How to Prepare Your Child For Their First Filling

Getting the news that your little one has a cavity (or several cavities) that need to be drilled out
and filled is never easy, especially if it’s their first one. You may feel guilty, like you’ve done
something wrong with your child’s dental care, and it’s certainly understandable to be scared on
behalf of your child, knowing the procedure may make them uncomfortable and frightened.
At Sprout Kid’s Dentistry, we understand the emotions that you may experience, which is why we take
deliberate steps to ensure your child is comfortable and calm before, during, and after a filling

Lead the Way With Calmness

The key to your child’s first filling is being honest about what will happen during the procedure baring in mind that less is more. If your child lives in a two-parent household, it’s best to send the “calm one” to the appointment with your kid, toprovide an example for your child to follow– if mom isn’t scared, they’re less likely to be, too.

Create a Painless Plan

Dr. Michelle Anderson, will create a treatment plan that you and your child will be comfortable with.This can include laughing gas, local numbing, and a compelling distraction, like a favorite TV showplayed through headphones.
Once a plan is in place, you can tell your child what to expect—not in terms that describes cary-
sounding dental tools—but in terms of what they’re experience will actually be; for example, your mouth will feel sillyor sleepy, and you will have to hold your mouth open for awhile while they was away some bad germs.Because the treatment will be designed to eliminate discomfort, all you need to say is that they need to go
see Dr. Anderson again because she needs to clean out your teeth really good.

Framing a dental visit that implies pain and punishment can serve to only make your child’s
anxieties worse, not better. Feel free to limit the information you give about the specifics of their
next visit so that the dentist and staff can ease any fears your child may have without having to undo mythsor misunderstandings about the procedure that you may have outlined.

Preventing Cavities

No matter how diligent you and your child are at maintaining a good dental hygiene routine,
there’s always the chance that they can develop cavities. This isn’t always a reflection on the
parents or the kid, but simply the complexity of oral health. Factors that influence whether a
person gets cavities or not include genetics, lack of fluoride, diet, the physical shape of teeth and their grooves, and just the general chemistry of a person’s mouth.

So when you’re told that your child needs a cavity filled, don’t panic. Sure, there may be
opportunities to improve your child’s oral care, but it’s also not your fault and you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it. That’s why we’re here to offer treatments and advice on how to improve your children’s dental hygiene.

Kids’ Dentist in Boston, MA

If you’re looking for a calm and inviting environment for your kid’s dental visits, Sprout Kids
Dentistry is ready to welcome you with open arms. Call us or contact us online to get started
with your kid’s first appointment today.

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Truths and Myths About Cavities

Cavities are probably the most well-known dental issue, and also one of the most easily
treatable ones as well. And although most parents and kids are aware of their prevalence, it’s
unlikely that they’re as well-versed in the reasons they arise, what dentists do to fix them, and
even what they actually are. Let’s clear up some of the most common misunderstandings about
your kid’s oral health in general and cavities in particular.

Myth: You Only Need A Dentist When Something Hurts

One of the more popular myths surrounding dental care is that checkups are unnecessary
unless there’s a specific issue with pain involved. The reason this thinking is flawed is that by
the time something in your mouth or teeth is hurting, the issue has progressed way too far.
Pain in your mouth and teeth come from nerve signals, which lie in the roots of teeth. When
tooth decay or damage reaches the nerve, it’s likely gone past the point of simply needing a
filling, which is cheap and simple to fix, to more invasive procedures like a pulpotomy.
This is what makes routine dental checkups so important for your child’s oral
health. By getting your kid’s teeth examined by Dr. Anderson on a regular basis, you have a
trained professional keeping a close eye on their oral health that can identify and solve dental problems before they become
painful and costly.

Truth: Sugar and Carbs Cause Cavities

The process that causes cavities begins with bacteria in your mouth enjoying a sugary or carb-
loaded feast from the food and drinks you consume. Sugars in sweets like soda and candy—as
well as those in bread, potatoes, and pasta—interact with bacteria to form acids that erode tooth

This starts as plaque, a tacky substance that contains bacteria that coats the surfaces of teeth.
Plaque, when it’s soft, can be brushed away on a twice-daily basis, preventing the formation of
hardened plaque that cannot be brushed away. This is called calculus.
When calculus and the bacteria sealed within it sit on teeth too long, it can wear a hole in the tooth,
allowing the bacteria to be even harder to brush away or get out. This is when cavities and other
forms of tooth decay form.

The bacteria that cause cavities thrive on sugar and carbohydrates. This doesn’t mean you
need to totally eliminate these compounds from your diets—it’s impossible to do, in fact—but it
does mean you should help your children fully commit to a diligent brushing and flossing routine
to help prevent the accumulation of plaque and calculus.

Myth: Sugar-Free Drinks Don’t Cause Cavities

Although sugar and carbs are the main and most common culprits for encouraging tooth decay,
anything that makes the mouth environment more acidic can cause a cavity. This includes
sugar-free sodas and anything else with a low pH.

Fact: You Can’t Stop A Cavity in its Tracks

Once a cavity forms, it requires a dentist to correct it. No amount of brushing, flossing, or rinsing
can repair the damage to tooth enamel caused by bacterial decay. Once the bacteria makes it halfway through the enamel, there’s no going back.

Myth: Fillings Are Permanent Solutions

Although modern dental techniques and tools are excellent at providing relief and restoration to
decayed teeth, they’re still not the same as your natural tooth tissue. 
Fillings can wear and break down with time, and bacteria can still cause decay around the
edges of a filling, which is another reason why a healthy daily routine is critical to lifelong dental

Children’s Dentistry in Quincy, MA

We understand the dentist’s chair can be one of the most intimidating places in your little one’s
life, which is why our staff and facilities are tailored to the experience of children. At Sprout Kids
Dentistry, we work with parents to craft a personalized plan for your child’s routine care and
dental treatment that you’re comfortable with, and that best serves your child’s needs. To learn
more about our practice and schedule your first appointment, call our office or contact us online

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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 in pediatric dentistry are listed below.

Stainless Steel Crowns

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 with White Facings

Stainless steel crowns can be made to look more esthetically 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.

Composite Strip Crowns or Resin Crowns

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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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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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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What age do children start seeing a Pediatric Dentist?

Despite the recommendations of dentists, many children do not see a dentist for the first time until they are two or older. When parents wait this long, they are missing an opportunity to set up their child for a lifetime of dental health. There are many reasons to bring your child to the dentist by their first birthday, or six months after the first appearance of a baby tooth.

Primary Teeth: More Important Than You May Realize

Many people falsely believe that primary teeth, or “baby teeth”, do not really matter because they will eventually fall out anyway. It is very important, however, to keep these teeth healthy and to make sure they do not fall out before they should. The primary teeth serve many important purposes.

For starters, these teeth help to save space for the permanent teeth when they come in. Children who lose primary teeth early may also not be able to properly chew their food, something that can potentially impact their overall health. Having healthy teeth in the proper position is also important for the development of speech. Finally, healthy teeth ensure that children can grow confident with their smile.

Learning to Love the Dentist

While loving coming to the dentist may be a bit of a stretch, early visits can help reduce fear for children. Regular visits help your child get used to the building, the dentist(s) and the staff, which can increase their comfort level overall.

Tips for Helping Your Child Prepare for the Dentist

As a parent, there are other things that you can do to help your child feel good about a visit to the dentist’s office. They include:

  •  Play Dentist: One of the best ways to teach your child what to expect is to “play”dentist at home. You can be the dentist first, but be sure to give your child a turn to look around inside your mouth. Counting each others teeth is a good way to get your child used to
    what a dental exam will feel like.
  • Let Them Tag Along: If possible, schedule your own dental visit shortly before your child goes in for the first time. They can watch what happens and see how it is nothing to be afraid of.
  • Time it Carefully: Try to avoid scheduling your appointment around your child’s nap time, pediatrician wellness visit, or pediatric vaccination appointments . Being well-rested helps to lessen anxiety. Also, try to leave early enough to get to your appointment with plenty of time. Children can pick up on their parent’s anxiety, so it is important everyone is relaxed.

Schedule An Appointment

The team here at Sprout Kids Dentistry can help get both you and your child through that important first checkup. Schedule an appointment online or over the phone today.

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What Is a Mouthguard and How Does It Prevent Teeth Grinding?

Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, affects millions of people every year. In some cases, teeth grinding can cause people to experience headaches and soreness in the jaw or face. Teeth grinding can also cause a person’s teeth to break or destroy the enamel on their teeth. In severe cases, bruxism can even cause tooth loss. The good news is that mouthguards worn at night can help treat bruxism and protect your teeth.

What Is a Mouthguard and How Does It Work?

A mouthguard is an oral device that you wear over your teeth while you sleep at night. This guard protects your teeth by working as a barrier between your upper and lower teeth. As your jaw clenches at night, the mouthguard will force this tightening to loosen up to prevent grinding. This device helps to protect your teeth by preventing the teeth to grind together during the night and it can reduce facial and jaw pain by stopping your jaw from clenching while you sleep.

Types of Mouthguards

You don’t need a prescription to purchase a mouthguard. They are available over the counter or you can request one from your dentist. According to the American Sleep Association, there are three main types of mouthguards.

1. Soft Mouthguard

As the name suggests, soft mouthguards are soft and flexible. Many people find this the most comfortable mouthguard to use. However, it’s not always effective for severe cases of teeth grinding. In addition, this type of mouthguard is not as durable as some other options, so you may need to purchase a new one every few months.

2. Hard Mouthguard

A hard mouthguard is made from acrylic and it’s not flexible. This type of mouthguard must be ordered from the dentist and is made using an impression of your teeth. This style of nightguard is ideal for those who suffer from severe teeth grinding. While it can take some time to get used to wearing a hard mouthguard, it is very durable and will last longer than other types.

3. Dual Laminate Mouthguard

The dual laminate mouthguard is a mixture between the hard and soft style. It has a hard exterior and a soft interior. This type of nightguard is ideal for those who suffer from moderate teeth grinding.

 Ordering Your Mouthguard

There are several ways mouthguards adjust to your teeth.

Non-Molded Mouthguard

  • Non-Molded Mouthguard – You can purchase this type of mouthguard over the counter and use it instantly without any molding or preparation.

Boil and Bite Mouthguard

  • Boil and Bite Mouthguard – This mouthguard can be purchased at the store, but you will need to boil it and then place it in your mouth and bite down to make an impression before using it.

Customized Mouthguard

  • Customized Mouthguard – You can order a customized mouthguard online, but you will be required to send the company an impression of your teeth so they can make you a customized nightguard.

Laboratory-Made Mouthguard

  • Laboratory-Made Mouthguard – When you order a mouthguard through your dentist, he will start by taking an impression of your teeth and then sending it to the laboratory to be made.

Using a mouthguard can significantly reduce the effects of teeth grinding and protect your teeth from damage. It’s important to only use your mouthguard at nighttime and to place it in your mouth just before you are ready to go to sleep. Keep in mind that it could take up to four to six weeks to get used to using a mouthguard.

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