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How Perinatal Checkups Can Protect Your Infant’s Oral Health

When you discover that you’re pregnant, the first reaction is excitement. While you’re pregnant, it’s the perfect opportunity to start thinking about your child’s overall and oral health. The “perinatal” period starts during weeks twenty and twenty-eight and extends for a month after the child is born. When you’re pregnant, you’re thinking about a million other things, and a visit to the dentist is the last thing on your mind.

There is a defined connection between gum disease in the mother and premature babies, babies born with low birth weight, preeclampsia, and gestational diabetes. Therefore, mothers should maintain superior oral hygiene throughout their pregnancy. Doing so will ensure the oral health of your baby.

Why You Should Have Regular Perinatal Dental Checkups

Cariogenic bacteria in mothers is connected with multiple adverse effects in babies and children. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests that expecting mothers continue to get regular dental checkups to prevent these adverse effects. These checkups can also intervene and treat any issues in the mother before they become an issue for infants.

  • Brush – For children under two, use a soft-bristled brush and a minute amount of ADA-approved non-fluoridated toothpaste. Gently brush your child’s teeth twice daily.
  • Floss – The moment two adjacent teeth grow in your child’s mouth, cavities can form. Your pediatric dentist can show you how to floss your child’s teeth to prevent cavities.
  • Pacifier use –Pacifiers are a lovely way to soothe your child when they’re upset. Ask your dentist what pacifiers are orthodontically correct to ensure the best pacifier for your child. Avoid coating the pacifier in honey or sweetened liquids, as these can cause cavities.
  • Use drinking glasses – Bottles and sippy cups allow small amounts of liquid to enter the mouth. Sugary liquids such as milk, soda, juice, formula, breast milk, or sweetened water can contribute to cavities. When using sippy cups, only offer your child water and stop using them after a year.
  • Visit the pediatric dentist – After your child’s first birthday, start seeing a pediatric dentist. This “well baby” appointment will give the dentist a chance to examine your baby. They’ll be able to ensure that there aren’t any issues with their teeth or jaw development.
  • Wipe gums – As soon as your baby’s first tooth emerges, they’re at risk for cavities. If your baby doesn’t have any teeth yet, wiping the gums with a damp cloth after feeding can reduce the number of oral bacteria.

Your Relationship with Your Pediatric Dentist is Vital

Even if you’ve only just discovered you’re pregnant, it’s vital to start looking for a pediatric dentist. While you’re pregnant, ensuring your oral health is just as essential. Make sure your dentist is aware of the pregnancy and talk to them about how to ensure your child’s oral health. Once your baby is born, establishing a relationship with your child’s dentist is essential. Your child will be seeing this dentist for years, and if you’re prepared to address concerns at an early age, your child will thank you. Oral health, for your child, is just as vital as overall health.

Protecting our oral health is essential to caring for our overall health. As a result, we must start taking steps to protect our smile from our earliest days. During our developmental years, it’s essential that we pick up good oral hygiene habits. These habits will equip us to preserve the beauty of our smile and ensure that it lasts us late into our lives. One thing that parents can do to help growing children develop these habits is to ensure they’re receiving care under a pediatric dental specialist. More than just a family dentist, these professionals focus on developing good oral habits and the concerns that young patients face.

What Pediatric Dentists Provide To Your Child’s Health

Every dentist receives the training necessary to provide primary dental care to patients of all ages. General dentists focus on providing basic services such as preventative care, restorations, and other common concerns. Family dentists do the same, but their focus is on the whole family and whole life care. Pediatric dentists stand apart by having a specific focus on the complex concerns that patients can face during their developmental years. They know how to identify developing problems that will grow into more serious ones that are more costly and uncomfortable to fix later in life.

The benefits of receiving care from a pediatric dentist are many. The most prominent include:

  • More Positive Visits – Seeing a dentist can be a challenging experience for anyone. Children often find the experience more challenging than adults. Thankfully, part of a pediatric dentist’s training is to ensure that these visits are comfortable and positive. Doing so helps set good precedents for the child’s relationship with dental care as they become adults.
  • Specialized Training – The training that a pediatric dentist undergoes is significant. There are many oral health concerns that can develop during our children’s earliest years. However, these concerns may remain hidden from the untrained eye until they grow into adulthood. Pediatric dentists can catch these early and take steps to address them. Their training also provides them with the skills necessary to handle children struggling with fear or anxiety about their visit to the dentist.

Pediatric dentists focus on providing care for those between the ages of birth and 18 years of age. While some pediatric dentists may continue to accept established patients after this age, it isn’t common to do so. Instead, they begin undergoing a transition program at the age of 14. Over the following four years, the child is educated on their oral health and how to take responsibility for their oral health care as they move into adulthood.

Speak With Your Pediatric Specialist To Learn More

If you’re considering taking your child to a pediatric dental specialist, reach out to their offices today. You can ask them important questions about their clinic and schedule a visit for you and your child. During this visit, you’ll meet the staff and get a feel for the facility, its mission statement, and how it will influence your experiences. Most importantly, it will give your child a chance to meet those who may become responsible for their oral health care for years to come. The relationships they build will inform their dental healthcare choices for a lifetime!

While hypnosis sounds like something from a magician show or a psychiatrist’s office, it’s surprisingly starting to appear in dental offices, specifically for children. Some dentists have begun working with hypnosis techniques to help ease children’s anxieties before checkups and treatments. But is there any validity to its use? Where did hypnosis come from? Should it be used? We’re here to briefly look into the effects of hypnosis and see if it’s worth a glance. 

How Does Hypnosis Work? Its History and Use In Dental Practices

Hypnosis, also called hypnotherapy, has been around since the 1800s and is the practice of putting a person in a half-asleep state. These trances give the person a certain amount of awareness that allows them to remain conscious but not fully aware of their surroundings. Through these trances, the person performing the hypnosis will create suggestions for the person to follow or comply with and helps the person maintain a calm, lucid state. 

Although the validity of hypnosis is questionable at best, some dentists have begun using hypnosis to ease dental anxiety in patients. It’s used to help patients become more cooperative during their procedures and ongoing sessions. For children with dental phobias, their nature makes them more likely to believe in the effects of hypnosis and therefore receive dental care with better results. 

An important note to remember about hypnosis is that it isn’t a replacement for traditional care methods, including anesthetics, analgesics, and other pediatric procedures. While hypnosis may provide children with calming techniques, it does not replace standard pediatric care that’s needed for every child. It can be a valuable tool as long as it’s understood that hypnotic suggestions don’t work for every child and don’t always resolve issues with dental anxiety. 

Ways You Help Your Child With Dental Anxiety During Their Appointment

You know your child best and therefore know what scares them and why. By working with your pediatric dentist, they can help you and your child finds ways of managing their source of dental anxiety through various techniques, including:

  • Distractions: Bring along items that will distract them during their dental appointments, such as phones and tablets. If they like music, bring their headphones so they can listen to their favorite music. 
  • Comfort Items: Comfort items such as stuffed toys, blankets, and fidget spinners can sometimes work best to relieve anxiety. 
  • Relaxation Techniques: Relaxation techniques and deep breathing exercises can help them further relax during appointments.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Offering forms of positive reinforcement with rewards can help them feel assured and comfortable during and after their appointments. 
  • Being Present For Them: By being present and being with them the whole time, you are their best source for easing their fears. 
  • Fun and Games: Engage with them by playing games as a form of distraction. 
  • Calm Reassurance: Speaking to them in a calm voice can help them through their appointments and give them peace of mind. 

If you have a child who already suffers from pediatric dentist anxiety, help them be more comfortable with the idea of the dentist by speaking with your pediatric dentist today. 

People have always been concerned about the way they look, especially when it comes to their teeth. We usually pay special attention to our teeth when smiling. We may observe a misaligned tooth or that our gums are more noticeable than our teeth and desire to change it. This desire is further amplified by the perfect appearances of others on social media platforms. The insecurities this has caused it has led to the development of a new specialty called emotional dentistry. 

Introducing Emotional Dentistry Into Dental Care

While patients typically won’t use the term emotional dentistry, they know it when they receive it. Emotional dentistry involves your dentist’s awareness of how our smiles affect our self-esteem. They understand our aesthetic concerns and consider them when considering how to proceed with treatment. An unhealthy relationship with our smiles can have multiple influences on our lives, including:

  • Our Self-Esteem: Smiles are one of the founding actions of our social interactions. Hiding our smiles may make people assume that we’re unhappy or depressed. Smiling is one of the essential factors in being social, as it permits people to see that we’re having fun, bright, and enjoying their company. Having a healthy smile that we can be happy with can help with our self-worth and our ability to be social.
  • Our Mental Health: Smiling can impact our mental health by producing serotonin. We create serotonin when we smile, even when that smile is false or involuntary. When seeing people smiling, those who witness it are inclined to respond with a smile and experience a boost in serotonin whether they do or don’t. Because of this, it has been shown that smiling can increase our moods. Regular avoidance of smiling can signify anxiety, depression, etc.

Digital Smile Design is a process used when it comes to emotional dentistry. This process aims to provide patients with hope. DSD shows the possible outcomes of dental procedures before the procedure. They can show how restoring our teeth can make our smiles look healthier or the potential effect of dental whitening on our smiles.

DSD allows dentists and patients to discuss their concerns and show how specific treatments to aid in resolving them. Trouble communicating these concepts has been a staggering core point in treatment planning. DSD has assisted in bridging the gap between understanding the patient’s needs and the steps the dentist can take to ensure those needs are met.

Setting Goals For Creating Beautiful Smiles

Many elements go into what makes a smile stand out. One of the most crucial is confidence in our smiles. This confidence can be a struggle to achieve if we have noticeable flaws in our smiles that we’re concerned about. We’re ingrained to recognize symmetry as an essential part of what makes something attractive. This recognition means gaps, misalignments, discoloration, and missing teeth all impact the perceived attractiveness of our smiles. Contact your dentist today so they can provide a detailed treatment plan to address your concerns.

Dental appointments can be an unnerving experience for any child, especially if it’s their first-ever appointment or they’re aware they have an upcoming procedure. Dentists who plan to work with children must have the knowledge and experience to do so effectively. While many dentists learn about pediatric care in their education, having first-hand experience is different. Thankfully, a robotics company out of Japan, Tmsuk, aims to change the way we experience pediatric dental care.

Tmsuk, The Robotics Company Aiding Pediatric Dental Education

Tmsuk has developed Pedia_Roid, a robot designed to aid pediatric dental students in gaining the experience they need before entering the field. The robot assists in preparing them by behaving like a child in a dental chair. Pedia_Roid will close its mouth randomly, fidget, and flinch at inopportune moments. While nobody would mistake the robot for an actual child, the robot’s behavior simulates how a child would respond to their care. 

Future pediatric dentists won’t be the only ones benefiting from this technology, as those who intend to work in the field as dental assistants or hygienists will also benefit. These benefits are essential, as the child will sometimes require gentle restraint by the assistants while the dentist operates. This robot imitates real-life instances where complex patients need additional support to remain still during the surgery.

Pedia_Roid is also designed to assist the dentist in practicing his skills in oral surgery. During simple procedures, it’s not uncommon for younger patients to experience shock, dips in blood pressure, and bouts of unconsciousness. In rarer cases, they might experience critical health complications during the procedure. Effectively responding to any of these instances is vital to ensuring that the care delivered is safe and effective.

One crucial focus of the development of this robot was affordability. While it benefits potential pediatric dentists, it won’t help if the price is beyond the reach of educational facilities. Tmsuk has been dedicated to providing educational locations with the ability to improve the outcomes of future patient care.

The Technology Behind The Pediatric Dental Robot

Tmsuk’s robot is the culmination of decades of robotics research and dental care advancements. Within these robots are air cylinders designed to utilize a minimum amount of pneumatic pressure while providing realistic responses when necessary. In this regard, Tmsuk utilized piezo-electric crystals to trigger a response within the robot for actions and responses. Its programming enables it to behave as childlike as possible within the necessary parameters, making it a valuable resource for future pediatric dentists. 

The future of dentistry is vague in the field of robotics, but one day dentists everywhere will perform dental treatments remotely using robots. Robotic-assisted surgeries aren’t unheard of in other medical fields, and it’s only the beginning. As the price and availability of medical-grade robots become more publicly accessible, we may start seeing them within smaller clinics like the ones near you!

Fashion comes in all forms and impacts all ages. While much of what is considered fashionable may change from year to year, healthy teeth are always in style. Americans, in particular, have valued a beautiful smile as an indicator of health and a point of beauty. Maintaining healthy teeth requires starting early in life and understanding why it starts with the primary teeth. Your primary, or baby, teeth are just temporary visitors that will ideally fall out on their own naturally. However, they’re doing important work for your smile during their stay. They ensure that your adult teeth come in straight and that you develop healthily. This is why it can be essential for ongoing oral health that your child receive orthodontic or restorative care.

Why Restorative and Orthodontic Care Is Essential For Lasting Smiles

To understand the importance of primary teeth on your child’s smile, we’ll start with how teeth support each other. Within our mouths, each tooth is part of an integrated system. Our teeth get support from their neighbors to ensure they remain straight. Further, the primary teeth help the jaw grow so that there is sufficient support and space for the adult teeth to grow correctly. When your child experiences an injury to their teeth or has primary teeth that are out of alignment, it’s essential to act fast. When they require both orthodontic and restorative care, it’s essential to know which, to begin with.

  • Realignment vs. Restoration – Restoration restores the strength and integrity of your child’s teeth. At the same time, orthodontics primarily addresses poor bite and dental misalignment. Restorative care will ensure that your child’s teeth are healthy and robust when orthodontic care moves them into their proper position.
  • Cost vs. Results – Orthodontic care is often more expensive than restorative care. While this drives some to act quickly and get their restorative care done first, some hesitate in the intent of saving for their child’s orthodontic treatment. This can be a problem as restoration care will protect the health of the teeth and ensure they are capable of withstanding orthodontic care. If only one is possible, it’s usually best to go with restorative care first.
  • Isolated vs. Combined Treatment – Some children may have advanced oral health concerns that require multiple specialists to address. In this case, it’s best to consult with all the medical professionals involved to determine the treatment order.

It’s always crucial that you corroborate with others well and focus on keeping communication happening between the specialists involved in our child’s care. Doing so will ensure that the best steps possible are being taken for your child. 

Work With Your Dental Care Provider For the Next Steps

Your dental care provider is going to be able to provide you with significant guidance for managing your child’s oral health. They’ll identify problems, suggest solutions, and develop a treatment plan to ensure everything is handled well. If you’re concerned about how best to manage your child’s oral health, contact their pediatric specialist today!

Braces can be an excellent choice for your child, especially if they face severe misalignment that impacts their ability to speak, eat, or engage with the world properly. Luckily, your pediatric dentists and family dentists are here to help inform you on why you should consider getting your child braces, what braces are like, and what it means for your child to have braces as a part of their life.

How Do Braces Improve Your Child’s Oral Health?

Investing in your child’s oral health means going beyond your child’s smile and into the future. Braces are an incredibly effective way of managing uncontrollable bites. Braces have become one of the most recommended treatments among pediatric and orthodontic dentists for children due to their numerous benefits. If your child has been diagnosed with orthodontic issues, here are our selective reasons why we recommend getting your child braces:

  • Braces Protect Their Teeth: Crooked teeth are often more susceptible to accidents and injuries. If they protrude a certain way, your child won’t be able to close their lips properly and cover their teeth, which means that accidents can occur in sports or other activities. Straighter teeth are less prone to these problems and can help protect your child from dental injuries.
  • Braces Correct Speech Problems: Depending on the type of protrusion, your child may face issues pronouncing certain words and can even develop a lisp. These speech problems can affect your child in the long run with self-esteem issues. Braces can help prevent the possibility of lisps occurring and help correct their speech problems.
  • Braces Prevent Jawbone Erosion: Any gaps between your child’s teeth will affect your child’s jawbone and gums in time, causing the bones to erode due to bacteria exposure and lead to tooth loss. Giving your child braces can help them avoid this issue and help prevent them from getting TMJ disorder.
  • Braces Help Avoid Gum Disease: Gum disease is often a leading problem for those with misaligned teeth, as the misalignments can create areas of plaque that form easily along the gumline. This leads to chronic, long-term inflammation around the gums and, eventually, pain. Braces can be used to prevent this issue from ever occurring and can protect their teeth from the effects of bright, swollen gums.
  • Braces Save Money in The Long Run: These gaps and areas of misalignment can lead to more costs for your child’s teeth in the future. You’re helping save their teeth from decay and saving money in your pocket by getting them braces.

Be Proactive With Your Child’s Oral Health Today

When it comes to pediatric dental care, you need to take them to regular visits for dental checkups so our team can see if there are any problems with their teeth and jawline. Starting treatment will help ensure that your child has a healthy smile for life, so schedule an appointment with your local pediatric dentist as soon as possible for treatment. Contact your pediatric dentist early to give your child a smile they can be confident to show. 

In recent years, the rise of mental health awareness has brought attention to the rising cases of mental health disorders among adolescents. Children with emotional disorders often struggle with dental treatment, especially if they face feelings of fear or being out of control in a clinical environment. However, a new subsect of dentistry is emerging to help dentists address these problems head-on and help children get the care they need, and that’s emotional dentistry. 

Challenges of Emotional Disorders and Emotional Dentistry

Children with emotional disorders face significant challenges, as children with these disorders tend to have poor oral health. Due to their conditions, it can be more difficult for children to get the treatment they need. Emotional disorders such as anxiety, ADHD, PTSD, and OCD can create challenging and difficult behaviors that impede their ability to receive dental treatment. 

The links between mental health and dental health are clear – when one area of our health falters, other areas will likely follow. But how can dentists work to help negate these problems and bring more care to their patients? For pediatric dentists, some have begun working with emotional dentistry, also known as empathy dentistry, to address their concerns and fears with emotional support. 

Emotional dentistry is twofold. It addresses cosmetic concerns related to a person’s smile and addresses the patient’s overall well-being in one neat package. It works with effective communication and empathy skills to achieve proper dental care. For children, this means that during times when they are afraid, they can express their fears, and their pediatric dentist can work with them to support and uplift them by understanding their emotions.

By working with their patients and understanding their mental health better, dentists can effectively provide the following: 

  • Listening Skills: Giving children the chance to engage in two-way conversations can allow them to express their concerns more clearly. It can be used to help them through their anxieties and allows your pediatric dentist to provide positive acknowledgment for their words. 
  • Empathetic Thinking: In taking the time to listen, dentists can work to address issues upfront and create a more positive setting for the patient, which includes ways to avoid triggering any negative emotions and experiences and helping children respond differently to the dental setting. 
  • Empathetic Feeling: Lastly, feeling empathy allows the dentist to express greater understanding and relate to their patients, including children. If the child is afraid of the dentist due to the idea of the drill and tools, then it’s a perfectly understandable fear. 

Face Emotional Challenges With Your Pediatric Dentist 

Through these skills, emotional dentistry provides pediatric and family dentists with a gateway for making meaningful progress with their patients. Signs of emotional disorders, special needs, and medically compromised individuals need dental care like everyone else, and the best way for children to get the care they deserve most is through a pediatric dentist. Through your pediatric dentist, you can make sure that your child gets the best care possible with the help of a compassionate and professional team. 

For many pediatric dentists, helping children grow up with good dental care is one of the biggest accomplishments. Through the years of reinforcing good hygiene habits, many dentists watch their patients grow into adults and often share those experiences with their parents. However, all children eventually grow up, and part of being a pediatric dentist means helping parents and their adolescent children transition into adult dental care. For us, it is just as important for them to learn about what their dental health care will look like from now on, and through us, we can ease this transition into adulthood in many ways.

How We Help Prepare Adolescents For Adult Care

Transitioning into adult care is a pivotal moment for them. However, one of the problems in dental care is the lack of communication and preparation they have when they transition. Only about half of patients coming into this stage were properly communicated about their new expectations and changes to their dental care. This change can be startling for adolescents, especially when they eventually learn that their parent’s dental insurance won’t cover them, will have to schedule appointments on their own, and instill the habits they’ve learned over the years into their adult life.

However, pediatric dentists focusing on these transition stages will often have plans and measures in place to work with their patients and their parents about their treatments. For parents, this means considering many questions about what this transition entails. Parents wishing to take advantage of the time they have can work with their pediatric dentist, asking questions about topics such as:

  • Transition Policies: Almost all clinics will have their transition policies, and many of them will differ depending on the practice. Some policies will state that children can stay within their care until their parent’s insurance no longer covers them. Others will require an immediate transition until they reach a certain age. By inquiring about their policy, parents can get the necessary information to prepare their children for adulthood.
  • Patient Monitoring: Many pediatric practices will have their patient’s files on hand and can alert parents about their policies. This means that parents and their adolescents can learn about their medical information and work with their pediatric dentist to transition their records to their new dentist.
  • Readiness Assessments: Lastly, readiness assessments are used to help patients transition from pediatric care into adult care. As the main way to work with their patients, patients as young as fourteen will work with their dentists to learn the basics of dental care to encourage growth and independence and take better control over their dental care by the time they reach adulthood.

Communicate With Your Pediatric Dentist To Learn More

All of these topics are essential for both parents and their children, especially for children reaching the point of adolescence. Understanding their oral health, speaking with your dentist about their treatments, and helping patients achieve independence and autonomy are some of the best ways to accomplish these goals. Speaking with your dentist can help prepare your child for adult treatment and give them the advantage they need for good oral health.

Mail-in braces have been an ongoing trend, but it’s also become one of the most harmful trends out there for children and teenagers looking to straighten their smiles. For those looking into online options for dental care, mail-in braces may seem like the perfect solution at first, but they come with many underlying risks that can be permanent and harmful to your child’s oral health. These types of braces can be especially dangerous for children with misaligned teeth, and we’re here to explain why they should be avoided at all costs.

Mail-In Orthodontics: Is It Too Good To Be True?

When pediatric dentists and orthodontists work to align your child’s smile, they work with research-backed techniques and safety measures that protect your child’s teeth from any potential damage during the alignment process. During alignment, your child’s teeth will move gradually due to the shift and pressure placed along the bones and tissues within their mouths. Because of how intricate this system is, it’s often considered easier for children to straighten their teeth due to the changes their bodies go through as they get older.

However, problems come in when treatments such as mail-in braces. Mail-in braces attempt to offer unique advantages over other orthodontic treatments, such as better financial costs, faster straightening capabilities, and ease of use. But these devices, in reality, cause more problems. This is because they don’t provide the safety measures necessary for proper tooth movement, and because of this present a higher risk to your child’s teeth. These problems include:

  • No Oversight: When you work closely with your dentist, they can ensure that your child’s oral health is in good hands. They can offer you multiple treatment options for your child that online retailers can’t provide, and when providing these procedures can offer safety and assurance that the procedures are performed correctly.
  • High Risk of Damage: Mail-in orthodontics tend to pose a higher risk of damage to the teeth, gums, and jawline due to this lack of oversight. When placed, they can move the teeth too quickly or place too much pressure along the jawline, increasing the risk of traumatic tooth damage and jaw pain.
  • More Costs Overtime: Because of this lack of oversight and high risk of damage, the costs of repairing that damage to your child’s oral health can be more costly than the initial treatment. Despite their advertised low costs and fast solutions, these devices pose more costs because they can be used incorrectly by patients.

Visit Your Pediatric Dentist First For Treatment Options

Because of these risks, it’s important for parents seeking out solutions to visit their dentists first before moving forward with any treatments. By visiting your pediatric dentist or orthodontist, they can provide you with safe, effective solutions for tooth alignment and protect your child’s teeth from traumatic injury, decay, and other oral diseases. When you work with your dentist, they can help monitor your child’s progress in safe steps and provide your children with the tools they need to continue their oral care into adulthood.