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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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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How to Prevent Cavities for Children?

What are cavities?

Cavities are holes in the enamel layer of the tooth. If not treated, a cavity will grow and eventually affect the inner layers of the tooth as well. This can cause infection and lead to tooth pain and toothaches. Unfortunately, cavities are a very common health issue, especially among young children and adolescents.

Symptoms

Symptoms of a cavity can vary depending on its location and size. These include:
 Pain When Chewing or Biting Down
 Tooth Discoloration
 Toothache
 Tooth Sensitivity to Hot or Cold temperatures, and Sweets

When to see a dentist

You can’t always tell when a cavity is starting, so taking your child for regular dental checkups and cleanings is the surest way to prevent them. If your child is experiencing tooth pain, be sure to take him/her to the dentist as soon as possible.

Causes and risk factors

Tooth decay is a process that occurs over time. Bacteria feeds on any sugars and starches left on teeth, creating plaque. Over time, plaque destroys the enamel layer of the teeth. Once the enamel is compromised, plaque goes to work on the next inner layer of the tooth, called dentin. Dentin communicates with the nerve in the center of the tooth, so it is at this point, tooth pain becomes an issue. Several risk factors contribute to the formation of plaque and tooth decay. Inadequate brushing is a leading cause, as is not using a fluoride toothpaste or consuming fluoridated drinking water. Back teeth, which are often hard for children to clean thoroughly, are at higher risk of developing plaque.

Prevention

Preventing cavities in children is a process that should begin while the child is still a baby. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a child be no older than twelve months before going for his/her first dental visit. Scheduling regular dental visits for your child is the best way to prevent cavities.
Make sure to brush your child’s teeth twice a day until they can do so effectively themselves. Use fluoride toothpaste, as fluoride strengthens tooth enamel. Also, limit the amount of snacking your child does. When we eat, bacteria forms in our mouths and attacks our teeth. This is why, ideally, you should brush after meals. If your child snacks throughout the day, they are at increased risk for plaque build-up and tooth decay.

Request a consultation

If you’re in need of quality children’s dental care in the Greater Boston area, look no further than Sprout Kids Dentistry in Quincy. Dr. Anderson and her staff have created an environment designed to put your child at ease as they receive the outstanding dental care they deserve. Visit us online at sproutdentistry.com or, better yet, call today to schedule an appointment.
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Is having a tooth extracted very painful?

Is Having a Tooth Extracted Very Painful?

Taking care of your dental health is of utmost importance. Not taking care of your child’s teeth can lead to tooth decay, loss of teeth, and tooth infections. These infections can lead to problems with their overall health. If they need to have a tooth removed, there is no need to worry. This
procedure is common and will help to ensure that their dental health is where it should be. Sprout Kids Dentistry is experienced in tooth extractions. We’re here to answer all of your questions or concerns.

Why Are Teeth Removed?

There are many reasons why a tooth may be removed. Infections, severe damage, and overcrowding can be a factor in tooth removal. Removing the tooth in the case of severe damage or infections can help to ensure that there are no further issues. In the case of overcrowding, removal of the tooth can allow for the proper spacing of teeth.

How Much Does A Tooth Extraction Cost?

The cost of a tooth extraction will vary depending on whether it is a baby tooth or a permanent tooth. The staff at Sprout Kids Dentistry will provide a price point and explain possible payment options.

How To Prepare For A Tooth Extraction

A dental x-ray will first be done to determine what teeth need to be removed. After this x-ray, Dr. Anderson will create a treatment plan. She will ask questions about previous medical issues, medications, and anything else of concern. As a parent or guardian, you will want to tell Dr. Anderson if there are any issues or family history of heart disease, cancer, bleeding disorders, liver disease, impaired immune system, or diabetes. To prepare for your child’s appointment, you will want to make sure that you follow all the instructions that are laid out by Dr. Anderson and her staff.

What Is The Procedure For A Tooth Extraction?

This will depend on what type of extraction Dr. Anderson will be performing. If it is a simple extraction, a local anesthetic will be given. Once the area is numbed, the tooth will be removed. If a surgical extraction is needed, general anesthesia or I.V sedation may be necessary and Dr. Anderson will give you a referral to consult with an oral surgeon.

What Are The Risks Of A Tooth Extraction?

While the benefits outweigh the complications, there are some potential risks that you will need to be aware of. The most common complication is dry socket. Dry socket occur when the blood clot removes itself from the former spot of the tooth. This can cause extreme pain, which will require a visit back to Sprout Kids Dentistry. Other risks include excessive bleeding, infection, cough, redness, swelling, and chest pain. If any of these are experienced, the dentist should be contacted immediately.

What Is The Recovery Period From A Tooth Extraction?

It will take a day or two to fully recover from tooth extraction, especially a surgical tooth extraction. During the recovery period, ice packs, saltwater rinses, and resting should be done. Tooth brushing should be done as normal, but the extraction site should be avoided for the first 24 hours to avoid dry socket. Foods such as ice cream, applesauce, yogurt, and pudding should be consumed for the first few days after the extraction.

Request A Consultation

If your child is experiencing an issue with their teeth, please call Sprout Kids Dentistry in Quincy, MA. Dr. Anderson is available to help ensure that your child has all of their pediatric dental needs met with quality and affordable care.

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Your Baby’s Mouth: What to Expect

If you’ve had a baby, there can be a lot of things to worry about. Although infants usually do not have teeth when they are born, it is still important to provide dental care from the start. We recommend that you bring your baby in for a dental checkup by age one to ensure their gums and teeth are developing properly and detect any abnormalities. Here’s a simple guide to navigating your child’s early dental health.

What we look for

When you bring your baby in for their first check-up, there are a few specific things we look for. These include:

  • Epstein pearls: Small, white cysts in the baby’s mouth that are usually harmless and disappear on their own
  • Bohn nodules: Small, grayish-white nodules that can occur on the palate and are usually harmless as well
  • Inclusion cysts: Small, harmless bumps on the gums
  • Natal/Neonatal teeth: Some infants are born with teeth, or their teeth begin to erupt within thirty days of birth. In some cases, these need to be removed.

Your baby’s mouth during infancy

During the first year of life, your baby will likely experience teething, which is when their teeth begin to erupt through the gums. This usually occurs between 3 and 9 months, and will likely cause your child some pain or discomfort. Signs of teething include irritability, loss of appetite, excessive drooling, and restlessness. Some treatments that may help are teething biscuits or teething rings, pain medicine, eating cold foods, or massaging the gums. Talk to your dentist about how to best relieve your baby’s teething pain.

Another normal aspect of an infant’s life is sucking on a pacifier, thumb, or finger. This is not something to be concerned about, as sucking is a natural reflex for babies. These sucking habits are usually gone by around 3 or 4 years old, and if stopped at this age, will likely not affect the jaw or teeth. However, if a prolonged sucking habit continues it can cause:

  • misaligned upper and lower jaws
  • bottom front teeth to slant inward
  • top front teeth to slant out

These bite problems may need to be corrected with orthodontic work in the future. 

A common problem that can occur with your baby’s teeth is baby bottle tooth decay. This often occurs when a child is repeatedly put to bed with a bottle, and the sugars in the milk or juice sit on the child’s teeth for a long period of time, eventually causing tooth decay or cavities. This can be prevented by not giving the child a bottle in bed, as well as performing adequate dental care.

How to care for your baby’s mouth 

You should begin cleaning your child’s gums soon after birth, even before any teeth have erupted. This will ensure your baby’s mouth is clean as well as get them used to the cleaning process. Here is how to clean your baby’s mouth: 

  • Lay their head down on a flat surface or in your lap
  • Rub a damp washcloth over the upper and lower gums
  • After teeth have erupted, switch to using a baby toothbrush and water 
  • Repeat these steps twice a day, in the morning and evening

Schedule an Appointment

It’s never too early to bring your child to the dentist to ensure that they remain healthy and happy for the years to come. Schedule an appointment with Sprout Kids Dentistry by calling or filling out our online form and we can find the appointment that works best for you.

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Child’s Dental Hygiene: What Should It Look Like At Which Age?

Your child’s health and safety are top priorities. Their oral hygiene should be one of your top priorities too. Dental health is a vital part of every child’s total health, which starts with parents. You can give your kid a great start, so he or she has healthy gums and teeth his or her entire life. Here’s what to know about treating your child’s dental health at each stage.

Dental Hygiene for Younger Children (Infants)

Most babies start to get their teeth a few months after birth. Some infants have one or more teeth when they are born (referred to as natal teeth). The roots have already formed beneath the gums when babies are born. You may not be able to see the teeth yet, but they are there. Normally, infants start to teeth approximately six months after birth. It is vital to begin good oral hygiene practice while your baby is younger. The healthier the gums are, the healthier the teeth will be.

  • After your baby eats or drinks milk, you should use a clean, damp face cloth to wipe his or her gums. You could give your infant some water in a baby bottle. These actions help clean out any bacteria, which could cause gum issues, nursing decay, or “bottle rot”.
  • It is a good idea to take your baby’s bottle away from them once they are finished drinking. If they start to fall asleep with the bottle in their mouth, it could allow bacteria to grow, which can cause issues such as Thrush, milk tongue, or nursing decay.
  • Brushing your infant’s gums and teeth should start when they are about six months old. One way to help your child learn about brushing their gums and teeth is to allow them to witness you brushing your gums and teeth. (Consult a Dentist regarding how much toothpaste to use and which kind to use).
  • Get a soft-bristle toothbrush for your little one.
  • Some parents take their infants to a dentist as soon as their child’s teeth start to come through the gums. Some parents wait until their babies are around six months old, but most parents schedule a dental appointment before their child is one year old.

Dental Hygiene for Older Children

As children get older, their dental hygiene practices should continue to include age-appropriate habits. Children typically have their first set of teeth (primary teeth) by the age of three. At about age six, their first tooth may fall out and permanent teeth start to grow in. If there are gaps between your six-year old’s teeth, that is normal. The gaps allow his or her permanent teeth room to start coming in. All permanent teeth generally have grown in by the age of thirteen.

How to Develop the Best Dental Hygiene Schedule for Kids

Beginning at age three, you can develop a schedule to help keep your little one’s gums and teeth strong and healthy. Here are some ways you can accomplish that:

  • Dentists recommend using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste (containing fluoride). It is also advisable to make sure your little one does not swallow toothpaste and learns how to rinse and spit properly during and after brushing.
  • It is important that your child brushes for two minutes or so, twice daily.
  • Once teeth have grown in and there is a space where dental floss will fit, you can begin to floss your child’s teeth for them.
  • Help your child brush properly.
  • Take your child to a dentist once every six months.

Pre-Teens – Dental Hygiene

Do you want to help your older children avoid getting cavities or gum disease? You might want to encourage them to continue with a good oral hygiene routine. They should brush twice daily, and floss at least once daily. Using a fluoride mouth rinse once daily before bed is not a bad idea either.

It is a good idea to limit sugary foods and drinks as well. It seems easy but there are times when life gets hectic. Pre-teens might forget to brush their gums and teeth, so you might need to remind them to do it. Pre-teens should visit a dentist every six months or so too.

Encouraging Pre-Teens in Other Ways:

  • An electric toothbrush might help encourage your older children because it might make brushing more fun.
  • Remind your child what happens when they do not take care of their teeth and gums – it could result in tooth decay, stains, gum disease, pain, infection, or more.
  • If your child plays sports, encourage them to wear protective gear like a mouthguard that protects the teeth.
  • Children who have braces should brush and rinse more often. Otherwise, their teeth might have white spots all over them when the braces are removed.

Schedule an Appointment

It’s extremely important to set your child up for a lifetime of healthy teeth and a confident smile. If your child struggles to practice good dental hygiene habits, we can offer advice and good tips on establishing good habits. To schedule an appointment, contact us by calling or filling out our online form.

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