5 Most Common Dental Problems in Children

Just as the needs of dental care change as children grow, so do the potential dental problems which may arise. Understanding common dental problems during childhood is a great way to help your child pursue the best possible oral health.

Will your child have any of these five common dental problems? We handle these and other oral issues at Joyful Smiles Pediatric Dentistry in a child friendly, stress-free atmosphere. Check out these probable dental problems and remedies:

Tooth decay

Often called nursing bottle syndrome, childhood tooth decay occurs when the baby’s teeth are in regular contact with milk sugars or other liquids. When children fall asleep with unswallowed milk, they are at a higher risk of tooth decay.

There are a variety of things you can do to protect against the loss of the toddler tooth. Use plain water or a pacifier to give your baby warmth and peace during the day, rather than a bottle of milk or juice. Also, make sure to stop using the bottle to bring your baby into bed. It will take several hours to expose the baby’s teeth to sugars. Last, ask the dentist about the need for fluoride in your child. Treatment with fluoride is very effective in stopping the growth of cavities.

Tongue thrusting

Babies who are breastfed or bottle-fed will have a natural tongue thrust but they should develop new patterns of swallowing and speaking as they get older. It may cause speech disorders and orthodontic issues as the tongue thrust continues past the infant stage and into early childhood.

If it looks like the tongue has too much forward movement during swallowing and speaking, you can tell that your kid has this problem. The tongue sometimes pushes into the back of the teeth. A pediatric dentist may prescribe different therapies to resolve the issue, such as an open bite correction system called a “tongue crib” and/or orofacial myology. This therapy corrects tongue, jaw, and lip placement and improves the swallowing habits.

Sucking thumb

Thumb sucking is a natural reflex which helps children feel safe and learn about the world. But once the permanent teeth come in, that habit can change the teeth’s structure and create problems of alignment. Aggressive thumb sucking can often also damage baby teeth. Please consult your pediatric dentist in Tinley Park IL if you are concerned about this or notice changes in the primary teeth of your toddler.

Canker sores

Canker sores also occur when children are ill or the seasons alter. Food allergies can cause them too. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for these sores but in about two weeks they’ll heal on their own. Dr. McDonald recommends a bland diet to avoid irritating the sores, and stay away from spicy and crunchy foods. Make sure to keep your child hydrated and don’t use topical creams over-the-counter, because they can only irritate the sore more.

Grinding teeth

You may be surprised to learn that many kids find teeth grinding normal. This practice usually stops when the permanent teeth start coming in. In cases where the grinding gets worse when the permanent teeth erupt, treatment may be required. Grinding can cause persistent headaches and damage the tooth enamel in children and adults alike. The pediatric dentist can prescribe a mouthguard at night to protect the teeth against the harmful effects of grinding.

At Joyful Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we treat these common problems everyday! We are one of the best pediatric dental practices in Tinley Park IL. Choose your best pediatric dentist in Tinley Park IL.

Teeth Grinding in Children: Here’s What You Should Know

Maybe you know that irritating grinding sound if your little one happens to be a teeth grinder. Teeth grinding is normal in adolescents, or what we call, bruxism. Three of 10 babies, usually in response to stress, jaw growth, malocclusion, loss of teeth, or other discomforts, such as allergies, grind or clench their teeth. Children usually get out of teeth as they enter their teenage years.

Here are some reasons why your child might be teeth grinding:


One child who grinds his teeth while sleeping can be linked to negative emotions like stress and it may be a mechanism for coping that.


Teething has been related to grinding teeth in babies. They prefer to do so because it makes their pain better, even whileusing hands to soothe sore muscles.


It is the poor alignment of the teeth which may irritate the jaw. Studies have shown that Malocclusion and Bruxism have a close link with 12.75 percent children who have both conditions.

Many children who grind their teeth to sleep don’t know that they do it. In reality, they don’t feel pain in their jaw, nose, neck or pain on their shoulders when they wake up in the morning. In most cases, if a parent or sibling have not asked them about it, the teeth would go overlooked.

Consequences of teeth grinding in children

Nonetheless, children wake up with jaw pain, shoulder pain, pain in the neck and headaches. Grinding of teeth can cause a variety of dental problems including broken teeth and gums to a misaligned jaw. Your pediatric dentist in Tinley Park will tell you that grinding teeth is not easy to handle. Dental grinding can have serious consequences, which can lead to tooth fractures and damage to the temporomandibular joint known as the TMJ when left untreated.

Signs that your child is a teeth grinder

The first step to help your child recover from teething is to identify and treat the problem. Teeth grinding signs typically involve: grinding sounds as your child sleeps, tightness complaints or jaw-pain, complaints of headaches, ears, or facial pain, complaints about tooth sensitivity,weared or loose teeth, and more.

Teeth grinding does not go away on its own and if not treated by a professional pediatric dentist, it will only lead to complications in the future. To get the best pediatric dentist near you in Tinley Park IL, check us out!


Due to the extension of the Stay at Home Order and recommendations of the American Dental Association our office will continue providing emergency dental services ONLY throughout the month of May.

For all dental emergencies please call our office at 708-633-8700 between 9-3pm. For after hour emergencies please call (708)-580-6057.

It is our hope that we will resume normal business hours in the month of June.

Thank you for your patience, understanding and commitment to everyone’s health and safety during this difficult time. We are still here if you need us!

#staysafe #stayhealthy #stillseeingemergencies #wewillseeyousoon!

Erupting Teeth in Kids and How To Deal With It

Although it is a natural part of dental development, your baby’s teething is not a picnic. This cycle in which each of their twenty primary teeth slowly erupts through the gums usually starts about their sixth to ninth month, and may not stop until around three years old.

These frequent eruptions of teeth will cause your baby to bite, gnaw, drool or rub their ears. Teething can also mess with sleep patterns, decrease appetite and cause gum swelling and discomfort that can turn your normally happy baby into an unhappy one.

Managing these episodes of teething is one of the most common subjects parents bring up with their dentists. There is no need for medical intervention because teething is supposed to happen unless the infant also has vomiting, rashes, fever or excessive irritability associated with teething episodes. The best you can do in most situations, is to make your child more secure. Here are some things that will help you do just that.

Cold items for gnawing

Rubber teething rings, wet washing cloths or chilled pacifiers can give your child something to gnaw on and alleviate intense gum pain while the chilled temperatures help reduce pain. But be sure the products aren’t frozen, since extreme cold temperatures will burn their skin.

Gum massage

During a teething episode, you should massage your child’s gums with one of your fingertips to ease the throbbing pressure from the tooth that erupts. Just make sure your finger is clean and don’t use any numbing agents unless your dentist or pediatric tells you to.

OTC medication as prescribed

Using over- the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, you can alleviate mild to moderate teething pain in dosages suited to your child’s age. But don’t apply rubbing alcohol in any pain reliever to the gums or massage— both procedures can burn the skin. And, as described before, with the guidance and supervision of a healthcare professional, just apply numbing agents such as Benzocaine.

In addition to these practices, ensure regular dental check-ups are carried out to track the teething process to ensure that everything is running normally. To remember: although the teething cycle may sometimes seem terrifying, it won’t last forever.

It’s important that you find a reliable pediatric dentist near you to get professional help during your child’s teething phase. Get the best pediatric dentist near you in Tinley Park IL by clicking here.

The Joys Of Our Practice

THERE ARE PROBABLY good things to be said about most of the practices out there, but we’re confident that we’re one of the special ones because, in the center of our practice, you will find examples of a short but potent word, JOY.

The Meaning Of Joy!

We believe JOY is a choice purposefully made. A choice that our team makes daily in hopes of becoming a source of joy to our patients. We believe Joy is constant, and strive to mimic that in our level of service to others.

Our Patients!

As much pride, as we take in our facility and the great people working in it, what really makes us special is our wonderful patients! While we hope that every patient leaves our practice, taking a little sparkle of joy home with them, it is our patients who give us that spark of joy and energy; we need to pursue our dreams of creating joyful smiles.

Show and Tell!

We believe that we can show you better than we can tell you. We invite you to take a look at our short video and tell us if you can feel the joy!

Coronavirus Health and Safety Tips

CORONAVIRUS IS AFFECTING all of our lives right now as we work together to slow the spread of the virus, keep everyone safe, and stay positive. Unfortunately, there’s also a lot of misinformation going around, and we want to make sure our patients are well-informed.

Symptoms and Testing

The main symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, shortness of breath, a dry cough, and sometimes tiredness. Please don’t confuse it with seasonal allergies, which mostly involve congestion, itchy throat, and sneezing, or the flu, which includes vomiting, diarrhea, runny nose, coughing, sore throat, aches, and fatigue. Until tests for COVID-19 are widely available, only people exhibiting the typical COVID-19 symptoms should seek testing.

The number of confirmed cases is likely to go up as more tests become available. Higher numbers might seem alarming, but remember that it won’t represent an increase in the number of people who have COVID-19, it will represent an increase in the number of people who have been tested, which is a big step in the right direction. The more information we have about who has the virus, the easier it will be to contain and ultimately treat it.

Social Distancing and Protecting At-Risk Demographics

Why are we being encouraged to avoid large gatherings and work from home if possible? Coronavirus spreads person-to-person through close contact, and when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and germs get on their hands or surfaces, other people touch. Older adults and those with respiratory problems or compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable, and the best way to protect them is by following social distancing recommendations.

Hand-Washing and the Power of Soap

Because there is currently no vaccine for COVID-19, washing our hands frequently is one of the best ways that we can slow the spread of the virus. Thanks to simple chemistry, regular soap is a highly effective weapon against coronavirus. These microscopic germs have a fatty layer that holds them together, and when the fatty layer comes in contact with soap, it breaks apart, and the virus is destroyed.

This is why washing our hands is so effective. We should make sure to take at least 20 seconds and get every surface, then dry our hands thoroughly. Hand sanitizer with 60% or more alcohol content is a decent (but less effective) substitute. It’s also important to avoid touching our faces as much as possible.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Surfaces

Washing our hands is great, but it’s even better if we can clean the germs off the things we touch. We should be disinfecting our electronic devices and the surfaces in our homes and workspaces. Don’t forget doorknobs and light switches! Soap and water, alcohol-based cleaners, or bleach are all excellent options, but vinegar hasn’t been shown to be effective in this case. Make sure to give those surfaces a good scrub, not just a single swipe!

Getting Information from the Best Sources

As healthcare professionals, our top priority is ensuring that our patients have the best information in times like these, particularly with such a serious subject where the situation is changing rapidly. To learn more about the coronavirus and what you can do to help slow the spread, go to the CDC’s website. In the meantime, remember that taking good care of your teeth and gums is just as important now as ever!

Stay safe and happy. We look forward to seeing you soon!

How to Make a Dental Visit Enjoyable For Kids

Going to the dentist is a trip that most children fear. As a parent, it might be a challenging experience to say the least to take your child to the dentist, because most of the time it is followed by reluctance, restraint, and even shrill cries! Hence, following are the 5 tricks you can try on your child to make the next trip to the pediatric dentist an enjoyable experience for your children to ease the pain.

Positive role play

It’s important that you educate your child in a positive manner before going to the dentist. Play a dentist’s part, and let your child play him / herself. Making such role-playing games fun for your kid is up to you. Do what makes you happy with him or her.

Be polite and playful during the process, for example, to give the impression that this is how dentists are. This step is a must because if the child is not afraid of the dentist himself, he might not fear the clinic encounter either.

Start early

This too is a precautionary measure. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly recommends that parents start using a wet cloth or a clean gauze to clean the teeth of an infant as soon as the first tooth emerges.

According to the AAP, it not only ensures that the teeth remain clean but also offers a sensory experience for the infant. This sensory experience is something that the child needs to get used to as it helps to get over the fear of the dental clinic in future.

Accompany with their favorite toys

Comforting your child during the dentist’s trip would only do the child’s psyche good. Do you wonder why your child can’t stay away from its toys? It is basically because in those toys, he or she finds unprecedented happiness.

Therefore, retaining what makes them happy during a trip that they might otherwise fear, would only ease their experience during the trip. Likewise, keep your child involved in friendly discussions, or their favorite music. The goal is to console the kid while on the trip.

Let them watch you and learn

As with any other pediatric experience, a child under the age of 8 has generally no idea what to expect. This lack of knowledge of the unknown will act further as a stress for the kid. To solve this, take your child to the dentist on your own appointments, and let him or her watch the whole operation.

Ensure that you are acting completely natural during this period, and make the experience look absolutely painless. Children learn by experiences, and the fact that you are completely unaffected by the dentist’s experience would only instill confidence in your child during his or her own trip to the dentist.

Last but not the least, it’s important to find a pediatric dentist that your kid would love. Although that’s hard to find, we’ve got that covered for you! You can get the best pediatric dentist in Tinley Park IL. Tap to know more.

Cavities in Children and How To Prevent Them

Knowing cavities

To know how cavities occur in a child’s tooth, let’s first get to know about the tooth itself. The tooth has three layers. The surface of it is the hardest part of the tooth, called the ‘enamel’. Beneath the enamel is a much softer layer, which is called the ‘dentin’. Beneath the dentin is the innermost layer of the tooth, which is called the ‘pulp’. The pulp harbors nerve tissues in the tooth, which are responsible for transferring distress signals such as sensitivity and pain.

Cavities first form on the outermost layer of the tooth- the enamel. When plaque (the sticky substance on the teeth) is left uncleaned from the surface, the bacteria in the plaque react with sugar to release acids that erode and wear out the enamel. This is the stage when the experience might not be very painful but it calls for urgent treatment.

Once the acids get to the dentin, it doesn’t take long to penetrate the soft layer completely to reach the pulp of the tooth. This can lead to a condition called ‘pulpitis’ and calls for a root canal treatment. These stages are mostly associated with a lot of toothaches.

However, cavities are absolutely preventable and yet, is largely prevalent among children. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP),

“Although dental caries are largely preventable, they remain the most common chronic disease of children aged 6 to 11 years and adolescents aged 12 to 19 years. Tooth decay is four times more common than asthma among adolescents aged 14 to 17 years.”

To put an end to this widespread dental disease in children across the world, let’s take a look at some simple steps to prevent cavities in the first place.

How to prevent cavities in children?

Cavities in children can be prevented by following these 5 simple tips:

    • Maintain good oral hygiene in your child. Ensure brushing and flossing twice a day.
    • Check on their diet and keep them away from too much sugar and starch intake.
    • Get dental sealants for your kids to seal the pits of the back teeth.
    • Use fluoride toothpaste for your child to keep their enamels strong.
    • Visit a pediatric dentist at least twice a year.

To get the best assurance for your child’s oral health, choose the best pediatric dentist in the first place! Click here to get the best pediatric dentist near you in Tinley Park for preventive dental care.

Celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month With Joyful Smiles!

It’s National Children’s Dental Health Month! Help us join the fight against plaque? If you know us, you know our practice likes to have fun! We want to get all of our readers to join us as we put together a team of heroes who are exceptionally good at taking care of their teeth!

This month, when you come to our office and make your superhero pledge to brush and floss, you can enter our coloring contest for a chance to win a prize!

Participating Is Easy!

Step 1: Download a copy of our coloring sheet

Step 2: Post your finished work to Facebook, tag our location, and make your post public

Step 3: Receive a raffle entry to win a prize!

Share Your Coloring Sheet And Enter To Win A Prize!

We are giving away a 🚨$50 Gift Card to Gizmos Fun Factory 🚨

to one lucky “dental defender,” so make sure you join us in our fight against plaque!

Visit our Facebook page for more information and updates!

Things To Look For In Your Pediatric Dentist

First things first- the dentist that you choose for your child must be a certified one. Not every dentist in the world is certified to become a pediatric dentist. It takes two extra years of training to become a pediatric dentist. Having said that, once you do get a pediatric dentist, you must look for certain qualities to ensure that the dentist is just right for your kid.

Taking a child to the dentist’s clinic could be a tough job. Let’s face it! Even adults are scared of going to the dentist. However, to make sure that this fear doesn’t drip down to our children, here are 5 things you should look for in a pediatric dentist to ensure that your kid’s oral health never goes compromised:

1. Experience

The pediatric dentist that you choose for your kid must be experienced in the field for at least 3-5 years. Some of us may believe that young dentists are the best when it comes to treating little kids, which to some extent is true. However, older dentists still widely remain the best choice.

2. A preventive approach

Does the pediatric dentist have a preventive approach? A pediatric dentist with a curative approach would only provide dental treatment to the kid to fix a problem. A pediatric dentist with a preventive approach would also take measures to ensure that other problems don’t arise in the future.

3. Compassion

A pediatric dentist should not treat a kid like they would treat an adult. There should be a lot of care, compassion, and delicacy in the way the dentist treats the child. If your pediatric dentist does not show these traits, maybe it’s time for a change.

4. Playfulness 

Ideally, a pediatric dentist should not restrict anything on the basis of the clinic’s norms. Rather, the dentist should rather encourage a playful environment for the kid, somewhat like what’s shown in the picture below:

Child-friendly environment - Joyful Smiles Pediatric Dentistry

Does it even look like a dental clinic that a child would be scared of? What if you had a chance to take your child to this clinic? We can help you do exactly that! You can get here the best pediatric dentist in Tinley Park IL .