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Why do we recommend a dental visit by 12 months of age?

Nicole McNear, D.M.D.

It is estimated, 40% of children have had a cavity by the time they start kindergarten. Having a cavity can cause pain, an increased risk of malocclusion from space loss, a decrease in appetite and effect a child's overall well-being and development.

Despite its widespread occurrence, caries is a preventable disease. Consequently, seeking out a dental provider by your child's 1st birthday (or within 6months of your child's first tooth eruption), can notably increase the likelihood of your child having a healthy, caries-free smile. This philosophy is in union with seeking "well care" from your child's physician.

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry "the dental home is the ongoing relationship between the dentist and the patient, inclusive of all aspects of oral health care delivered in a comprehensive, continuously accessible, coordinated, and family-centered way."

A dental home will provide the following for your child:

Dental Work
January 26, 1875 The Dental
Drill was patented.

  • Caries risk assessment
  • Oral Hygiene instruction
  • Dietary counseling
  • Anticipatory guidance regarding teething, oral habits, occlusion, dental trauma, enamel defects, wisdom teeth, etc
  • A comfortable environment where the dental providers will no longer be "strangers" to your children

As soon as the first tooth erupts into the mouth, caries can develop. So, it is the goal of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and its dental providers, to help your family establish a "dental home" to provide comprehensive and preventative care.



Jill Decker, DDS


The loss of the first baby tooth is a very exciting event. If this is your first child to lose a tooth, this transition may also be fraught with questions and concerns! The first teeth to fall out are typically the bottom two middle incisors. The average age a child loses his or her first tooth is 6 years old. However, the normal age range for tooth loss is 4 to 8 years old! It is often desirable for a child to lose the first tooth when he or she is on the older end of the range because the mouth has had an opportunity to grow and may be better able to accommodate the new, larger teeth. The timing of the loss of the first tooth often corresponds to the timing of the eruption of the first baby tooth. In other words, if a child grew in his or her first baby tooth early, he or she is more likely to lose the baby teeth early, and vice versa.

A baby tooth falls out when the permanent tooth beneath it grows upward through the bone and wears away the root of the baby tooth. The baby tooth then gets loose and falls out. Occasionally, however, the new tooth grows in slightly off course and grows in before the baby tooth falls out. It is fairly common for the first two permanent teeth on the bottom front to grow in behind the baby teeth. If this occurs, encourage your child to "wiggle" out the baby tooth and schedule an appointment for the dentist to evaluate. Sometimes the dentist needs to extract the baby tooth if it is not falling out naturally and if the permanent tooth is growing into the wrong spot.

Unlike the baby teeth, the new front permanent teeth have little ridges, called mammelons, on the edges of the teeth. These ridges are there to facilitate the eruption of the permanent teeth through the gums and usually wear down to a flatter surface as the child ages. There is typically little or no pain as permanent teeth grow in, but it is critical to maintain good oral hygiene in the area, to minimize the chances of pain and irritation.

Don't forget a Tooth Fairy chest to put under the pillow at night! Celebrate the milestone of losing baby teeth!


Providing Dental Care for Anxious Children

By Jeffrey Young, D.D.S.

Pediatric dentists have special training to help anxious children feel secure and comfortable during dental treatment. Both pediatric dentists and staff members choose to work with children because they like kids. Pediatric dentists are trained in many methods to help children feel comfortable with dental treatment. Our practice utilizes a variety of techniques.

Most children are calm, comfortable and confident in a pediatric dental office. The most common way to help children at dental appointments is to use the "Tell-Show-Do" technique. The children are told what will be done, they are shown the instruments and other equipment to be used, and then the instruments are applied to provide care. Modeling is also a frequently used technique. In this case, a sibling or cooperative child of a similar age is used as a model to show a timid child how treatment will be completed. Children are always given frequent praise for all good behavior.

Children who require more than preventive care can have treatment provided in a caring, comfortable manner by using other techniques. Our office utilizes Nitrous oxide/oxygen and oral sedation for anxious children. When extensive treatment is required, and a child is extremely anxious and fearful, treatment may be provided in a hospital with general anesthesia.

The goal at Young Dentistry for Children is to help patients become confident in their dental visits so they can enjoy a lifetime of excellent oral health. We look forward to providing the highest quality of dental treatment in a caring, comfortable environment for your child.

Thumb and Finger Suckingthumbsucking
By Kim Kretsch, D.D.S.

While the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends cessation of thumb and finger habits by age 2 years, most parents have a difficult time getting their toddler to stop a thumb or finger sucking habit by that age. The earlier the habit is stopped the less chance of long term dental and skeletal changes.
I recommend that parents begin early by using verbal cues that begin to plant the seed that this habit is not a good one. I call them "gentle verbal reminders". Begin by gently removing the thumb/finger from the child's mouth and reminding that the digit is not particularly clean and carries many germs associated with flu and colds. Sometimes, this reminder alone will stop the habit over time.
I find that by age 4 years the child understands that the habit is no longer acceptable. The key is to find something that the child wants more than sucking on a thumb or finger. I suggest placing a brightly colored wrapped surprise package in the view of the child to serve as a visual reminder of the prize they will receive when the habit has stopped. Make the reward attainable so the child stays motivated. If they normally suck a thumb/finger all day, going 15-20 minutes without the habit is a milestone and should be rewarded. Extend the time daily until they are going a whole day without the need to suck a thumb/finger. Give them tokens/paper money to "save" and finally "buy" the surprise awaiting them. Typically once the child stops the habit for 3 weeks, they rarely will start the habit again.

First Dental Visit at Age 1: The Gold Standard


By Jill Decker, D.D.S.

Did you know the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a child receive his/her first dental visit by age 1 year old or within 6 months from the time the first tooth erupts? Sound preposterous? The recommendation makes sense when one considers the rationale: Dental decay is the single most common disease of childhood. Decay is mostly preventable and parents need to receive prevention information while their children are young, or it may be too late! So much money can be saved if prevention is the focus of oral healthcare. And everyone, including us at Young Dentistry for Children, wants a child to have a positive experience at the dentist. Although we expect very young children to cry at our office when we examine their teeth, we know this early exposure, and visits every 6 months, desensitize a child to the potential drama of "going to the dentist." At the initial visit, a child around 1 year old sits on their parent's lap while their head is brought onto the dentist's lap. The dentist will use soft gloves and a mirror to examine the mouth. There are no pokes, prods, or other painful stimuli. Don't worry if your child cries - an open mouth helps us see all the teeth.

Young Dentistry for Children is so commited to establishing a positive, preventive dental life for your child we offer initial examinations FREE OF CHARGE, for children 18 months and younger! Please come see us so we may begin a partnership with you and your child, so he/she has the best chance of a lifetime of healthy teeth and positive dental experiences.


Pediatric Dental Trauma

Keaton Howe DDS, MS

As parents ourselves, the doctors at Young Dentistry for Children understand that the first reaction to a traumatized tooth is denial. We may think to ourselves "It's just a baby tooth, it will probably be alright, right? " Wrong. The baby set of teeth are very important to care for as the permanent teeth develop underneath them.
It is great to see the surprise on parents faces when they see permanent teeth beneath the baby teeth on X-rays at 3 years old. In fact, permanent teeth can begin calcifying in a baby's mouth within the first year of age! If a baby tooth is pushed up, down, or side to side, so too can the permanent tooth bud beneath it. Often times, your child may not have any initial symptoms or pain from a bumped tooth, however, this dislocation can cause long term complications to the eruption pattern or development of the permanent replacement.
It is common to see pain or infections from a traumatized baby tooth months or even years after the original trauma. Initially, discoloration of a tooth is commonly seen. This may be followed by infections that occur where the new permanent replacement is growing, causing possible damage to tooth structure or bone support.
Even though our initial reaction as parents is to assume our children have not harmed themselves, it is best to see a pediatric dentist whenever teeth are bumped or traumatized. Evaluation by a pediatric dentist will keep damage from occurring to the permanent teeth and keep the mouth and jaw developing normally. In cases of traumatized teeth, "it is better safe than sorry".

Preventing Tooth Decay

Jeff Young, D.D.S.

February is National Dental Health Month. Young Dentistry for Children would like to remind parents that if your child is allowed to chew gum, sugarless gum is recommended. Research has shown that the use of chewing gum containing a sweetener called, "xylitol", helps to prevent tooth decay. One of the studies on the use of xylitol and its prevention of tooth decay is listed below. Remember that in order to keep a healthy smile, brush daily with a fluoride toothpaste, avoid frequent snacking and visit your dentist regularly.



In the United States, more than 2 in 5 children from poverty families ages 2 to 5 years experience "early childhood caries" (ECC), and nearly half of those affected experience the severe form of this preventable condition.1

A controlled trial at the School of Dentistry, University of Washington, evaluated the effectiveness of a xylitol pediatric topical oral syrup to reduce the incidence of dental caries among very young children. One hundred children were enrolled in this study and ranged in age from 9 to 15 months. They were randomly placed in groups to receive xylitol oral topical syrup (administered by their parents) one dose per day, two doses per day, or three doses per day.

The primary outcome of the study was the number of decayed primary teeth. The average follow-up time period was 10.5 months. The results show significantly fewer decayed teeth in the groups receiving oral xylitol two or three doses per day. These results validate the short-term salivary impact of a xylitol intervention for young children.2

The conclusion is that xylitol oral syrup administered topically 2 or 3 times daily is effective in preventing early childhood caries.

1Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2009 Jul; 163(7):601-7.
2J Pediatr. 2010 Jan; 156(1):164.

Pediatric Dental Trauma

Keaton Howe, DDS, MS


Can you feel the pressure? Today's parents and children live a different life than previous generations. Between taking their children to gymnastics, soccer, art class, and day care, it is no wonder that parents need to squeeze in time to text and e-mail just to stay in touch with their friends and sanity. There is a great pressure to succeed as a "super parent" for the family, children, spouse and friends.

As parents, we pass this pressure to achieve and succeed down to our children. Instead of quietly playing or watching jacks or hop scotch, children are being zapped w/pulses of rays from their wii's and DVD's. Instead of playing outside until dark, we are racing them from swim lessons to lacrosse practice while trying to work in sugary snacks in the car on the way to camp.

the doctors at Young Dentistry for Children are all parents themselves. We understand the pressure to be "super parents" and the disappointment we all feel when children fall and hurt their teeth. It is important to take care of these injuries and understand that even the smallest trauma can cause big problems when our children aren't children anymore.



Gummy Vitamins and Cavities
By Kim Kretsch, D.D.S.

As with any sticky chewy food, gummy type vitamins may not be as healthy as we would like to believe. Obviously, gummy vitamins are fashioned after the very popular candy that kids love.  Many well meaning parents believe that gummy vitamins are a fun and tasty way to boost nutrition in their child’s diet. The child is usually very compliant and delights in taking the candy coated vitamin.  However, gummy type foods such as gummy bears are hazardous to teeth just like the candy.  It is not only the sugar content, which usually marketed as “natural sugar from real fruit or fruit juice” but the sticky chewy consistency that is of concern to dentists. This sticky chewy consistency allows the sugar to remain in the deep grooves and between the teeth long after the vitamin has been consumed. Even brushing and flossing afterwards may not be adequate prevention.

Many of these gummy vitamins are sold in packets containing several different vitamins. This requires the child to consume 2-3 vitamins to obtain all the nutritional value advertised. 

If you choose to give your child a vitamin, give them the good old fashioned chalky chewable vitamins that we had when we were kids.

Teaching kids proper oral hygiene skills is the responsibility of every loving parent. Love your children Love their teeth! Consider this: There is no more cost-effective way to spare kids toothaches and lower future dental bills.

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