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FEBRUARY 2017

Posts: "What is Space Maintenance" Jan 9 


"What is Space Maintenance?"

February 23, 2017

One of the primary purposes of the primary teeth is to hold space for the developing permanent teeth. If a primary tooth is lost prematurely either due to infection, trauma, or ectopic eruption of other permanent teeth a space maintainer is recommended.  It is much easier to MAINTAIN space than it is to REGAIN space through orthodontics.  Typically, orthodontics is complicated if space regaining is needed and it increases treatment time and cost.  

A space maintainer is placed to prevent drifting or tipping of the teeth further back in the mouth into the space of the lost tooth.  The timing of space maintenance is critical as delayed space maintenance often results in significant loss of space within just days to weeks of loss of the tooth.  Therefore, a space maintainer should be placed at the time of extraction if possible.  These are called 'Direct Space Maintainers".  (see image below).  In some instances a prefabricated spacer can't be placed at the time of extraction and a custom space maintainer is necessary.  These are called "Indirect Space Maintainers". (see image below).

DIRECT SPACE MAINTAINERS:

There are two types of direct space maintainers: Distal Shoe Spacers and Band and Loop Spacers.  They share a purpose in maintaining space but one, the distal shoe, is necessary to guide the developing permanent 6-year molar that hasn't come into the mouth yet, into proper position.  This type of spacer has a metal plate that is imbedded at the extraction site and gives a guiding plane for the molar to erupt against mimicking the distal root of the primary tooth if it were still present. 

Both distal shoes and band and loops can be made with either a crown attachment or a band attachment.  Direct space maintainers are usually kept in place a short time.  Often they're replaced with an indirect space maintainer once the permanent molars are in enough to use as an abutment.  

INDIRECT SPACE MAINTAINERS:

The two indirect space maintainers depend on whether it's the lower or the upper arch that is affected.  These are made by fitting metal bands on the permanent molars and taking an impression of the teeth.  The model is then used to fabricate an appliance that is cemented on the permanent teeth and used either the lower front teeth or the palatal arch as anchorage.  These spacers are more permanent and are not removed until the premolars are in ideal postion/occlusion.  

Thanks for reading.  I hope this was helpful.  Feel free to call if you have any questions.  385-210-1000.

-Dr. Bart

Pediatric Dentist

Riverton, Herriman, Bluffdale, UT


JANUARY 2017

Posts: "Is Sedation Safe for my Child?" Jan 9 


"Is Deep Sedation Safe for my Child?"

January 9, 2017

Many parents wonder if deep sedation is right for their child.  Typically this stems from a fear that deep sedation, a drug-induced depression of consciousness, is unsafe.  The short answer is:

DEEP SEDATION IS VERY SAFE

The long answer is that the level of safety depends on the experience and protocol followed by the dentist and the auxilliary team used.  At South Hills Pediatric Dentistry your child's safety is our #1 priority!  Therefore, our practice philosophy is that we do everything in our power to ensure that potential complications are minimized.  

When there are complications during a deep sedation it almost always is associated with respiration.  (i.e. aspiration or respiratory depression)  Because of this ALL children treated at South Hills are cared for by a certified Dental Anesthesiologist and EVERY child is treated with a nasotracheal tube that ensures that your child's airway is protected.  This means that parents need not worry if their child's respiration is depressed, the machine will automatically assist until the child can breath on their own. Many dental offices don't place this nasotracheal tube as a standard of care.  That doesn't mean that your child isn't recieving good care, it just means they are at increased risk for complications. 

If your child has any complex medical conditions they may not qualify for treatment in-office but we would gladly schedule them at the hospital.  This is because some medical conditions increase risk and therefore require monitoring post-treatment, sometimes over night.  Healthy children can be treated for much cheaper in-office and can be discharged to home within minutes of treatment completion.  

SEDATION BENEFITS:

  • Predictable Outcomes: Treating a potentially uncooperative child while asleep ensures that the quality of care is the absolute best it can be.

  • Atraumatic Experience: Treating an anxious or young child while asleep will ensure that your child won't have heightened dental anxiety for future appointments because there is no memory of the procedure and recovery is much easier.

  • Quick Recovery: Many kids tolerate treatment well but struggle for the post treatment period due to the extended numbness.  When a child is treated while sedated there are no injections or post operative numbness.  Kids wake up happy and cavity free w/ little to no post operative pain.

  • Relatively Inexpensive: To take a child to the hospital operating room it can cost thousands of dollars.  In-office it costs a fraction of that amount ($365 for the first hour).

If you child has dental work that needs to be completed but you want to ensure that your child is treated safely while preventing dental post-traumatic-stress disorder, give us a call.  We can help! :)

(For more information on other sedation options, read more here.) 

Thanks for reading.  I hope this was helpful.  Feel free to call if you have any questions.  385-210-1000.

-Dr. Bart

Pediatric Dentist

Riverton, Herriman, Bluffdale, UT


DECEMBER 2016

Posts: "All I Want for ChristmasDec. 22  


 

"All I Want for Christmas..."

December 22, 2016

As a dentist, naturally, one of my favorite Christmas songs is "All I want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth".  This song was written in the 1940s by a 2nd grade teacher who realized that almost all of the children in his class were missing one or both of their front upper teeth.  So, to keep with the season I thought I'd write a special blog post about timing of tooth loss explaining why 2nd graders tend to be the ones wanting their two front teeth from our favorite North Pole Hermit.  :)

PHASES:

Children typically undergo two phases of tooth loss.

PHASE I:   Phase I consists of transition of the front 8 teeth (4 upper, 4 lower).  This phase typically starts around 6 years of age and ends by age 8 or 9.  Hence, 2nd and 3rd grade being the typical 'Toothless' years.

PHASE II: Phase II consists of losing 12 teeth (4 canines, 8 primary molars).  This phase can start as early as 9 years of age and finishes around 12 years of age but could last until age 14.

There is a wide range of variation from child to child even within the same family.  A few general rules are:

  1. If your child was delayed getting their baby teeth they will generally be delayed in transitioning to their permanent teeth.
  2. Typically the transitioning teeth go from front to back with the exception of the upper canines, they tend to be the last tooth to transition.
  3. Being dentally delayed is not a bad thing.  I like seeing children delayed in getting their permanent teeth because it means more time with the 'practice set'. :) 

In the words of Dr. Seuss:

"And when you get your second set, that's all the teeth you'll ever get!  So, don't chew down trees like beavers do.  If you do you'll lose set number two.  Don't gobble junk like Billy Billings!  They say his teeth have 50 fillings!"

Thanks for reading.  I hope this was helpful.  Feel free to call if you have any questions.  385-210-1000.

-Dr. Bart

Pediatric Dentist

Riverton, Herriman, Bluffdale, UT


NOVEMBER 2016

Posts: With Great Power  Nov. 15  


 

With Great Power...

November 15, 2016

Children are capable of amazing things!  Throughout my years treating children I've been amazed at what young children can accomplish.  I've seen 3 year olds cooperate through procedures that adults would find difficult.  I'm reminded of a quote that I love:

"With great power comes great responsibility!" Uncle Ben- Spiderman

While this statement is true and our children, undoubtedly, as I mentioned above, have great power, it is important for us as parents and dental providers to recognize our children's limits.  While children are capable of hard things, I caution parents that this great power should NOT require FULL responsibility when it comes to oral hygiene (i.e. brushing and flossing). 

There are many studies that show that dexterity and perceptual ability, both crucial requirements for good oral hygiene, are not developed until children are AT LEAST 7-8 years of age.  For this reason, along with lack of motivation, it is recommended that parents, not children, be responsible for at-home brushing and flossing until age 7 or 8.  Putting oral hygiene responsibility on a 3 or 4 year old is bound to result in improper daily cleaning and will therefore result in early childhood tooth decay.  

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • BRUSHING: Most kids go through phases where they refuse to cooperate or they want to do it by themselves.  Children want to be indepedent.  No matter how much your child fights it, complete brushing and flossing even if it means gently restraining them.  Giving in to a child's tantrum will only teach them that "If I scream loud or long enough I can get out of brushing"
  • AGE: Most kids should be able to brush and floss independently by age 7 or 8.  This is the EARLIEST that your child could take on the responsibility of home care.  KEEP IN MIND, MOST 7-8 YEAR OLDS, THOUGH CAPABLE, ARE FORGETFUL AND UNMOTIVATED.  So, I recommend parental supervision even into the teen years.

Thanks for reading.  I hope this was helpful.  Feel free to call if you have any questions.  385-210-1000.

-Dr. Bart

Pediatric Dentist

Riverton, Herriman, Bluffdale, UT


OCTOBER 2016

Posts: Can I Give My Baby a Bottle to Sleep?  Oct. 26  / How to Prepare Your Child for a Dental Visit  Oct. 10


 

Can I Give My Baby a Bottle to Sleep?

October 26, 2016

If there is ONE message I want ALL new parents to hear it is this:

NEVER LET YOUR CHILD FALL ASLEEP WITH A BOTTLE OR SIPP-CUP!!!

The biggest risk factor for developing 'cavities' in a young child is taking a bottle, with a sugar containing substance (i.e. milk, juice, soda, Kool-Aid, etc.), to bed.  Prior to tooth eruption these sugars are relatively harmless but upon emergence into the oral cavity the teeth are exposed to the sugars, which are then converted to acid, which leach minerals from the newly erupted teeth causing cavitation and tooth decay.  When a child falls asleep with a bottle or sippy-cup with milk or juice in it the sugary substance can pool in the child's mouth or at the very least form a film on the tooth surface.  Some parents will leave the bottle in the crib giving the child constant access to the liquid if they awake in the middle of the night.  Because the design of the bottle/sippy-cup deposits the liquid directly behind the upper front teeth, most of the time these cavities can go unnoticed for a VERY long time and often result in early tooth loss, infection, and/or pain.  It is because of this that ALL Pediatric Dentists and Dentists alike adamantly oppose giving children a bottle or sippy-cup at bedtime.  

WHY DO PEOPLE DO IT?

  • IGNORANCE: Parents are unaware of the risks and complications
  • EXHAUSTION: Sleep is in short supply in any household with an infant.  If a bottle helps the child sleep through the night that means more sleep for baby AND for mommy.
  • HABIT: Many infants fall asleep with a bottle or with breastfeeding from birth.  This habit is very hard to break upon eruption of the first tooth.  (It's like taking away your husband's TV remote....)

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • DON'T START: The best way to break a bad habit is to never develop one.  It may sound easier said than done when you're trying to put your screaming child to bed without success but your child will develop a nighttime routine eventually with or without the bottle.  
  • QUIT NOW 
    • COLD TURKEY: I recommend stopping the bottle habit at bedtime immediately.  Undoubtedly this will result in a couple hard nights as the child will likely not sleep well but they will eventually adapt.    
    • SUBSTITUTION: Try putting water in your baby's bottle at bedtime.  If your child is used to falling asleep with milk, gradually dilute the milk over a short period until eventually it's 100% water (i.e. Night 1 = 90% Milk + 10% Water; Night 2 = 80% Milk + 20% Water, etc.). NOTE: EVENTUALLY YOUR CHILD WILL LIKELY REALIZE THAT IT'S MORE WATER THAN MILK AND WILL HAVE A ROUGH NIGHT.  Despite this, stick with it!!!
  • BRUSH: If a parent is unwilling to give up the bottle at bedtime, at the very least, the parent should brush the child's teeth afterward w/ a fluoride toothpaste.  Many parents don't like this idea because they worry that it will wake the child up and put them back at square one.  That may be true unfortunately, but the alternative is putting your baby at risk for severe tooth decay before they can even walk.  

Thanks for reading.  I hope this was helpful.  Feel free to call if you have any questions.  385-210-1000.

-Dr. Bart

Pediatric Dentist

Riverton, Herriman, Bluffdale, UT

 


How to Prepare Your Child for a Dental Visit

October 10, 2016

Children and grown-ups alike are typically scared of the unknown or anxious to new things.  Since the dental office is unfamiliar to most children it is not unusual for children to be hesitant, nervous, or even scared to come in. The good news is, since anxiety in the dental setting is as expected as tummy aches after halloween, pediatric dentists are specialized in reducing anxiety and in ensuring a positive experience for your child.  Not surprisingly, a lot can be done at home to help reduce your child's hesitation in coming to the dentist.  Here are a few things that YOU, as a parent, can do to help your child prepare for his or her dental appointment:

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

BE POSITIVE: Children mimic or shadow parents unease or anxiety.  If mom is nervous for their child's dental appointment then the child will sense that hesitation and imagine the worst.  If mom or dad is relaxed then the child will assume that there is nothing to worry about.  REMEMBER, DENTISTS ARE HERE TO HELP, NOT TO HURT!

TALK POSITIVELY: Children are listening even when we think they are not.  If a mother tells her child, "Junior, you are going to the dentist tomorrow." and then overhears mom or dad talk about how awful their last root canal was, the child will unsurprisingly become fearful.  Conversely if a child only hears the exciting aspects of the dental office, like, "I love going to see Dr. Bart.  He's nice, he sings fun songs, and even gives prizes to big helpers."  then the child will be excited to meet Dr. Bart and will want to be brave in order to get a prize. 

PLAY PRETEND: Children love to role play.  Whether it's having a tea party, putting on a ballet recital, or being the 'nurse' when mommy is 'sick',  kids' imaginations are amazing.  By role playing 'Dentist' with your child they will associate the idea of going to the dentist with FUN.  Some household items can mimic dental equipment: A Recliner = The Dental Chair; A Spoon = The Mirror; A Straw = The Suction; A Flashlight = The Dental Light; A Popsicle Stick = The Tooth Counter/Explorer; be creative.  Let your child pretend to be the dentist and let THEM brush YOUR teeth, floss, and then switch places.  

ESTABLISH RULES: Children are great at exceeding our expectations as long as they know what our expectations are.  Going to the dentist can be fun but just like going to school it's important to follow the rules.  For example: We don't say "No" to Dr. Bart.  We always sit still and keep our hands on our tummies.  If we have a question we need to raise our hands while Dr. Bart is looking in our mouth.  

READ BOOKS: There are lots of books about going to the dentist.  Many of them are very good.  As most dental anxiety comes from the unknown it is good to expose children to the things they'll see while at the dentist.  Because of this, I even wrote and illustrated my own book about going to the dentist called The Tooth Fixer.  (You can read the entire book HERE).  It's a book that compares things done and seen at the dentist with things that they are familiar with.  Here is an example of one of the pages:

BE OPEN & HONEST: Don't try to hide things from your child.  Children will ask questions like, "Will it hurt?" or  "Am I gonna get a shot".  If a parent or the dentist is dishonest with the child in answering these questions it breaks their trust in us.  When a child asks if a filling is going to hurt, I explain to them that fillings don't hurt because I make sure the tooth is sleeping before I start fixing it.  In response to whether or not they will be geting a shot, the answer is "The dentist doesn't give the same kind of shots as the doctor.  When he puts your tooth to sleep you'll feel a pinch in your gums but the pinch will go away in a matter of seconds."  You can demonstrate a small pinch on the back of their hand and explain that the dentist rubs jelly on the gums first in order to make the pinch hardly even noticeable.  Don't go into more detail than is necessary and always present things in a positive way.

As always,  thanks for reading.  We want all patients to be confident and comfortable in our office.  Let us know how we can help you. 385-210-1000.

-Dr. Bart

Pediatric Dentist

Riverton, Herriman, Bluffdale, UT


SEPTEMBER 2016

Posts: At What Age Should My Child First See the Dentist?  Sept. 28Are Cavities Genetic? Sept. 7


At What Age Should My Child First See the Dentist?

September 28, 2016

In the past it has been believed that going to the dentist is not necessary until your child is 5-6 years old, unless the parent has a dental concern.  The reality is that children should be seen much earlier than that for a variety of reasons.  Early dental visits are critical in establishing good oral habits, maintaining a healthy smile, and monitoring your child's growth and development.  The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has released a guideline stating, "Parents should establish a dental home for infants by 12 months of age."  At South Hills Pediatric Dentistry, we couldn't agree more.  Here are the primary reasons for doing so:

PREVENTION

EDUCATION: The first dental visit is as much for the parent as it is for the child.  Not only will the dentist perform an oral exam on your child but a good portion of the first appointment will be spent educating parents on how to maintain a healthy smile throughout childhood.  This information is usually very specific to your child as we base the information on your child's individual risk factors.  Topics discussed typically involve: cavity development, disease transmission, habits, trauma, tooth eruption sequences, teething, diet review, growth patterns, fluoride recommendations, genetics, etc.

RISK ASSESSMENT: For each new patient it's important to determine their individual risk for oral disease.  This assessment helps to develop an individual prevention plan that is specific to your child.  Risk assessment usually involves assessing the child's: fluoride exposure, home care, parental involvement, cavity status, plaque level, dietary habits, food preferences, medical complexity, and family history.

ANTICIPATORY GUIDANCE: Anticipatory guidance is aimed at anticipating future oral problems and taking steps to avoid them.  For example, steps can be taken at a young age to reduce the need for early phase orthodontics or the dentist may anticipate fall related or sport related injury and advise on how to prevent it or manage it if it does occur.

ORAL HYGIENE INSTRUCTION: Oral hygiene instruction (instruction on proper brushing and flossing technique) is good to receive when your child's teeth first come in.  Many parents have a difficult time brushing and flossing their uncooperative or precooperative child's teeth but regardless of cooperation level oral hygiene is indispensable.  The dentist can give invaluable instruction on how to brush the most obstreperous child's teeth.  

EARLY INTEVENTION

ORAL CANCER SCREENING: Every child should have an early cancer screening with every exam.  While rare in children, early diagnosis and intervention are critical in the treatment of these children.

DIAGNOSIS/COLABORATION: Early diagnosis is important for many reasons (See below) but did you know that many systemic concerns have oral manifestations and often pediatric dentists are the first to recognize signs of GERD, Crohns Disease, or Osteogenesis Imperfecta?  Pediatric dentists and pediatricians can work together to ensure early diagnosis of many conditions.

TREATMENT PLANNING: Dental decay can occur as soon as the first tooth comes into the mouth.  Treatment while the lesion is small can halt the progression of the decay before pain, infection, or loss of teeth occurs. Many parents are anxious because they don't know how dental work can be completed without traumatizing their young one.  Many treatment options are available and have far fewer risks than progression of dental infection. 

PERSONALIZED PREVENTION PLAN: Once a risk assessment, screening, and treatment plan are completed/formulated it's possible to determine the best course of action to keep your child healthy.  Some children require more frequent dental visits for monitoring, some may benefit from more regular fluoride application, while some children are determined to be at very low risk for dental infection and their growth and development is such that less frequent visits are needed.  Every child is different so every child's plan can vary.  

So, to sum up this entire blog post.  At what age should your child first see the dentist?

AGE 1

Thanks for reading!!!

For more information, don't hesitate to contact our office.  385.210.1000

- Dr. Bart

Riverton, Herriman, Bluffdale, UT


ARE CAVITIES GENETIC?
September 7, 2016

Frequently I hear parents say things like, "He gets his bad teeth from his dad." or "I've got bad teeth.  Dad has bad teeth.  Junior will undoubtedly have bad teeth too."  So, is there no hope for Junior?  All of us know someone who NEVER brushes or flosses who seems to never get cavities.  Conversely, we all know someone who brushes and flosses religiously who has a mouth-full of fillings.  Is decay genetic, or is there more to it?  

The simple answer is, there is no simple answer.  There are some genetic components that influence a child's susceptibility/likelihood of developing tooth decay but susceptibility does NOT doom Junior to a lifetime of oral disease.  For this week's blogpost I'd like to clarify what aspects of oral health are genetic and what aspect of oral health is behavioral and preventable.  By recognizing what aspects we have control over we can take action to prevent cavities.

OUT OF OUR CONTROL: (GENETIC/INHERITED/AQUIRED)

ENAMEL QUALITY: Enamel is the outer coating of the teeth.  It is the HARDEST substance in the human body.  Harder even than bone.  Under the enamel is a layer called dentin.  Dentin is quite soft.  Enamel is a natural barrier to infection and decay.  One component to tooth decay is poor enamel quality.  Enamel can be thin, brittle, or low in mineral content.  This can be genetic or the enamel quality can be affected during development.  Typically, enamel is resistant to cavitation as long as the oral pH is above 5.5.  If enamel quality is poor cavitation occurs easier.

SALIVARY QUALITY/QUANTITY: Saliva is good for more than shooting spit-wads.  Saliva has components that not only assist with digestion but buffer acids.  Cavities form because the sugars we consume are converted to acid by the bacteria that live in our mouths.  These acids burn holes in our teeth by leaching the minerals from the teeth.  Good quality saliva can buffer these acids quickly and within 30 minutes our oral acid level is normal.  If individuals have poor salivary production, low buffering capacity, or take medications that inhibit salivary production they will be at higher risk of getting cavities despite their best efforts because the mouth can't resist those acids as well.

GASTRICK REFLUX: Individuals with frequent gastric reflux will develop erosion of their tooth structure.  This erosion thins the enamel and makes the individual more prone to getting cavities.  

TRANSMISSION/BACTERIAL COLONIZATION: THIS MAY BE THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR that determines why people who have bad teeth tend to have children with bad teeth.  In order to get cavities, you must have three things.  Teeth, Bacteria, and Sugar.  Believe it or not, EVERYONE has bacteria that live in their mouth.  These bacteria are not present in the womb but shortly after we are born varying bacterial types take up residence in our mouths.  So, how do we get these bacteria?  Just like any disease, bacteria are transmitted from person to person or from object to person.  Children are constantly putting things in their mouths but babies are also constantly getting kisses from Mom, Dad, brothers, sisters, neighbors, Aunt Betty, etc.  Also, parents often clean dropped pacifiers by licking/sucking them clean and then putting the pacifier back into the child's mouth.  If siblings or children share utensils or cups they're also sharing their cavity bugs with one another.  Now, not all bacteria are bad.  Many bacteria in our digestive systems are vital to acquiring adequate nutrition from the foods we eat.  Some bacteria though ARE bad.  These bad bacteria are NOT present in everyone's mouth or if they are present they're present in varying levels. If mom or dad have bad teeth, it's because they happen to have the 'bad' bacterial strain that causes cavities and if mom and dad have those bacteria studies show that 87% of children have the same bacteria as their parents.  This likelihood is even greater if the parent does not take care of their own teeth and has active decay. Unfortunately, once the cavity forming bacteria take up residence during childhood there's little to do to evict them.  

WITHIN OUR CONTROL: (BEHAVIORAL/HABITUAL)

DIET: As I mentioned above, cavities form because the bacteria in our mouths convert the sugars that we eat or drink into acid.  These acids make holes in our teeth.  Sugar is in almost everything that we eat so we can't realistically remove sugar completely from our diets.  We CAN reduce the frequency of sugar intake.  Sugary drinks should be limited to mealtime only.  Candy and soda should be limited to special occasions only. By limiting sugar consumption to mealtime only we ensure that our mouths can recover between meals.  

HYGIENE: We brush and floss in order to knock the bacteria (aka Sugar Bugs) off of our teeth.  Unfortunately, children don't have the dexterity or perceptual ability to brush by themselves until around age 7-8.  If sugar-bugs aren't knocked off effectively 1-2 times per day cavities are likely to develop.

INHERITED BEHAVIORS/HABITS: A key aspect to cavity development is behavior.  Where do children get their eating habits and hygiene behaviors from?  Parents of course.  If mom and dad are candy junkies their kids are likely to pick up on those behaviors.  If mom and dad are brushing and flossing daily, their children tend to have a heightened awareness to oral health as well. 

FLUORIDE: Fluoride has been proven to reduce the prevalence of tooth decay.  Fluoride is incorporated into developing teeth to make them more resistant to acid.  Fluoride is so advantages that communities throughout the US put the fluoride into our water supplies.  Besides water fluoride topical fluoride is very important.  High concentrations are applied by your dentist but we recommend fluoride toothpaste for ALL AGES.  If your little one can't spit reliably though we recommend only a light smear.  

So, are cavities genetic?  In my humble opinion...  minimally so.  An individual with bad genetics is more PRONE to getting cavities due to susceptibility but there are many aspects of oral health that can be modified that can increase a child's chances of staying healthy

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  1. Have your child seen by the dentist by age 1 in order to determine your child's personal prevention plan.
  2. Establish good brushing habits AS SOON AS the first tooth comes in.
  3. Parents, take care of your own teeth.  By getting your cavities fixed the load of bacteria present in your mouth decreases making it less likely to transmit these bacteria to your kids.
  4. Don't share utensils, cups, etc.
  5. Don't clean pacifiers with your mouth.
  6. Don't give into the tantrums.  If a child fights you every time you go to brush their teeth, never give in.  They'll eventually learn that it's not worth struggling and they'll submit.  If you give in to the tantrums, they'll just learn that they can get out of it by screaming harder.
  7. Chew sugar-free gum after each meal.
  8. If your child has acid reflux, get them evaluated by their pediatrician.
  9. Make a family rule, "Water only between meals!"
  10. Healthy snack options should be the only snacks available (e.g. fresh vegetables, fruits, string cheese)
  11. Parents should brush FOR their children each morning and night.

Thanks for reading!!!

For more information, don't hesitate to contact our office.  385.210.1000

- Dr. Bart

Riverton, Herriman, Bluffdale, UT


AUGUST 2016

Posts: Why Save Baby Teeth? Aug. 31


WHY SAVE BABY TEETH?
August 31, 2016

Quite often I’m asked, “What’s the sense in fixing it, it’s just a baby tooth?”.  It’s understandable that parents question the need to fix a tooth that will only be in the child’s mouth for a short time.  Honestly, prior to my specialty training I thought the same way.  It wasn’t until I saw the effects of primary tooth neglect that I realized the importance of the ‘baby teeth’ and their care.

Primary teeth have many important purposes:

  1. Function
  2. Speech
  3. Cosmetics
  4. ‘Space Holders’/Tooth Guidance

FUNCTION: It’s clear that without teeth children cannot effectively chew.  What’s less clearly understood is that a tooth doesn’t have to be missing to be non-functional.  Tooth pain is one of the leading causes for school absences in the United States.  Tooth pain is very real and can prevent a child from being able to focus in school.  Tooth pain or missing teeth can also affect nutrition.  So, reason number 1 for maintaining and fixing baby teeth is to prevent early tooth loss and dental pain.  By keeping your child’s teeth healthy we ensure that they can continue to function properly not only by allowing them to chew physically but healthy teeth keep your child intellectually and nutritionally ready to take on the world. 

SPEECH: Children are very adaptable.  If your child loses a baby tooth at an early age, your child will likely compensate for the tooth loss and adapt there speech so as to be understood.  While this adaptability is great, some of these compensatory speech patterns can become permanent and will effect their speech throughout life.  Maintaining the anterior teeth will minimize these compensatory speech changes and improve their communication skills at the most influential time in their lives for learning.  

COSMETICS: Cosmetics are important to both the child and the parent.  Early loss of a tooth, particularly in the front, can result in poor cosmetics.  Often peers can be very cruel during the grade-school years, which means bullying and ridicule that can cause a child to loose self-confidence. While there are situations where medical necessity of extraction out weighs cosmetic concern it's our goal to maintain esthetics in all situations possible. 

SPACE HOLDERS/TOOTH GUIDANCE:  One of the least recognized purposes of the primary teeth within the general public is the baby tooth’s role in maintaining space for the adult teeth to come in.  When a baby tooth is lost prematurely the teeth posteriorly (ie further back in the mouth) will drift or tip forward into the space needed for the adult teeth that replace the baby teeth around the ages of 11-12.  This drifting makes orthodontic correction much more difficult, more expensive, and it lengthens treatment time for the orthodontist.  Restoring primary teeth to health while they are present ensures that decay and infection do not progress to the point where loss of space is possible.  Note: This space loss doesn't only occur in situations where a tooth is lost or removed.  Space loss also occurs when decay between the teeth reaches a point where the tooth structure is compromised and the adjacent tooth will tip/drift into the space provided by the cavity.  

The above mentioned purposes of primary teeth certainly justify fixing primary teeth whenever possible.  Other reasons we don't want to neglect tooth decay in the primary dentition is because we want to prevent progression of decay to the point where pain or infection present themselves.  An abscess present on a baby tooth has the potential to spread into the soft tissues of the face, causing a facial cellulitis (ie swelling of the face) and in some cases can be life threatening.  Abscess' of the primary teeth can also alter the development of the permanent teeth as they develop in the bone beneath the baby tooth.  

There ARE some situations where restoration of primary teeth is not indicated but those situations are case based and more infrequent than the indications for restoration.  At South Hills Pediatric Dentistry we want your child to be as healthy and happy as possible and your child's teeth play a huge role in their overall health and wellness.  

For more information, don't hesitate to contact our office.  385.210.1000

- Dr. Bart

Riverton, Herriman, Bluffdale, UT

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry American Dental Association
American Association of Orthodontists Invisalign Preferred Provider
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