When to Begin Orthodontic Evaluation for Kids

At some point, while your children are aging, you will want to take care of their oral health, whether that requires trips to the dentist or even orthodontic evaluations. You may wonder if there is a suitable age to start orthodontic treatment. We look forward to treating your child’s dental issues at Sprout Kids Dentistry.

The Importance of Orthodontic Evaluation

Wanting your children to be healthy is a common goal for many parents. Although treatments can look different from child to child, an orthodontic evaluation is vital because it determines a plan and addresses concerns before they are visible to you. Not all children need early orthodontic treatment, but an appointment can evaluate and identify potential issues.

What Age Should I Schedule an Orthodontic Evaluation?

You may have noticed people of all ages wearing braces. Although this is common, the best time to start orthodontic care is between the ages of seven and ten. Early orthodontic treatment can intercept and identify issues before your child’s baby teeth even fall out.

Your Child’s Orthodontic Evaluation

Children should go to a dentist regularly before visiting an orthodontist. It is recommended that children have an orthodontic evaluation by age seven by the American Association of Orthodontists. Early evaluation can diminish the need for extensive orthodontic treatments later in life. Early evaluation can identify and treat oral problems before more significant issues occur.

The Best Age to Get Braces

The most common age for braces is between 11 and 14 years old. This is when children lose most of their baby teeth. Some specialists will recommend using dental appliances to begin, followed by a shorter second phase of treatment with braces.

Phases of Orthodontic Treatment

Early orthodontic treatment can utilize palate expanders, space maintainers, and fixed or removable dental appliances. These treatments can occur in both dental phases.

Phase 1

Phase one can begin when children still have their baby teeth. Interceptive care during this phase can address many orthodontic issues, including underbite, overbite, crossbite, capped teeth, and an abnormal number of teeth.

Phase 2

Phase two begins when your child has all their adult teeth. This phase is also referred to as full orthodontic treatment. This phase can include braces and teeth aligners.

Schedule a Consultation

Dr. Anderson is board-certified by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. At Sprout Kids Dentistry, your skilled pediatric dentists strive to give you worry-free dental visits for your children. If you are interested in pediatric dentistry in Boston, contact us to schedule a consultation with Sprout Kids Dentistry today.

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One of the hardest things a pediatric dentist has to tell a parent is, “Your child has cavities.”
Sometimes you already know, and sometimes you are taken off guard; but regardless of the circumstances, these words can often leave a parent feeling guilty and uncertain about what comes next.

If the cavity is small, your pediatric dentist can fix the tooth with a traditional filling. However, if the decay is extensive, it may be necessary to place a crown or “cap” on the tooth. Crowns are placed on teeth that have large areas of decay that could possibly break if a traditional filling material is used to fix it.

Why Use Crowns on Baby Teeth?

One of the first questions that come to mind about pediatric stainless steel crowns is usually: “Why is it necessary? And, why not just pull the tooth?”
Crowns are often the best treatment plan for decayed or damaged baby teeth for one main reason.
The alternative to using a crown would be extraction, which can lead to complications if a baby tooth is removed too soon such as blockage, misalignment or tipping of baby teeth, or crowding of permanent teeth as they begin to arrive. This could necessitate further treatment including orthodontic care.
Using crowns allows the baby tooth to continue to act as a placeholder until permanent teeth have reached full maturity, while addressing the decayed tooth.
So your child needs crowns, and you are asking, “What choices does my child have?”
Some of the most common options a pediatric dentist may offer are listed below. At Sprout Kids Dentistry, we offer stainless steel crowns otherwise known as “silver” crowns to restore baby molars, and composite strip crowns to restore baby front teeth.


Stainless steel crowns are the most common type of crown used in pediatric dentistry. These are what many people call “silver” crowns. These crowns are covered by most major insurances. They are very durable and are a great option if you aren’t concerned about the cosmetic appearance of baby teeth.  On rare occasions, they can cause localized tissue irritation and have been known to be a contributing factor in metal allergies.


Stainless steel crowns can be made to look more aesthetically pleasing, especially when front teeth need treatment. This type of stainless steel crown is available with a pre-veneered plastic facing. These crowns are more cosmetic in appearance because from the front they look “white” but the reverse side is the portion of silver crown that is non-coated metal. In order for the white facing to adhere to the metal, extra bulk must be added, so these crowns tend to look bulk, thick or rounded. The white facing also has a tendency to chip off easily over time, exposing the silver crown underneath. There are two main reasons the white facings of a stainless steel may chip off: (1) when children grind their teeth, (2) or as a result of regular wear and tear related to chewing forces on back teeth.


This type of crown is very cosmetic when prepared well by your child’s pediatric dentist. Placing these crowns requires tremendous skill. It also requires the most time to complete. Because of the time required, these crowns can be difficult to place on young, uncooperative children. General anesthesia sedation is often recommended for a cosmetic crown procedure. Strip crowns are entirely made of composite “white” “filling material. This filling material looks very natural– a shade guide may be used to match the crown’s color to the color of your child’s natural teeth. The biggest consequence of composite strip crowns or resin crowns is that they have a tendency to absorb food stains and discolor. It can also attract plaque if brushing and flossing is not done well and recurrent decay may result. Resin crowns are also much weaker than stainless steel crowns so there is an increased risk that a piece or corner of the crown may break off.  Most major insurances cover composite strip crowns on front teeth only for baby teeth that require treatment.

How are baby teeth prepared for stainless steel crowns?

1. Your pediatric dentist may recommend using “Laughing gas” and Novocaine for a stainless steel crown procedure. Laughing gas is a very mild form of conscious sedation that helps to manage nervousness or anxiety. Your child is awake during the entire procedure. Novocaine is injected into the gums surrounding the decayed tooth so there is no discomfort during the stainless steel crown procedure.

2. A soft latex sheet called a rubber dam is draped over the mouth to isolate the tooth being treated. This also helps to keep the working area free of any moisture, increasing the dentist’s field of view while preventing the child from swallowing any debris.

3. First, the chewing surface is reduced by about 1.5mm outlining the tooth. Second, the contact area between neighboring teeth is opened to create space for stainless steel crown placement. And third, all decay is removed from the tooth.

4. A crown is chosen, sized, trimmed, and fitted to adapt to the prepared primary tooth. The crown and the tooth are then washed and dried separately.

5. Cement, otherwise known as “tooth glue” is mixed and placed on the insides of the stainless steel crown prior to being fitted on the tooth.

6. The rubber dam is removed and the child is asked to bite hard on the crown so that all the excess cement is removed.

7. The excess cement is cleaned off and the tooth contacts are flossed to finish the procedure.

What do we need to do after a stainless steel crown is placed?

Because we use Novocaine during the crown fitting process, your child should not eat until the anesthetic wears off to avoid biting their lip, cheek, or tongue unknowingly. Once it has gone away, they are free to eat and drink as normal, although the crown may be sensitive. They may feel some discomfort for a day or two after the procedure, which can be handled with over-the-counter pain relievers such as Children’s Tylenol or Children’s Ibuprofen.

Pediatric Stainless Steel Crowns in Quincy, MA
You and your child may be nervous if a stainless steel crown procedure is in order, but at Sprout Kids Dentistry, we know how to create a safe and welcoming environment for you and your little one. Don’t wait to get the treatment your child needs – call 617-934-6339 or visit us online to schedule your pediatric stainless steel crown appointment today.

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How Sugar Can Affect Your Child’s Oral Health

As a parent, you may worry about your child having a serious sweet tooth especially if they can’t seem to get enough sweet treats. Generally, children have a stronger affinity for sugary and salty foods than adults, and they don’t need to learn to like these flavors. According to recent research, children’s sweet tooth and desire for sugary foods may increase during growth spurts, when their bodies require more calories and energy. Although there’s no harm in giving your kid a treat occasionally, constant access to sugary sweets might damage their teeth and gums. Let’s dive into how sugar may damage kids’ teeth and how you can help them develop lifelong, healthy dental routines.

How Sugar Impacts Dental Health

Although it’s commonly known that overeating sugar may cause cavities, this mechanism may be unclear. There are a lot of bacteria in our mouths. Therefore, if your child doesn’t brush their teeth thoroughly after consuming something sweet, the bacteria will utilize the sugar to latch on to the tooth’s surface and feed. As these bacteria feed, they rapidly multiply, creating plaque and producing acid that gradually erodes the tooth enamel. Cavities arise when these acids bore through the tooth’s surface, creating holes. If cavities go untreated, they can progress beyond the enamel and into the deeper parts of the tooth such as the nerve resulting in pain and potential tooth loss.

Tips For Safeguarding Your Child’s Oral Health

Maintaining good dental hygiene is essential for everyone, but it’s especially critical for children because of the sugar and corn syrup they ingest in their meals and beverages, respectively. The following are some measures to safeguard your child’s teeth and smile from tooth decay and cavities if you’re concerned that their sweet tooth may put them at risk for developing cavities.

Increase Their Water Intake

Water is the healthiest beverage option for your toddler. It’s fantastic for their teeth and overall health and keeps them hydrated. Also, your child may reduce their risk of developing cavities by drinking fluoridated water after eating sugary or acidic meals.

Encourage Flossing

Plaque doesn’t pick and choose where it attacks; it builds up equally on the teeth’s surfaces and the spaces between them. Therefore, by helping your child to floss daily, you will assist them in breaking up all that plaque and removing it before it develops into cavities or possibly gum disease.

Regularly Brush Their Teeth

You can effectively eliminate plaque from your child’s teeth by encouraging them to brush twice daily for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste. An electric toothbrush can work wonders if your child is willing to use one. In addition, remember to remind your kid to clean their tongue to eliminate germs that may lead to foul breath and other dental problems.

Use Fluoride

According to the American Dental Association, fluoride is an effective and safe way to prevent and treat tooth decay. Thus, ensure your kid gets lots of fluoridated water, uses a fluoridated mouthwash nightly, and routinely brushes with fluoride toothpaste.

Set Up an Appointment

Taking your child to the dentist early improves their long-term health and happiness and also helps to catch and prevent dental issues early. Give Sprout Kids Dentistry a call today or submit an online form to schedule an appointment with Dr. Anderson.

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