About Fluoride for Kids

Whether your little one is well on their way through grade school, or they’re just starting their weaning journey, we’ve got the perfect guide for you when it comes to fluoride use. Fluoride is a critical component in oral health and preventing cavities in children and adults alike. Here’s what to know about it and why it’s an extremely important part of their oral care at Sprout Kids Dentistry.

Why Do Children Need Fluoride?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral in our bodies (and the environment). It’s essential for dental health because it helps your child’s teeth form and reverses the earliest stage of tooth decay – it also controls the amount of bacteria in our mouths. It plays a critical role in your child’s oral health and development, meaning it can also set them up for good oral health later in life.

Is Fluoridated Water Safe?

In 1945, a landmark study found that water fluoridation significantly reduced the rate of tooth decay in children. Since this study, more than 90% of local municipalities have fluoridated their water to protect their residents against tooth decay. If you have questions about the safety of fluoridated water and its impact on your child’s health, you should make sure to talk with your pediatric dentist about your concerns.

When to Start Using Fluoride Toothpaste?

Pediatric dentists recommend that parents start brushing their child’s teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste starting at age 1 – or once their first tooth erupts.

What If Our Water Is Not Fluoridated? What Can We Do?

If your community doesn’t fluoridate its water, you can always find a toothpaste that contains fluoride. It’s a great way to ensure your child is getting the protection they need against tooth decay while also instilling good brushing habits when they’re young.

Fluoride Varnish

Having a fluoride varnish placed by your pediatric dentist can be an easy, convenient way to help your child get the benefits of fluoride. Not only does it help prevent tooth decay, but it can also smooth out rough patches of enamel that sometimes show up at the beginning of teething. Your pediatric dentist can apply this treatment during a quick, in-office appointment.


Make sure you’re providing your children with adequate fluoride levels and partnering with an experienced pediatric dentist. To help your child get the most out of their oral health, contact our Quincy office by calling or filling out our online contact form.

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The Difference Between Children’s Teeth Cleaning and Adult Teeth Cleaning

We all know how important it is to care for our children’s teeth. This includes proper brushing and flossing techniques to help them establish good oral hygiene habits as they grow. However, not all parents realize just how important regular dental cleanings are in childhood. Routine dental check-ups for children may be even more important than they are for grown-ups because they help establish the foundation of good dental hygiene practices that will see young people through their entire lives.

Children should be seen by a pediatric dentist twice a year for regular cleaning and to ensure their teeth are growing properly. Pediatric dentists undergo several years of specialized, rigorous training beyond traditional dental education. While dental check-ups are very similar for adults and children, there are some differences. Here are just a few to know before you bring your child in for their appointment.

Learning How to Care for Your Child’s Teeth

A big part of a regular pediatric dental appointment is making sure kids and parents know how to take care of their teeth. Your child’s dentist will look out for signs that your child is brushing and flossing correctly. If their technique is still lacking, they’ll take the time to teach your child how to brush their teeth thoroughly and floss well. Sometimes, very young children have enough space between their baby teeth that they don’t yet need to floss. However, it’s still very important to be checked by a pediatric dentist throughout development.

Pediatric Teeth Cleaning

Like an adult dental appointment, the main part of a regular pediatric dental appointment is the cleaning stage. Your child’s dental technician will clean their teeth with special toothpaste, floss if necessary, and (depending on the level of build-up present) may use a sonic device to remove plaque and tartar.

Growing Assessment

One vital part of a children’s dental check-up is ensuring that their teeth are coming in correctly. This may require x-rays for teeth that have not erupted yet. When problems in the growth patterns are caught early, children can get early orthodontic care that may help prevent bigger issues down the road.

Schedule an Appointment

Here at Sprout Kids Dentistry, Dr. Michelle Anderson and her team offer quality dental care exclusively for children. Along the way, they strive to educate kids and their parents on good dental hygiene. Start your child out on the path to great dental health for a lifetime of strong, healthy teeth. If you’re looking for excellent pediatric dentistry in Boston, give us a call or use our convenient online form to schedule an appointment with Sprout Kids Dentistry today!

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Dental Sedation and Autism

It is important for children of all ages to maintain good oral hygiene. Neglecting to do this can easily lead to dental problems. Children with autism aren’t exempt from such risks so it’s important to stay on top of their oral care routine and dental visits.

A dental visit can be quite challenging for a parent with an autistic child especially if the child is non-verbal. Taking them through a dental procedure even one as straightforward as a cleaning appointment can be hard for everyone involved– sounds, smells, tastes, textures, and feel can be overwhelming for a child on the spectrum. In some cases, your dentist may suggest sedation for your child in order to complete the tasks needed to properly care for their teeth.

Dental Sedation

There are 4 different types of sedation methods used in pediatric dentistry—Oral sedation, Nitrous oxide, Oral conscious sedation, and Deep sedation. Each one is used for different reasons depending on the level of a child’s anxiety, emotion, or aggressive tendencies, along with the complexity of the dental work being done.

Oral Sedation

Involves the use of a commonly prescribed medicine taken by mouth PRIOR to dental treatment.

Nitrous Oxide

Is a clear odorless gas inhaled through a mask that sits on top of the nose during treatment to lessen stress and improve comfort.

Oral Conscious Sedation

Involves the use of a commonly prescribed medicine taken by mouth AND combined with Nitrous oxide (laughing gas).

Intravenous Sedation or Deep Sedation

This is the deepest form of sedation. Many pediatric dentists may suggest “Sleep dentistry” as form of treatment for children requiring full mouth rehabilitation under general anesthesia. A sedative is administered directly into the bloodstream by an anesthesiologist.

Schedule an Appointment

If you are a parent with an autistic child living in the Boston area let Sprout Kids Dentistry be your go to place for pediatric dental care.

At Sprout Kids Dentistry, we have a well-trained team that welcomes children with special healthcare needs. They will treat your child with warmth and compassion, making them as comfortable as possible, while giving you a sense of safety and security.

Call today to book an appointment with us 617-934-6339 or fill out an appointment request form online. Be sure to let us know if there are any special concessions we can do to make your child’s visit with us more comfortable.

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Teledentistry 101: Everything You Need to Know About Remote Dentistry

In the fast-paced world we live in, it can be difficult to make time for your child’s regular dental checkups to maintain their oral health. For people who live in remote areas, it can be even more difficult to get regular checkups. One great option for making it easier for your children to get the dental care they need is through online appointments. Telehealth allows dentists to meet with their patients remotely through the internet instead of meeting face-to-face. Here’s what to know about it and how it can help.

What exactly is Teledentistry?

Teledentistry allows dentists to provide services outside of a practice setting. While it doesn’t provide the full experience or range of services, it can be helpful in a variety of ways.

Telehealth technology allows healthcare practitioners to provide dental information and dental services online using things like video or phone conferencing. Teledentistry can be especially beneficial for patients located in rural areas or patients who may have little to no access to a dentist locally. It can also be a great option if you and your child prefer to keep the same dentist but are located out-of-area.

The Benefits of Teledentistry

There are many benefits to using Teledentistry. These include:

  • Emergency dental care access: If your child is experiencing a dental emergency, you’re able to connect quickly to your pediatric dentist. This way, they can assess your child’s dental issues, prescribe medication, and provide a treatment plan, all while reducing the discomfort and inconvenience of having to travel to a dental office with your child.
  • No long wait time or travel issues: If traveling to a dental office or sitting in waiting rooms with your child is problematic, then Teledentistry is a great option. You’ll be able to connect remotely to your dentist from any place that is convenient for you and your child, reducing the hassle of traveling or waiting in a public setting.
  • Affordability: You can have access to more convenient dental care while paying a more affordable cost and therefore, saving money. This can include travel costs if you live far away from your preferred dentist and find yourself traveling a lot for appointments that can be completed online.
  • Accessibility: Teledentistry for you and your family is more efficient and it provides high-quality access to dental providers and services without the hassle of going to your dentist’s office.

Schedule an Appointment

Teledentistry is an excellent option for getting convenient, expert care for you and your children. To schedule an appointment or learn more about your options, we invite you to contact our Quincy office by calling or filling out our online form.

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Family Dentist vs. Pediatric Dentist: Which One Is Best for Your Child?

Social distancing at home during coronavirus doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice high quality care for you or your child. Many families are finding a lot of the dental services they used to travel to Sprout Kids Dentistry for are now available online from the comfort of your home using our new Telehealth service. This allows parents to provide their child with a soft introduction to their new dentist. Parents can feel relaxed while being educated on the importance of pediatric oral care. They can receive nutritional counseling for their little one, strategies to improve toothbrushing techniques, or simply fact find. Telehealth visits are perfect for new dental symptoms that may need treatment. Remote access to a dentist is also great for baby dental visit during COVID-19. It’s as simple as using a smart phone or a computer screen to tap into our pediatric dental expertise.

When you choose a dentist for your kids, you want to choose one who you can trust. A parent’s relief is in knowing that their child is comfortable with his or her doctor. Handling children in pain is a difficult task. Therefore, making sure that your child is in the hands of the right dentist is very important.

Two dentists can tend to your child’s dental care: a family dentist and a pediatric dentist. But which of the two dentists is the best choice? To make the best decision, you need to understand some of the differences.

Difference between family dentists and pediatric dentists.

A family dentist provides regular dental care services like a general dentist. The main difference between the two is that a family dentist provides dental care services to people of all ages. In contrast, general dentists commonly attend to adults. Some family dentists have special skills, but most of them provide general services like treating tooth decays, preventing the build-up of plaques, and maintaining healthy gums.

A pediatric dentist is someone who attends mainly to children. Pediatric dentists need to go through three more years of training after graduating from dental school. During the three years, the pediatric dentist learns how to handle dental care needs specific to children. They also learn how to handle kids with special needs.

Which is the best dentist for your kids?

The best dentist to attend to your kids’ dental care needs is a pediatric dentist. A pediatric dentist has more experience to deal with children compared to a family dentist. The additional training of pediatric dentists enables them to specialize in treating children with different needs. A child dentistry environment is also more fun for your kids. Pediatric dentists use small dental tools that will not frightened your little ones. They also have adequate knowledge of the preventive measures that will protect the teeth and gums of your kids from infections and any other dental problems.

Family dentists have few advantages that can make a parent consider choosing them as their kids’ dentist. You will generally feel more comfortable with the dentist if you have had a first-hand experience with them. Family dentists can tend to both you and your kids under the same roof. Despite the lack of experience with kids, family dentists are comfortable handling kids because their services are meant for all ages. Furthermore, their work experience gives them a range of multiple specialties that pediatric dentists might lack.

If the information above is insufficient in helping you reach a final decision about the best dentist for your kids, you may want to visit the offices of both a pediatric and family dentist. During the visit, you can ask any unanswered questions that will help you make a choice. At Sprout Kids Dentistry, a pediatric dentistry in Boston, our doctors can help you in making such a decision. You can schedule a consultation with Dr. Anderson that will help you clarify any information you have about the best dentist for your kids.

We’re always here to help. We want to give you peace of mind during these challenging times.

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Toothpaste: When to Start Using and How Much

We understand that parenting comes with a lot of uncertainties and concerns. Oral health is one important area, but it can feel overwhelming to worry about it on top of everything else. Is your child too young to use a toothbrush and toothpaste? Is there a right age to start teaching your child about oral health? Do you use the right amount of toothpaste yourself? Don’t worry! It’s normal to have a lot of questions. Here’s what to know about your child’s oral health and how to navigate it.

When should my child start using toothpaste?

This is a common question among parents with infants. We recommend starting oral hygiene practices as early as possible. For the first few months, your baby will be toothless and there’s no need to use toothpaste. However, you should clean your baby’s gums with a soft cloth and water to prevent the build-up of bacteria. At 24 months, your child should have all their milk teeth come in. You can introduce fluoride-infused toothpaste anywhere between when they have their first tooth and when they have all their teeth. But remember, the earlier the better.

How much toothpaste should my child use?

It’s not recommended to use fluoride toothpaste on children below the age of 6 months because they have no teeth. Fluoride works best on teeth enamel. You should only need a tiny amount for children. At 24 months, all your baby’s teeth should have come in.

Once this happens, you can use a rice grain amount of toothpaste. Pediatric dentists usually recommend less concentrated levels of fluoride in toothpaste suited for children. Shop for baby-friendly toothpaste brands. Toothpaste should be used together with a soft-bristled toothbrush suitable for tender baby teeth and gums.

How often should my child brush?

Like general dentistry, it’s a universal rule in kids’ dentistry to brush and floss teeth daily. Brushing with toothpaste, in particular, should be regularly done twice a day. Encourage your children to brush their teeth gently over a two minutes and spit the toothpaste out.

When should I increase the amount of toothpaste?

Kids grow rapidly and usually, the small pea-sized amount of toothpaste isn’t enough after a while. Once they turn three years old, consider increasing the measure of toothpaste to a pea-size amount. Your child’s pediatric dentist can help you make sure you’re getting the right amount. As your children age, they’ll begin to use the same type and amount of toothpaste you use on your teeth.

Schedule an Appointment

As a parent, it’s important to assist your child through these dental hygiene habits until they are old enough to manage it on their own. We recommend starting early for healthier and brighter teeth with minimal problems in the future. If you still have questions or are looking for the right pediatric dentist for your child, we can help. Schedule an appointment with our team by contacting our Quincy office. We invite you to call or fill out our online form.

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The Importance of Pediatric Dentistry for Special Needs Children

As a child grows, there is an important need for proper dental care. When it comes to special needs children, there are common problems that require even more attention. While some special needs kids find it very stressful to go to the dentist’s office, it’s important that you make this part of your yearly healthcare routine.

Oral Health Challenges for Children with Special Needs

Children with special needs often have sensitivity in various areas of their mouth. As your child grows, there are changes within the mouth that can cause problems with eating, speaking, etc. Having a trusted pediatric dentist who understands these challenges is very important. If your child has difficulty opening their mouth, holding their mouth open, or getting over their anxieties, there are ways to promote a good oral health routine. You still need to make sure that your child is avoiding bad habits that could lead to dental disease. A knowledgeable dentist can talk to you about a diet that reduces refined sugar as a way to prevent cavities.

Helping Special Needs Children Acclimate to the Dentist

There are both children and adults that have anxiety about going to the dentist. Even a regular checkup can bring on some unpleasant emotions. Working with a pediatric dentist that your child feels comfortable with can help establish the routine that your family needs. There are some ways that you can make a trip to the dentist more enjoyable for your special needs child. The first appointment can sometimes be used for nothing more than acclimating your child to the office. Getting them used to the location and what goes on is helpful. It’s nice when your child walks into an office like ours, where there are books, toys, and plenty of welcoming staff members. When you’re confident that your child is ready, making an appointment to have your child’s teeth looked at would be the next step.

Sedation Dentistry is an Option

There are special needs children that just can’t get over their fear of the dentist. There’s nothing wrong with this. There are adults that are the same way. Sleep dentistry is a very safe option for getting your child the dental care that they need. The sedation is done very safely in a hospital setting with coordinated help from your pediatrician and hospital staff. Children with high levels of anxiety or sensory issues will benefit greatly from this option. It’s easy to simply skip a visit that brings on anxiety, but there are many health conditions that can be spotted by a dental professional that specializes in kids dentistry. In many cases, a dentist can notice a health issue before a primary physician would be able to.

Schedule a consultation

If your special needs child is in need of a Pediatric Dentistry in Boston appointment, give Sprout Kids Dentistry a call 617-328-1700. We have a very helpful and welcoming staff that can make any dental appointment a breeze for your special needs child. We can’t wait to see you!

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How Do Sealants for Children Work?

How Do Sealants for Children Work?

While brushing and flossing are the most effective ways to prevent cavities, it can be particularly difficult for small children to clean their teeth thoroughly by reaching all the areas where bacteria can accumulate. For this reason, many dentists recommend sealants, which can reduce tooth decay in children. Sealants have also been in use since the 1960s, meaning they have a safe an effective track record. Here’s what to know about this option if you are considering this for your children’s dental health.

How Do Sealants Work?

A dental sealant is a coating made from a special type of BPA-free resin or similar material that sticks to the molars’ chewing surfaces. It essentially acts as a raincoat for the teeth and can protect the underlying enamel.

Bacteria and food particles form acids that create cavities or holes in teeth. Just as a raincoat keeps you from getting wet during a storm, the sealant keeps bacteria and acid from settling on the surface of your teeth. This means that bacteria can’t eat away at the enamel and cause decay over time.

Who Can Get Sealants?

While virtually anybody can benefit from sealants, however they are especially beneficial for children as they don’t develop the necessary coordination and habits to brush their teeth effectively until around six to nine years of age.

A child’s first molars typically grow in when they are around six years old, while their second molars emerge when they are about twelve. Applying sealants to these teeth as soon as they emerge can protect them from the start and thus prevent decay and the need for expensive fillings. Sealants can also prevent premature tooth loss, which in turn reduces the risk of bite problems.

How Are Sealants Applied?

Getting sealants is quick and painless. Your child’s dentist will start by thoroughly cleaning and drying the teeth. They will then apply an acidic gel that will make the surface of the teeth rougher so the sealant will stick to them more readily. After rinsing off the gel, your child’s dentist will dry the teeth and paint the sealant on them. Finally, your child’s dentist will shine a special blue light on your child’s teeth to make the sealant harden more quickly. The whole process takes under an hour, and the exact time will depend on the number of teeth being treated.

Can Sealants Be Placed Over Cavities?

No. A sealant is placed on a cavity-free tooth and used to lower the risk of that tooth developing a cavity.

How Long Do Sealants Last?

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, sealants can last for up to a decade. It’s still a good idea to take your child to their dentist regularly, though, so they can look for chips or worn spots in the sealant. If necessary, your child’s dentist can apply more sealant coating to repair the sealant.

Schedule an Appointment

Sealants are an excellent way to set your child up for a lifetime of dental health. To meet with our pediatric dentistry team, we invite you to contact Sprout Kids Dentistry by calling our Quincy office or filling out our online form.

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Sleep Dentistry for Your Kids

For many reasons, going to the dentist has always been an activity that kids fear. It can be due to loud noises, the tools in their mouth, or even just the new experience and unknown factors. Regardless of what the fear is, sedation dentistry is one way to make sure your kids get the dental care they need without the nerves and fear that can cause them to avoid the dentist in the future.

What Is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry uses special medication to cause patients to relax during their dental procedures. You may also hear sedation dentistry referred to casually as “sleep dentistry“. This can give many people the wrong assumption of how this process works. In fact, you’ll still be awake during dental procedures, but are simply very relaxed.

What Types of Sedation Are Used in Dentistry?

Dentists can offer an array of sedation techniques. Each works well for specific types of patients. Understanding what these types of sedation are can help you to get a better grasp of what this type of dentistry is like.

  • Oral Sedation – This type of sedation can range from minimal to moderate. In minimal cases, patients can take an oral elixir called Midazolam or Chloral Hydrate which induces a state of relaxation. On the moderate end, patients can be given a larger dosage, or the agents mentioned above can be combined with other medications such as hydroxyzine, meperidine, or nitrous oxide where they’re groggy during the procedure. However, the patient can be awakened with a gentle shake as they’re not fully unconscious during the procedure.
  • Inhaled Minimal Sedation – This type of sedation works by the patient breathing in nitrous oxide. This is what most people call “laughing gas“. The whole point of this gas is that it allows the body to go into a relaxed state for a short period of time.
  • IV Moderate Sedation -The hint is in its name; this type of sedation is given through an IV. This allows its effects to be almost instantaneous.
  • Deep Sedation / General Anesthesia – This type of sedation works by the patient being given medications that will make them unconscious during the procedure and is usually reserved for invasive surgeries.

Who Can Have Sedation?

Sedation is extremely helpful for those who have a real fear of the dentist. It also benefits individuals who have low pain thresholds, can’t sit still, have bad gag reflexes, or need a large amount of dental work performed. Sedation dentistry is highly recommended for children who have extreme fear when it comes to the dentist’s office.

How Safe Is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation is used as a normal aid in dental procedures throughout the country. Most dentists will administer nitrous oxide or pills to children as they’re the easiest form of sedation. Most dentists are authorized to administer this minimal sedation. Those patients who require moderate sedation will need to go to a specialized dental professional who has been certified by the Commission On Dental Accreditation Program (CODA) or The American Board of Anesthesiology. Dr. Anderson works jointly with, Dr. Patrick McCarty, a board certified anesthesiologist to provide Deep sedation/ General Anesthesia services in-office for some of her pediatric patients. If you’re concerned about sedation dentistry for your child, your dentist can recommend your best options.

Schedule a Consultation

Kids dentistry is a vital part of any healthy child’s life. While many dental professionals will take on patients of all ages, Sprout Kids Dentistry works exclusively with children to establish good dental habits and care. This makes our office for pediatric dentistry in Boston the perfect location for your child to learn to love going to the dentist. To get started, we invite you to schedule an appointment by calling or filling out our online form.

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All of your Pediatric Dentist FAQ’s Answered!

Starting a dental routine for your child at an early age is essential in creating life-long healthy habits. To help you get started, here are the answers to FAQs concerning children’s dental health and the role of pediatric dentists.

Why should we choose a pediatric dentist?

Dentists who specialize in kids dentistry only treat children and are equipped to treat their specific needs. Children require different treatment than adults.

At what age should my child have their first dental checkup?

When your child gets their first tooth, or by the time they turn one year old, they should be seen by a dentist. The dentist can teach you how to care for their teeth right from the start.

How frequently should we visit the dentist?

Most dentists suggest coming in every six months. This allows them to check for cavities and overall dental health.

How can we prevent tooth decay?

Regular dental check-ups, brushing and flossing, and healthy diet choices can help prevent tooth decay. Minimize the intake of sugary drinks and foods and ensure they are getting enough vitamins and calcium. It’s helpful if your water supply has fluoride, which helps strengthen teeth.

Can my child start using toothpaste?

Children can start using toothpaste containing fluoride at age one. Start with a rice-grain amount, and brush their teeth and gums for them. Children under age one can have their teeth cleaned with a fluoride-free training toothpaste and a soft toothbrush.

What kind of toothbrush should we use?

Children’s toothbrushes should have a small head and soft bristles. Most packages recommended ages to help you choose. It’s fun to pick a toothbrush with your child’s favorite character on it. This helps make brushing more exciting.

When should we start flossing?

Begin flossing your child’s teeth around age four or as soon as neighboring teeth are touching. Many kids can do it themselves at age eight using floss picks, but it should still be supervised.

How can I alleviate my child’s toothache?

Have your child rinse with warm saltwater. If there is visible facial swelling, use a cold compress. Children’s Tylenol or Ibuprofen can help treat the pain. Make a dental appointment as quickly as possible to examine the affected area.

When should we stop pacifier use and thumb sucking?

It is recommended to start halting pacifier use at six months old. Prolonged use is linked to a higher rate of ear infections. It is recommended to start halting a thumb sucking habit no later than age 3 to prevent long term effects to the adult teeth.

What are dental sealants?

Dental sealants are used to prevent food from causing decay in the crevasses of your child’s teeth. The application is quick and can protect your child’s teeth for many years.

Are x-rays safe for children?

Dental x-rays use only a small amount of radiation, and pediatric dental staff use extra precautions for the child’s safety.

Schedule a consultation

If you’re looking for pediatric dentistry in Boston, give Dr. Anderson of Sprout Kids Dentistry a call at 617-934-6339! Get your child started on the right path toward life-long dental health.

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