers to be aware of these challenges and take appropriate steps to address them.

One of the most common challenges faced by children with special needs is difficulty with communication. Children with autism, for example, may have difficulty expressing their needs or understanding instructions, making it difficult for dental professionals to provide proper care. In these cases, it is important for parents and caregivers to work closely with the dental team to ensure that the child is comfortable and can communicate effectively.

Another challenge faced by children with special needs is difficulty with physical coordination. Children with cerebral palsy, for example, may have trouble sitting still for prolonged periods of time or may have difficulty opening their mouths wide enough for dental exams. In these cases, it is important for the dental team to be patient and to use specialized equipment and techniques to make the experience as comfortable as possible for the child.

Children with special needs may also have difficulty with oral hygiene. Some children may not have the motor skills to brush and floss properly, while others may have difficulty understanding the importance of oral hygiene. Parents and caregivers can help by providing extra assistance with brushing and flossing, and by working with the dental team to develop a customized oral hygiene plan that is tailored to the child's specific needs.

It is also important to note that children with special needs may be more prone to certain oral health problems, such as cavities, gum disease and dental abnormalities. Regular dental check-ups and early intervention can help to prevent and treat these issues, and it is important for parents and caregivers to be aware of the signs and symptoms of oral health problems and to seek treatment as soon as possible.

At our pediatric dental office, we understand the unique challenges faced by children with special needs and are committed to providing the highest level of care and attention to all of our patients. We work closely with parents and caregivers to understand the child's specific needs and to develop a customized treatment plan that is tailored to their individual needs. With the right care and attention, children with special needs can maintain good oral health and have a happy and healthy smile.

Can my child really get cavities this young?

February 22nd, 2023

Unfortunately yes.

We see many children as young as 1 year of age already having cavities in their mouth! Your child may have cavities starting in their teeth before it becomes a hole in their tooth. Cavities start as white spot lesions that become large and cavitated as the cavity gets worse (this is when you would usually see holes in the teeth).

Cavities are one of the most common chronic conditions of childhood in the United States. In Los Angeles County, 50% of kindergarteners have untreated cavities! Cavities are 5 times more common than asthma and 7 times more common than hay fever!

So what can we do to prevent cavities?
1) Brush 2x/day with fluoridated toothpaste for 2 minutes each time
2) Floss at least 1x/day
3) Avoid sugary foods and drinks in excess, especially crackers, chips, and juice
4) Visit the dentist at least 2x/year

Cavities are completely preventable and we believe that early detection is key! Making sure your child sees a dentist regularly will help your child's dentist identify any teeth that are starting cavities before they get worse. We are always here for you!

Is it better for my child to use an electric toothbrush?

January 16th, 2023

When it comes to keeping your child's teeth clean and healthy, one of the most important decisions you'll make is choosing the right toothbrush. There are two main types of toothbrushes available: manual and electric. Both have their pros and cons, so it's important to understand the differences before making a decision.

Manual toothbrushes are the traditional type of toothbrush that most people are familiar with. They are inexpensive, easy to find, and don't require batteries or electricity. They are also small and lightweight, which makes them easy for children to hold and use. However, manual toothbrushes can be more difficult to use correctly, and it can be harder for children to get all of the plaque and debris off of their teeth.

Electric toothbrushes, on the other hand, have a motor that moves the bristles back and forth. This can make brushing easier and more effective, especially for children who have trouble brushing properly. Electric toothbrushes are also great for children with sensory processing disorders, as the vibrations can provide a calming sensation. However, electric toothbrushes can be more expensive and need to be charged or replaced batteries regularly.

In conclusion, both manual and electric toothbrushes can be effective for maintaining good oral hygiene in children. Manual toothbrushes are a more traditional and cost-effective option, while electric toothbrushes can make brushing easier and more effective, especially for children who have difficulty brushing properly. Ultimately, the best toothbrush is the one that your child is most likely to use correctly and consistently. It is always best to consult with a pediatric dentist to decide which toothbrush is best for your child.

What are Ghost Teeth?

October 11th, 2022

Regional odontodysplasia: A classical case report Malhotra R, Singla S,  Shashikiran N D, Verma A - SRM J Res Dent Sci

In the spirit of Halloween, we wanted to tell you all about something called "Ghost Teeth"! Ghost teeth, or otherwise known as Regional Odontodysplasia, is a tooth condition where the teeth do not develop fully, so the teeth develop a "ghost-like" appearance when seen with x-rays.

  • Regional
    It affects one or several adjacent teeth.
  • Odonto
    This means the condition relates to your teeth.
  • Dysplasia
    Dysplasia refers to the presence of abnormal cells in organs or tissues in your body.

It is called "regional" because it only happens in a certain area of the mouth, usually kept to one side of the mouth. The reason why this condition occurs remains unclear. When this condition occurs, your child's dentist will work closely with you to come up with the best plan to take care of your child's teeth! But most important of all is to keep good oral hygiene no matter what!

I was told my child has an extra tooth, is that normal?

September 22nd, 2022

We know it sound a little crazy, but we find patients with extra teeth more commonly than you think! If your child has an extra tooth, it's not completely out of the norm! Extra teeth can be found in the front or the back. Most of the time, these teeth do not cause any issues, but there's a few things we get concerned with:

  • It can block adult teeth from coming in to the mouth - it blocks the normal pathway of the tooth erupting
  • The extra tooth can grow in the opposite direction so will not come out into the mouth on its own

The best way to prevent issues is to have regular check ups with your child's dentist. Pediatric dentists are well trained in detecting these extra teeth and determine if and when any treatment may be needed to prevent problems in the future! Don't forget that your child's dentist is always here for you!

What are some healthy snacks for my child's teeth?

August 30th, 2022

Now that school has started, many parents may wonder what type of snacks they should pack for their child that are still healthy for their teeth. We're here to help!

Here are some guidelines to help choose the best types of snacks for your child:

  1. Foods with crunchy textures: foods such as celery or carrots help to give your child's teeth an extra brush. These foods don't stick to your child's teeth! Avoid foods like chips or cookies (even though they are also crunchy) since after your child chews these foods, they become sticky and stick to teeth!
  2. Foods rich in calcium: foods such as cheese sticks, yogurt, and milk are rich in calcium, which helps build strong teeth!
  3. Low sugary foods: it's better to give fresh fruits as a sweet treat so that your child doesn't get extra sugar in their diet. This reduces their chance of getting cavities!

Regardless of what your child eats, don't forget to have them brush two times a day for at least two minutes each time. Remember that the magic number is 2!

"My child gets so scared at the dentist and doesn't do well each time we go"

August 10th, 2022

We hear these words from parents so commonly! Whether your child has had a previous traumatic dental experience, or your child has special health care needs, we understand that visiting the dentist may not be easy! This is where our office is here to help!

We believe in desensitization visits - this is where your child comes to visit the dental office multiple times where we gradually expose them to the dental setting. The more times your child is exposed to something, they become familiar with it, and will end up feeling more comfortable! For example, the more times they are able to get into the dental chair, the more times they are used to us brushing their teeth, the less scary each thing becomes!

We are also here for the little wins and want to take things step by step with your child. We want to take away any pressure of having to complete a "full dental visit." If all your child was able to do at the visit was sit in the dental chair, that is a win for us! Then the next time your child comes, we may be able to use a mirror to count their teeth or may even be able to brush their teeth! We do everything based on your child's comfort level!

At East Valley Children's Dentistry, we offer complimentary office tours for our new patients. This allows your family to get to know us and to become familiar with our environment before your dental visit with us! We also have a photobook that walks through the steps of a dental visit to help prepare your child before their visit. Please don't hesitate to contact our office with any questions you may have, we are here for you!

"We Don't Talk About Bruno" (dental edition)

June 13th, 2022

We understand that many parents want to prepare their child for the dentist, especially when it comes to visits when their child is getting a cavity fixed.  To help you help your child better, here are a few tips!

1) Avoid any trigger words such as "hurt", "sharp" or "pain". When we use these words, your child may come to expect that something may hurt them during the visit.

2) We especially do not want to use the word "shots" or "needles" because we don't want your child to associate the numbing medication we give with the vaccinations they receive at their medical doctor. We call our dental syringe that we use to give the numbing medication  "Bruno" - we know it may be an uncomfortable experience for your child, but as pediatric dentists, we have many techniques to distract your child that they may not know they are being numbed! So remember - "we don't talk about Bruno!"

3) Pediatric dentists are masters of distraction - we use stories and games with your child during their visit to make them feel comfortable! We use less "scary" words for different instruments to make sure that your child isn't scared of anything we use. We don't hide anything from your child, we just reframe how they see something new so that they aren't afraid!

4) We understand that parents may have their own personal dental experiences in the past that may have been difficult. We want to avoid these same difficult experiences for your child. The most important thing to remember is that we are here to help you and your family, we want to build that trusting relationship! Don't forget to remind your child that their dentist is here to help them, not harm them!

These are just a few helpful tips to make the dental experience easier, but every child is different, so we are here to work with you and your family to make your experience at the dentist the best it could be!

What can be done in dentistry to help the earth?

April 21st, 2022

Earth Day is tomorrow so we wanted to give you some dental tips to help the Earth!

  1. Use a reusuable flosser - using individual plastic floss picks can add a lot of waste to the Earth. By using a reusuable flosser, you reuse the plastic handle and only change out the floss portion after each use!
  2. Drink tap or filtered water - this reduces the amount of water bottles that are being used! Remember that water is the best drink we can have for our teeth!
  3. Turn off the faucet while you brush to conserve water - you save a lot of water by turning off the faucet for the whole two minutes that you brush!

What are you doing at home to be more earth-friendly?

Let's all work together to keep our Earth healthy!

Why do I need to floss my child's teeth?

March 11th, 2022

Why is flossing so important? We hear this all the time! Did you know that baby teeth are supposed to have space in between them? As your child grows, their teeth start to move closer together and touch tightly! When this happens, it’s important to start flossing. But why?

  • Toothbrushes can’t clean in between teeth
  • Food tends to get stuck between teeth when we eat and will stay there for a long time if not taken out, leading to cavities!
  • Floss helps remove food, keeps the inner surfaces of our teeth clean, and prevent cavities!

It’s never too early to start flossing! (And we don’t only mean the fortnite dance :D)

How can parents help prevent cavities for their children?

February 28th, 2022

Parents really want to make sure that their children don't get cavities, but how do they help prevent the cavities?

  1. Have your child's first dental visit before the age of 1. This allows your child to have an established dental home to ensure they have the proper care.
  2. Take your child to the dentist regularly! We recommend taking your child to the dentist at least twice a year.
  3. Help your child brush 2x/day, 2 minutes each time.
  4. Give your child a balanced diet full of low-sugary foods.

We always want to do everything we can to prevent cavities and keep your child's smiles bright!

How do cavities start?

February 11th, 2022

A lot of parents often wonder how cavities start? A lot of factors can go into why a child may get cavities, but here's a simple overview of how a cavity is formed.

  1. All of the foods and beverages we eat and drink contain sugar. This sugar sticks to our teeth until we brush them.
  2. We all have bacteria living in our mouths that love sugar. The sugar becomes a food source for the bacteria that allows them to make acid. This acid causes our teeth to break down!
  3. Over time, the breakdown of the tooth continues and a hole forms. This is a cavity!

So how do we prevent cavities?

  1. Brushing at least 2x/day for a minimum of 2 minutes each time. Also don't forget to floss!
  2. Limiting the amount of sugary foods and beverages that we eat and drink.
  3. Visiting the dentist at least 2x/year for regular check ups!

Let's all work together to help our teeth by cavity-free!

Is it okay for my child to have gummy vitamins?

January 11th, 2022

Does your child eat gummy vitamins? Although this may be a popular option to get children to take their vitamins, gummy vitamins aren't the best option for your child's teeth! Even though the vitamins have all the nutrients to keep your child's body healthy, it is unfortunately really sticky. So what does that mean for our teeth?

When something is really sticky, it sticks super well to your child's teeth, especially the teeth in the back. These teeth are already really hard to brush, so the gummies will stay stuck to your child's teeth for a long time. This increases the chance of getting cavities! The bacteria in your child's mouth feed on any food subtances left on the teeth. They then produce acid that starts to break down your child's teeth resulting in a hole - this is a cavity!

So if gummy vitamins are not a great option for teeth, what are some alternative options? We highly recommend chewable tablet vitamins for your children if they are unable to swallow pills. Chewable tablets do not stay stuck to teeth like gummy vitamins. Another way for your child to get their vitamins is to eat healthy well-balanced meals packed full of nutritious fruits and vegetables!

Let's work together to keep your child's smiles healthy!

What are some teeth-friendly holiday treats?

December 24th, 2021

Happy Holidays!! In this season of sweet treats, we wanted to give you some teeth-friendly treat options for the whole family! These super easy recipes can be made into a fun activity to do with your little one.

Reindeer Celery

  1. Cut celery sticks into child-size pieces
  2. Fill with your child's favorite nut butter (or alternative butter if your child is allergic to nuts)
  3. Place pretzels for the antlers
  4. Add googly eyes and red M&M to finish the face!

Grinch Fruit Kabobs

  1. Skewer one green grape, then one slice of banana, then one whole strawberry, then one tiny marshmellow onto a wooden skewer!

All of these recipes are super simple to do! You can customize the ingredients to your child's taste as well.

We wish you and your family the happiest of holidays!

What can I do to help my child prepare for their first dental visit?

October 26th, 2021

Every parent has fears about their child's first dental visit and that is completely understandable! Our family at East Valley Children's Dentistry want to do everything we can to make sure your child's visit is as comfortable as possible. Our goal is to make sure our patients have happy experiences at the dentist and want to come back to see us again!

Here are a few of our recommendations on how to prepare your child for their first dental visit:

  1. Read books together with your child on what to expect at the dentist. Books such as "Daniel Goes to the Dentist" and "The Berenstain Bears Visit The Dentist" are among many great books to read with your child.
  2. Watch child-friendly videos together with your child on what dental visits look like. A great video series called "The Feelingwells" from Sesame Street is available to watch for free on YouTube!
  3. Speak about dental experiences with positive words! Avoid the scary words such as "needles" and "shots" - we want your child to associate the dentist with happy experiences! Pediatric dentists are the experts in substituting scary words with child friendly words to make the dental office a less scary place.

We want parents to feel prepared as well! Our office provides a complimentary parent educational toolkit that answers the most frequently asked questions. Please contact our office to receive your copy!

Our website also provides a description on what to expect during your child's first dental appointment at our office. We want you to feel as prepared and comfortable as possible. We look forward to having you join our East Valley Smile family!

Is it okay for my child to use a pacifier?

September 22nd, 2021

Parents often wonder whether or not use of a pacifier is good or not - "will this affect my child's teeth?", "will this affect their jaws?" Early use of pacifiers is considered normal! Only prolonged use of the pacifier can cause changes in the position of your child's teeth and jaws. How often your child has the pacifier in their mouth, how long they keep it in their mouth each time, and how hard they are sucking on the pacifier are all factors that can contribute to how your child's teeth may be affected.

At ages younger than 3, pacifier use is considered normal because this is part of your child's coping mechanism and comfort system. As your child gets older, they gain more skills in order to help comfort themselves without the need of a pacifier. Our goal is to wean your child's pacifier habit by age 4 years in order to prevent any changes in your child's teeth. There is a possibility that changes may happen earlier than age 4 years, and your child's dentist will look out for these changes at each dental visit.

We all know how hard it is to break a habit, so here are some things your child's dentist may recommend to help with stopping your child's pacifier habit:

  1. Sticker charts - This is a reward system where your child can get a sticker for every day that they do not use their pacifier. After a certain amount of stickers collected, your child can receive a prize (that you decide together as parent and child)!
  2. Alternative comfort object - Since your child is using their pacifier for comfort, you can help them choose another object that may bring them comfort that they can trade out their pacifier for. They may choose a teddy bear or a toy that they can have with them whenever they need the comfort!
  3. Pacifier fairy - For children who are older, you can tell them about the pacifier fairy. The pacifier fairy collects pacifiers when children are ready to give it up - these pacifiers will be collected to be given to children who are in need of pacifiers. (Of course - this is all make-believe and you as the parent will be hiding away the pacifier, but this will allow your child to feel happy about giving their pacifier away for someone else!).

The biggest thing we must remember when trying to stop habits is that we don't want to punish your child for the habit. We want to encourage them to stop the habit on their own, not give them any consequences for its use. The stopping of a habit relies on your child's want and ability to stop the habit on their own!

Your child's dentist will work with you as a team to make sure pacifier use doesn't affect your child's teeth to give them their best smiles!

How often does my child need to see the dentist?

August 19th, 2021

Parents usually wonder how often they need to take their child to the dentist. "Since they are just baby teeth that are going to fall out, we don't have to bring our child to the dentist very often right?" This isn't necessarily true! The health of baby teeth is really important to ensure that your child's adult teeth will also come in nice and healthy!

At minimum, it is recommended that your child sees a dentist at least twice a year. Remember the rules of two's - brush 2 times a day, 2 minutes each time, and visit the dentist 2 times a year!

But sometimes, your child's dentist may recommend your child to be seen more than twice a year, such as every 3 months instead of every 6 months. Here's a few reasons why:

  1. Your child may have some teeth that are starting to have cavities. These teeth do not have cavities that require any fillings yet, so your child's dentist wants to see your child more often to closely monitor those teeth! At these visits, your child's dentist can go over different ways to keep the teeth clean and to catch things that may be causing your child's cavities to get worse!
  2. Your child may have a habit that affects your child's teeth, such as thumb sucking. Prolonged thumb sucking after the age of 4 years old can cause changes in your child's jaw and how your child's teeth grow in. By seeing your child's dentist more often, they can more easily track the changes that are happening and work together with you to slowly guide your child towards stopping their habit.
  3. Some children come to the dentist very anxious due to past dental experiences or the child may have special health care needs that prevents them from feeling safe in new environments. Having visits that are more often and less far apart can allow your child to feel more comfortable with the dental environment and turn it into a safe space!

Your child's dentist and dental team are always here to answer all of your questions and provide the best care for your child!

Did you know that your child has to see the dentist before they start kindergarten?

August 5th, 2021

In the State of California, state law requires your child receive an assessment of their oral health as part of school readiness activities for kindergarten entry. You are required to check with your child's school for the appropriate forms and details that are required.

Why is this a requirement? Many California children have a lack of access to dental care. Dental disease is one of the most common reasons for school absences. Pain from toothaches makes it hard for children to concentrate and learn!

In 2006, AB 1433 was signed into law as the kindergarten dental check up requirement. This law helps schools identify the children suffering from untreated dental disease and helps parents establish a dental home for their children!

Now that summer is coming to an end and school is starting up soon, don't forget to make an appointment for your child to see the dentist! What better way to start the school year than with bright and healthy smiles!

My child's baby teeth aren't growing in at the times they are supposed to, should I be worried?

July 23rd, 2021

Baby teeth growing in! This is a big topic amongst parents of our youngest patients. "When should I expect the teeth to come in?" and "My other kid got their teeth by this time already but she's not growing any yet" are just some common things that we hear from parents!

The chart above shows you when we expect the different baby teeth to grow in. Usually by 3 years of age, your child should have all 20 baby teeth. BUT! The most important thing to remember is that every child is different! Not everyone gets their baby teeth in at the same time.

When pediatric dentists check your child's mouth, we are not going through a checklist to see if the teeth that are supposed to be there have come in. We are looking at the order that the different type of teeth come in, and we are feeling your child's gums to see if we can feel under the gums the baby teeth that haven't come yet.

If teeth grow in out of order, this may point to certain reasons such as: your child may be missing the tooth that hasn't come in yet, there may be something in the gums/bone that is preventing the tooth to come in, or your child's tooth is just taking its time to come in! Even if teeth grow in out of order, it isn't an immediate reason to worry!

Your dentists are always there to help answer any questions you may have and to help your child develop their beautiful smile!

What can I do to help my child's discomfort during teething?

May 14th, 2021

Is your child in the stage where they are starting to drool a lot, they have the urge to bite everything, and you are starting to see little teeth come in? It's an exciting time! - your child is teething! We know teething can be extremely difficult and uncomfortable for some children, and it becomes a difficult time for the parents as well. Because we know how hard it is, here are some tips to help you and your family get through the teething process:

  1. Frozen towels - Wet a soft towel and place it into your freezer until the towel is cold but NOT frozen or hard. This is the safest and best option to have your child chew on! The towel is soft so that there is no harm to your child's mouth and the cold will help relieve their discomfort!
  2. Soft teething toys - Any teething toy that is soft in nature is great, such as the toys that you can throw into the freezer. Any toy works as long as it is soft. You want to avoid any hard plastic toys because they can easily break off and create a choking hazard for your child.
  3. Avoid teething medications - You want to avoid giving your child medications that are specifically for teething. The medications made for teething may not be at a healthy and safe level for your child. Avoid especially any topical ointments with anesthetic since it may not be safe for your child, such as Orajel. If needed, you can give your child Children's Tylenol to help with any fevers that come with teething.

Your dental family is always here to support you with any questions you may need! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask!

How can I make brushing fun?

April 19th, 2021

We all know the golden rule for brushing - brush two times a day, two minutes each time. But how can we make brushing fun for kids? We get this question a lot from parents since it is so hard to get their kids motivated to brush. There are many ways to get your kids brushing, but here are a few of our favorites!

  1. Brushing Tunes! - Have your child choose their favorite song and have them brush for the full amount of time that the song plays for. Because we want your child to brush for at least 2 minutes, make sure the song lasts for that amount of time!
  2. Brushing Sticker Chart - Create a calendar where you reward your child with a sticker for every morning and every night that they brush their teeth. At the end of the month, if they were able to get a full chart of stickers, you can reward them with a prize of your choice!
  3. Brushing Together - Some children, especially the younger ones, love watching and copying what their parents do. If you brush together, it becomes a family activity that they'll get used to doing.

The biggest thing about brushing habits is creating a routine. Our favorite routine is brush, book, bed - the three B's! Brush your teeth, settle down with a bedtime story/book, and then get tucked into bed.

We hope these tips help you and your family - let us know what works for you! And please share with us any other great ideas your family has to make brushing fun!

But they're just baby teeth, do they really need to be fixed?

February 19th, 2021

In honor of National Children's Dental Health Month, we wanted to talk about a really important topic to us. We often hear "but they're just baby teeth, do they really need to be fixed? Aren't they going to fall out anyways?" Although it is true that baby teeth do fall out and new adult teeth come in, not treating baby teeth can cause a lot more harm than we think!

What happens when we don't treat cavities in baby teeth?
- Cavities can grow really big and affect the nerve inside the tooth. When this happens, your child may start feeling discomfort and pain on that tooth. This pain affects children when they're eating and sometimes even at night when they're trying to sleep.
- After cavities start affecting the nerve of a tooth, the bacteria from the cavity may start causing an infection to form inside the bone underneath the tooth. You may see a pimple with pus on your child's gums next to the tooth with the cavity.
- If infections are left untreated, this can be really painful and potentially dangerous for your child. Infections can cause large swellings in the face and neck, and if the swellings are large enough, it can cause your child to have difficulty breathing. This becomes a really urgent emergency!
- Over time, if the infections stay in the bone around the tooth, this infection may affect the adult teeth that are developing underneath. The adult teeth may not develop normally - they sometimes become a different shape or a different color from what is normal.
- And lastly, not all baby teeth fall out at once! Most children do not lose their last baby tooth until they are 12 years old!

All of these things that can cause discomfort for your child are extremely preventable! When we treat baby teeth, we try to treat them as early as possible so that we take care of the cavities when they are still small. Our goal is to protect and save as many baby teeth as we can, because we want every child to have a beautiful and healthy smile!

Why does my child have so many gaps between their teeth?

January 25th, 2021

A very common question we get from parents is: "Why are there so many gaps in between my child's teeth?" This question is usually followed by: "Does this mean my child needs braces?"

We've all been taught that straight teeth are what teeth are supposed to look like. But for baby teeth, those gaps or spaces are what we want! Baby teeth are very small in size in comparison to the adult teeth counterparts. By having gaps in between each baby teeth, the extra space allows for the larger adult tooth to erupt into its normal place.

Dentists describe spacing via the Baume classification system.

  • Baume Type 1 means that there are gaps/spacing between the baby teeth, allowing room for the adult teeth to come in.
  • Baume Type 2 means that the baby teeth are in contact or touching. There is a lack of extra space, meaning that the adult teeth may not have enough room to come in, leading to crowding and possible need for braces for the child in the future!

Once adult teeth erupt into place, they are usually in contact with one another, no gaps remaining. But not all gaps are bad! Some people have natural gaps in between their adult teeth and that's okay! Every smile is a beautiful smile!


Why is my child's new tooth growing behind the baby tooth?

December 29th, 2020

What's more exciting than seeing your child grow their first baby tooth? When your child gets their first loose tooth! It is finally time for your child to get a visit from the tooth fairy. But you also notice that the new tooth is growing behind their baby tooth. Many parents come ask us - "is this something we need to worry about?" The great news is, this is extremely common! We call this "Shark Teeth." Shark teeth is when the new adult teeth grow in a row behind the existing baby teeth, creating two rows of teeth, similar to sharks!

Most of the time, we don't have to worry about shark teeth. Once the baby tooth falls out, the new adult tooth will drift into the space, even though it has grown in behind the other tooth. The normal movement and pressure from your child's tongue will also allow the tooth to be pushed into place - your child doesn't have to actively push on the tooth with their tongue!

When might we worry? If you notice that your child's new adult teeth have now grown taller than your child's baby teeth, and you also notice that the baby teeth are not loose, this is a great to talk to your child's dentist. Your dentist will be able to evaluate your child to determine if there is anything that needs to be done in order for your child's teeth to grow in properly.

When in doubt, never hesitate to ask your dentist! They are your experts on oral health and always want to make sure that you and your family are well taken care of.

Why are my child's new teeth yellow?

December 7th, 2020

As children start losing their baby teeth and their new adult teeth come in, a lot of parents ask, "why are their new teeth yellow?" and "is this something we should be worried about?" These are great questions! First off, this is definitely nothing to worry about! Adult teeth are naturally more yellow in color than baby teeth, and here are the reasons why:

  • Every tooth is made up of layers: an outer 'white' layer (enamel), an inner 'yellow' layer (dentin), and the innermost layer containing blood vessels and nerves (pulp). Baby teeth and adult teeth look different based on the amount of thickness of the layers of enamel and dentin!
  • Baby teeth have thin layers of dentin, meaning less of the 'yellow' layer. The enamel in baby teeth is also more opaque, making it harder to see the yellow layer through the white. All of this together makes baby teeth look super bright and white!
  • Adult teeth have a thicker dentin layer, meaning more 'yellow.' The enamel is also semi-translucent, allowing the yellow color underneath to show through more easily. This allows adult teeth to be more yellow in color.

One last question you may have is: "can we do anything about the yellow teeth?"

  • We don't recommend teeth whitening in office or at home whitening kits for young children. These products can make teeth extremely sensitive and uncomfortable for your child.
  • Also, if your child has a mixture of baby teeth and adult teeth currently in the mouth, there are still more adult teeth to come in to replace those baby teeth. If you choose to whiten teeth at this time, the new set of adult teeth coming in will be a different color - you won't be able to specifically whiten the new teeth to match the old ones!
  • Once a child has all of their adult teeth in their late teenage years, we can go over different safe methods of whitening their teeth to reduce the chances of sensitivity and to keep their teeth healthy.

So are yellow teeth bad? Not at all! We always want to emphasize the importance of strong and healthy teeth is by not having any cavities - not the color of the teeth. Having white teeth doesn't always mean a tooth is healthy!

Can my child have candy on Halloween?

October 15th, 2020

You may not know, but dentists can have a sweet tooth too! We love sweets just as much as you do, so with Halloween coming up, we wanted to give you tips on how to continue to take care of your teeth during this sugary holiday!

Candy that are "tooth-friendly" are candy that quickly leave the mouth and are not sticky! Chocolate is the best "tooth-friendly" type of sweet! It enters the mouth and leaves the teeth really fast as it melts away.

Candy that are not as "tooth-friendly" are candy that are sticky. These types of candy stay in the mouth for a long time! They stick really tight to the chewing surfaces of teeth and can potentially cause cavities. We want to avoid too much of gummy bears, gummy worms, taffy, and caramels.

The most important thing is to eat sweets in moderation. Keep your child's candy in a place that is not visible. Having candy out in the open and easily accessible will increase the amount of times your child will want to have that candy. Also, give candy as a special treat, not as a type of food they eat on a daily basis.

And of course, don't forget to brush your child's teeth! Remember to brush two times a day, two minutes each time.

We hope everyone has a safe and healthy Halloween, and keep your teeth shiny and clean!

Does my child really need to wear a sports mouthguard?

September 23rd, 2020

With sports resuming, we wanted to turn our attention to a topic that's not discussed as often - Mouthguards! What are mouthguards you may ask? These are also known as mouth protectors because they help cushion any injury to the face. Wearing a mouthguard minimizes the risk of broken teeth and injury to lips, tongue, face, and jaw. The teeth we are most concerned about are the upper front teeth. The lower teeth are more protected because they are further back, but your upper teeth are front and center to any injury to the face! Lost of your child's front teeth may affect the way they smile, talk, and eat. By preventing these injuries, we can protect your child's beautiful smile!

A mouthguard should be worn as part of the athletic gear of the sport that they play. Did you know that dental injury was most common during baseball in children aged 7-12 years and during basketball in children aged 13-17 years? These higher collision and contact sports increase the risk for injury!

The best type of mouthguard is one that is custom made for your child by a dentist. The mouthguard is made specifically from a mold of your child's mouth so that it fits nice and snug. You can also purchase a mouthguard from any drug store, known as a boil-and-bite mouthguard. These mouthguards are softened in boiled water, then inserted to your child's mouth to allow it to adapt to the shape of their mouth. They do not have the perfect fit of a custom mouthguard, but will still be able to protect your child's mouth! Lastly, there are stock mouthguards also found in drug stores that are inexpensive and come preformed and ready to wear. The only downside to this type of mouthguard is that they don't fit very well, may be bulky and makes breathing and talking very difficult.

In addition, if your child has braces, a mouthguard becomes even more important! Any injury to the face may not only cause damage to the teeth but also to the orthodontic appliances that may end up injurying your child's gums and cheeks.

You should always work with your dentist regarding choosing the right mouthguard for your child. As your child grows, they may need to switch mouthguards to adapt to the growth of their jaws! In addition, keeping their mouthguard clean is as important as brushing their teeth - we don't want any infections to start from bacteria growing inside the mouthguard.

Let's work together as a team to help maintain your child's smile!

When can my child brush on their own?

August 25th, 2020

Did you know that it is recommended for parents to help their children brush their teeth until their child is at least 7-8 years old? You may say "Wow! We still need to help them even when they are that old?" The key thing here isn't only the age, but how well is your child brushing their teeth? Every child is different. We have seen 5 year old children who are perfect brushers, and we have seen some 10 year old children who still need that extra help. What matters the most is what to look for as you're helping your child brush in order to help guide them towards better brushing on their own.

Here are our tips to help you brush with your child:

  • Each tooth has 3 "sides" that need to be brushed: the cheek side, the tongue side, and the biting surface. For the front teeth, you would brush the lips side, the tongue side, and the biting surface.
  • Look at the area where the gums touch the tooth, are there a lot of white/yellow food particles stuck there? This is what we call plaque! It is important to help your child brush these areas to prevent cavities.
  • The areas where plaque likes to stick the most are the cheek sides of the upper teeth and the tongue sides of the lower teeth. With the cheeks and tongue squishing against those sides of the teeth, it's hard for your child to brush there, so spend extra time checking these spots!
  • Divide the mouth into 4 different sections - upper right, upper left, lower left, lower right. Spend 30 seconds brushing each section, which will equal a total of 2 minutes of brushing!
  • Don't forget to brush the tongue! If the tongue remains white and coated over time, this can be a cause of stinky breath!
  • Over time, as you work with your child to brush their teeth, they will know what to look for when they are brushing. They can brush on their own first, then you as the parent can check their brushing and help remind them of any places they have missed. Then before you know it, they'll be able to brush super well on their own!
  • As a rule of thumb, children are usually able to brush their teeth on their own once they know how to tie their own shoelaces. This demonstrates that they have enough hand motor skills in order to brush their teeth effectively!

We hope these tips help you and your child become a better brushing team together!

Can I get sick from an old toothbrush?

August 6th, 2020


With the pandemic still on our minds, it's really important to not only keep up good hand hygiene but good oral hygiene as well! Did you know that a single toothbrush can hold as many 1.2 million bacteria? That's a lot!

So how do you take care of your toothbrush and how often do you need to change them out? These are great questions! A healthy and clean toothbrush means a healthy child!

How can you take care of your child's toothbrush?

  • After using the toothbrush, shake it vigorously under tap water and store it in an upright position so that it can air out
  • Make sure the toothbrush dries between uses
  • Keep the toothbrush from touching other toothbrushes when it is stored - you don't want to pass any germs or viruses between the brushes
  • Plastic cases are great to protect the toothbrush bristles, but make sure to allow the toothbrush to dry in the open air to reduce the spread of germs

How often should you change your child's toothbrush?

  • It is recommended to change your toothbrush every 3 months
  • Studies have shown that after 3 months of normal wear and tear, the toothbrush becomes less effective at removing plaque from your child's teeth!
  • Over time, bristles break down and lose their effectiveness at getting into all the tiny grooves on your child's teeth
  • And super important! - if your child has had a cold, flu, mouth infection, or sore throat - change out the toothbrush! Germs can hide in the bristles and cause reinfection. We don't want your child to get sick again!

Keeping up the good habit of changing out your toothbrush often will not only keep your child's smile clean and bright, but also keeps your child healthy!

What types of food are good for my child's teeth?

July 10th, 2020

In order to make sure the food your child eats is good for their teeth, make sure they have a balanced diet! Include fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products, and meat, fish and eggs. In addition, you want to limit the servings of sugars and starches that your child eats to protect their teeth from cavities. We are never saying "no sugar" or "no candy" ever! The most important thing is everything in moderation - it has to be balanced!

Let's talk about the foods that are the BEST for your child's teeth:

  1. Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables
    • Foods with fiber help keep your teeth and gums clean!
    • They also get your saliva flowing - increasing amount of saliva in your mouth helps to reduce the effect of any acid that can attack teeth and start cavities. Saliva also helps to restore the essential minerals to teeth.
  2. Cheese, milk, plain yogurt
    • The calcium in dairy products help to put minerals back in your teeth where they have been lost and helps to rebuild tooth enamel, the protective layer of your teeth!

Now what about the foods that can be bad for your child's teeth:

  1. Sticky candies and sweets
    • The bacteria that live in our mouths love sugar! They use this sugar to produce an acid that breaks down your teeth, causing cavities!
    • Sticky candies love those deep grooves in your teeth and they stick there really well if you don't brush! The longer the candy stays on the tooth, the higher chance of getting a cavity!
    • If you were to choose a sweet to eat, chocolate would be the best! It melts in your mouth and doesn't stay there like the sticky candies do!
  2. Starchy foods such as cookies and crackers
    • These soft foods become sticky after they are chewed and stick to your teeth just as how sticky sweets would!
  3. Carbonated soft drinks
    • Not only do these drinks contain a lot of sugar, it is also very acidic that can contribute to wearing away at your tooth enamel, the protective layer of your teeth!

Here's our recommendations (based on recommendations from the American Dental Association):

  1. Have your child eat sugary foods with meals, reducing the amount of time the sugar stays in your child's mouth! During meals, more saliva is produced, washing away pieces of food that can stay in the mouth.
  2. Limit between-meal snacks. As mentioned before, we don't want foods to be stuck in our teeth for a long time! If your child wants a snack, give them something nutritious, like fruit or veggies.
  3. Drink more water! Replace soda and juices with plain water.
  4. Always remember to help your child brush and floss 2x/day!

Remember - there's no right or wrong thing to eat, it's all about moderation. Make sure to eat balanced meals!

When do I start brushing my child's teeth?

May 14th, 2020

Many parents come to the office asking, "when do I start brushing my child's teeth?" The answer is - the sooner the better! Starting at birth, you want to clean your child's gums (even before they have teeth) with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. This helps keep your child's mouth clean and allows you to become comfortable with oral health for your child!

What type of toothbrush can you use? It is best to choose a soft,age-appropriate sized toothbrush. When you purchase a toothbrush, most will note at the top the softness of the toothbrush and will also give you an age range for the toothbrush size. The great part is, toothbrushes come in many fun designs and colors. You can have your child choose a color they like - it'll make brushing that much more fun!

As soon as teeth start to erupt, you can use toothpaste with your toothbrush! For children under 3 years old, you should use a tiny smear of fluoridated-toothpaste. The amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush should be about the size of a grain of rice. Once children are 3-6 years old, the amount should be increased to a pea-sized dollop. The toothpaste amount is really important because young children do not have the ability to spit out. By using the correct amount of toothpaste, your child will not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing. As always, we recommend parents to help their child brush - at least until age 7 years old! A great way to remember this is if your child can tie their shoelaces, then they can brush their teeth on their own! They have developed their hand skills at this time, but you should always check to make sure they brushed all of the hard to reach spots.

Remember to brush 2x/day! Create a routine - brush, book, bed! Brush your child's teeth, read a book together, and have them go to bed! By having a set routine every night, your child will learn that this is something they need to do every day! We will be talking later on on tips of how to make brushing fun!

When should I bring my Child to the Dentist?

May 8th, 2020

Have you always wondered when to bring your child to the dentist for their first visit? We have a great rule you can follow - it’s a rule of firsts: First tooth or First Birthday!

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a child’s first dental visit to be as soon as they get their first tooth (as early as 6 months of age) and no later than their first birthday.

You may wonder, but my child barely has any teeth at this point, why do we need to go so early? Bringing your child to a dentist earlier on has many benefits:

  1. 54% of California children have tooth decay by kindergarten
  2. Visiting a dentist earlier on can help you learn ways to prevent your child from getting cavities
  3. By age one, your child may already have 8 teeth! This means they can already develop cavities!
  4. You and your dentist can work together as a team to come up with a healthy teeth plan that works best for your family, such as how to brush and what types of snacks to eat
  5. Your dentist can help you understand what teeth are expected next and how to take care of your teething child

But best of all, you’ll always have a friendly face to answer any question you may have. We understand that parenting can be difficult, and we want to be there as part of the process with you. We welcome everyone to be a part of our East Valley Smiles family!

Why are Baby Teeth Important?

May 8th, 2020

"Do we really need to take care of baby teeth? Don’t they fall out anyways?” Contrary to popular belief, children will not lose all of their baby teeth all at once. A child will start losing their first baby tooth around age 6 years, with the last one falling out of their mouth around age 12 years!

Because children will have the baby teeth in their mouth for many years of their life, it’s very important to make sure to prevent and treat any cavities that develop. Here are a few reasons why baby teeth are important:
  • maintains function for proper chewing and eating
  • prevents losing space in the mouth for the adult tooth to come in later on
  • keeps the confidence of your child for smiling and speaking
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that a child should go to the dentist no later than 12 months of age! Pediatric dentists are always available to help you and your family maintain good oral health.

What is a Pediatric Dentist?

May 8th, 2020


A common question we get is “What’s the difference between a pediatric dentist and a dentist that sees kids?” This is a great question!

Any licensed dentist is able to see and treat children in their office. The difference is, pediatric dentists receive specialty training in all aspects of oral health care specifically for infants, children, and adolescents. The main goal of a pediatric dentist is to create a comfortable and safe environment for every patient and their family. If a child grows up with happy experiences at the dentist, they will be more likely to have better oral health as adults! In addition, a large part of the pediatric dental residency is dedicated to treating patients with special health care needs.

So how does someone become a pediatric dentist? After college, you attend dental school (3-4 years) and then complete a residency program in pediatric dentistry (2-3 years). This can be an additional 7 years after college! In addition, to become a board-certified pediatric dentist, you have to pass both the written and oral exam from the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. Pediatric dentists are the biggest advocate for the oral health of children - kids aren’t just little adults!

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