Posts Tagged ‘pediatric dentists’

Ari has been teething and got her dress a little wet. She still looks beautiful!

When your little baby angel turns into a cranky baby, there’s a chance he or she might be teething. Is she drooling? Rubbing his mouth or ears? Trying to eat anything in sight or can get his or her lips on?  Perhaps a little more diaper rash than usual? Or even running a slight fever? You might want to try to run your finger around your baby’s gums to see if you feel any sharpness or raised bumps – yup! Those are teeth coming in!  Usually the two front bottom teeth are first to come in and are followed by the two front top ones. Ari, who is 10-months-old and my boyfriend’s niece, is currently teething.  We usually call her “Stealth” because she is so mellow-tempered and a happy little baby, but recently she seems uncomfortable and crying and especially “drooly”! Keep that bib handy for a little sweep of the mouth.

We have helped her by giving her something cool – my mom always suggests wetting a soft baby cloth and putting it in the freezer for 10 minutes to cool it off and give it to your baby – shocking, it works (I guess mom IS always right!).  You can also buy the teething toys at most baby stores and pop those in the freezer too. For pain relief, many parents swear by homeopathic remedies like Hyland’s Teething Tablets. Acetaminophen also helps, but check with the doctor for the right dosage. So what if you don’t’ have any real evidence that a tooth might appear soon? Eh, just blame it on “She’s teething!” when she is crying or chewing on your couch pillow during play group. Just kidding.

On a serious note, teething, the emergence of the first teeth through a baby’s gums, can be a frustrating time babies and their parents.

She still can give a smile when her little gums are hurting a bit.

The Steps of Teething
Teething can begin as early as 3 months and continue until a child’s third birthday. Between the ages of 4 and 7 months, you’ll notice your baby’s first tooth pushing through the gum line. The first teeth to appear usually are the two bottom front teeth, later followed by the four front upper teeth. About a month later, the lower two teeth flanking the bottom front teeth will appear.

Next to break through the gum line are the first molars (the back teeth used for grinding food), then finally the eyeteeth (the pointy teeth in the upper jaw). Most kids have all 20 of their primary teeth by their third birthday.

As kids begin teething, they might drool more and want to chew on anything in site. For some babies, teething is painless, but for others, there may be signs of being cranky for weeks, crying, or disrupted sleeping patterns.

According to Kids Health Organization, “Although tender and swollen gums could cause your baby’s temperature to be a little higher than normal, teething doesn’t usually cause high fever or diarrhea. If your baby does develop a fever during the teething phase, it’s probably due to something else and you should contact your doctor.”

Ari loves he teething keys (stick them in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill them and make them feel good on a baby’s gums).

Soothing Teething Pain & Tips

  • Wipe your baby’s face often with a soft and clean cloth to remove drool and especially to prevent rashes from developing.
  • Give your baby something to chew on. Make sure it’s big enough so that it can’t be swallowed
  • Rub your baby’s gums with a clean finger.
  • Never tie a teething ring around a baby’s neck — it could get caught on something and strangle the baby.
  • If your baby seems irritable, acetaminophen may help — but always consult your doctor first. Never place an aspirin against the tooth, and don’t rub alcohol on your baby’s gums.

Do you brush new baby teeth?
Taking care of your baby’s teeth is important for long-term dental health. Daily dental care should begin even before your baby’s first tooth emerges. You are probably thinking I am crazy, but it is highly recommended by doctors to wipe your baby’s gums daily with a clean, damp washcloth or gauze, or brush them gently with a soft, infant-sized toothbrush and water (no toothpaste!). As soon as the first tooth appears, brush it with water!

Toothpaste is OK to use once a child is old enough to spit it out — usually around age 3. By the time all your baby’s teeth are in, try to brush them at least twice a day and especially after meals. Another important tip for preventing tooth decay: Don’t let your baby fall asleep with a bottle. The milk or juice can pool in a baby’s mouth and cause tooth decay and plaque.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that kids see a dentist by age 1, when six to eight teeth are in place, to spot any potential problems and advise parents about preventive care.

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Well, maybe not all the time but I must admit I was a bit envious of Lilah’s first pediatric dentist visit. When I was a kid I was lucky to get a Highlights or Ranger Rick magazine in the waiting room. When we walked into her new dentist office there were trains and toys galore along with all the kid’s magazines. I checked Lilah in for her appointment with the super chipper staff, and we were shortly ushered to their quiet consultation room. They walked me through the dental appointment process and procedures and were patient when Lilah was too shy to answer any questions.

All new patients get a keepsake of their visit.

I was amazed when they brought us in to the patient room. It was heaven. They had the patients’ tables with TV screens above (and headsets) for the kids to watch cartoons on, there were video games in the corner (real arcade types) for the kids who were waiting for their siblings or had just finished up their own appointment, and at least 4-5 staff members were talking to the kids, cleaning teeth and taking photos of each patient with the dentist. After giving Lilah a sticker of her choice (Dora and Boots), the dentist and his assistant both walked Lilah and I through the steps of how to brush properly, which teeth needed to be flossed (only the ones that were close together where plaque can collect), and choosing proper nutrition and drink options for the best possible dental health. I was incredibly proud of my girl when she fully cooperated and even smiled for her photo. Just like when I was a kid, Lilah was given the opportunity to take a small toy from a basket as a prize (though she declined).

After all was said and done, she convinced me to stay for an additional 15 minutes to play with the trains. She did not want to leave and exclaimed that she had “so much fun.” I’m thrilled that her first experience at the dentist was a positive one. Shortly after arriving home, Lilah pulled out her goody bag and showed me her stash of 4 toothbrushes, a flossing tool, a SpongeBob sticker and some other random items. That evening she couldn’t wait to show me how well she could brush her teeth. Yay!!!

Less than a week after her visit Lilah received a colorful handwritten postcard (with stars and hearts) thanking her for being an amazing patient. I couldn’t be happier. I would suggest that anyone considering whether to take their kids to their dentist or a pediatric dentist should go with the latter. I’m sure this experience will set her up for a more positive outlook towards her dental health.

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Lilah's assortment of toothbrushes

While cleaning our bathroom counter the other day, I was overwhelmed with the number of toothbrushes my daughter has collected. Okay, so maybe I don’t have to buy so many for her, but I’ll do whatever it takes to get her to brush her teeth! When I was pregnant, my husband and I would discuss parenting techniques. We agreed that we would not negotiate or bribe her to get her to do what was normally expected of a child, but reality has set in, and I’m finding it almost impossible not to. I now subscribe to Mary Poppins’ philosophy, if buying a few extra toothbrushes and some fun toothpaste can “move the job along” than so be it. I recently learned that it’s recommended that children go for a dental check up before their first birthday. (No way! I ‘m way behind on this!)  Here are some other tidbits I learned.

What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?
Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. They receive two to three additional years of training beyond dental school, and are trained in child psychology, behavior control, growth and development and the latest techniques in introducing and providing dental care to children. Pediatric dentists limit their practice to primary and specialty oral care for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs. 

Recommended Care by Age:
*This is a simplified version and IS NOT a complete list. 

6-12 months 

  • Complete exam
  • Provide oral hygiene counseling for parents
  • Clean stains or deposits
  • Assess the child’s systemic/topical fluoride status and provide counseling regarding fluoride
  • Assess feeding practices and provide dietary counseling in regards to oral health
  • Provide counseling for nonnutritive oral habits (pacifiers, thumb sucking)
  • Complete Caries risk assessment
  • Determine child’s interval for periodic evaluation

12-24 months 

  • Repeat 6-12 month procedures every 6 months or as indicated by child’s risk status
  • Provide topical fluoride treatments every 6 months or as indicated by patient’s needs

2-6 years 

  • Repeat 12-24 month procedure every 6 months or as needed based on child’s risk status
  • Scale and clean teeth every 6 months or based on child’s risk
  • Provide pit and fissure sealants for caries-susceptible primary molars and permanent molars, premolars, and anterior teeth
  • Assess and provide treatment for oral health as needed

I did it! I just scheduled her appointment. If it’s time for your child to see a pediatric dentist and you need help finding one in your area, here is the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s national dentist locator


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