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.

Flossing is a dance move right?

November 6th, 2023

Flossing is more than just a super cool dance move - Flossing is an important part of maintaining good oral hygiene, and it's especially important for children. While brushing is important for removing plaque and bacteria from the surfaces of the teeth, flossing is the only way to remove things from between the teeth.

Flossing should be started as soon as the child has teeth that are touching each other. This is usually around the age of 2-3 years old. Parents or caregivers should help their children floss to ensure that they are doing it properly. As the child grows older, they will be able to floss on their own.

Flossing may be difficult for some children, especially those with small mouths. In these cases, it may be helpful to use floss holders to make the flossing easier. Also, there's special floss picks made just for braces that make flossing much easier as well!

We understand that flossing can be a difficult habit to establish, but we are here to help with any questions you may have to help build healthy routines!

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.

What is Silver Diamine Fluoride?

May 12th, 2023

Silver diamine fluoride, or SDF, is a liquid that is used to help prevent and treat cavities in children's teeth. At our pediatric dental office, we use SDF as a non-invasive alternative to traditional fillings for small cavities. SDF works by penetrating the tooth's surface and hardening the tooth structure. It also has antimicrobial properties that help to kill bacteria that cause cavities. The silver component of SDF helps to stop the spread of decay, while the fluoride component helps to remineralize the tooth, making it stronger and more resistant to future decay.

One of the benefits of using SDF is that it is a non-invasive treatment option. Traditional fillings require drilling and removing tooth structure, which can be uncomfortable and traumatic for children. With SDF, the tooth structure is left intact, and the treatment can be completed quickly and painlessly.

Another benefit is that SDF can be used as a preventive treatment, helping to stop cavities from getting worse and prevent new cavities from forming. It's also a great option for children who have difficulty cooperating during dental procedures, as it can be applied quickly and without the need for local anesthetics.

It's important to note that SDF is not suitable for every case and it does have some limitations. It's not recommended for cavities that have progressed too far, or for teeth that have large fillings, crowns or root canal treatments. Additionally, SDF can cause black discoloration of the treated tooth, so it may pose an esthetic concern for parents.

It's important to have a detailed conversation with your child's dentist to determine if SDF is the best option for your child's specific needs!

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!

What type of toothpaste should my child use?

February 4th, 2023

We commonly get asked by parents on what type of toothpaste they should use for their child! We follow the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry guidelines, which recommends any toothpaste with fluoride. Fluoride is a protective factor to help prevent cavities on your child's teeth!

We also understand that some parents may be concerned with fluoride use. There is an alternative type of toothpaste with hydroxyapatite. We have seen some similar success with cavity prevention using hydroxyapatite, but there is not enough evidence in research that we can professionally recommend this type of toothpaste just yet. But it is an option for your family to look into if you would like!

In the end, you should choose any toothpaste that your child likes using! If your child likes it, you have a higher chance of getting your child to brush! Toothpaste comes in all colors, flavors, and designs - so make it a fun activity to have your child choose one with you when you go to the store!

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!

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!

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!

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