A guide to your child’s dental health care

Has the first tooth of your infant arrived? Are you guessing when to inculcate the regular brushing habit in your child? This post has especially been created to deal into the general FAQs of parents, especially the first-timers! The anxiety quotient among new mums will to some extent be relieved on going through these general questions that have occurred to them at some point of time or the other!

  1. When Should My Child Start Brushing?

While the baby’s first tooth appears, you are not to worry. This is because tooth care should start off even before the first tooth appears. Teeth, simply because they are not visible, does not mean that they are not there. A baby’s teeth start emerging as early as the second trimester of pregnancy. By the time they are born, as many as 20 teeth are present inside the jaws. Therefore a tooth care regime for infants is equally important. Here are some tips on how you would start off with the job:

  • Use a clean, damp, cloth, wrap it on your fingers and rub the gums on both the jaws of the baby, even before he or she starts teething.
  • As soon as the very first tooth appears, start off with the daily brushing regime. Use a fluoride toothpaste – only a tiny bit of it every time. Preferably use one with American Dental Association (ADA’s) seal of acceptance.
  • Once several adjacent teeth start appearing, start flossing in between them.

Make sure that as a responsible parent, you keep an eye on some important facts and they are:

  • Around the age of 2, your child should learn to spit while brushing.
  • Kids who are 3 and above should use only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
  • Kids younger than 8, should always be supervized while brushing, as they are more likely to swallow toothpaste!
  1. When should my baby quit bottle feeding?

Often, putting a baby to sleep with the feeding bottle is very convenient. Beware, as this can seriously harm the baby’s teeth. When the sugars from milk or baby feed remain on a baby’s teeth for hours, they can eat away at the enamel. This condition is known as bottle mouth. The signs and symptoms of a bottle mouth are pitted or discolored front teeth. Kids with severe bottle mouth problems are likely to have of their front teeth pulled out. This should be a cause of serious concern especially when permanent teeth are far from emerging.

Babies should have specific times for drinking each day. Sucking on a bottle throughout the day can be equally damaging to young teeth. Babies from the tender age of 6 months are encouraged to switch from a bottle to a cup. By the age of 12 months, they’ll have the motor skills and coordination that are needed to use the cup on their own.

  1. How to keep my baby away from cavities?

Cavities are formed due to food particles that are left over. Bacteria start feeding on these foods and release acids. The latter is responsible for softening the enamel until holes or cavities are formed. Hence, ways to keep cavities at bay are one of the most important causes of concern among parents! The following tips could help deal with cavities efficiently:

  • Avoid certain foods– sugary foods like gums, candies, juices etc. should be avoided. Even if they are consumed sometimes, rinse the baby’s mouth thoroughly such that no sugar content is left-back.
  • Get adequate amounts of fluoride for your baby– Fluoride aids in strengthening the enamel of the teeth thus making it difficult for acids to penetrate this hard layer. Quite often, the local water supply is fluoridated. Otherwise, you need to consult your pediatric dentist to suggest the appropriate fluoride toothpaste for your child!

Fluoride levels should be adequate since too much of fluoride might be responsible for tooth discoloration again! Thus consulting your kid’s dentist is crucial.

  • Stick to a healthy oral hygiene– The regular flossing and twice-daily brushing regime should continue. This ensures that food particles are left back in your baby’s mouth! Brushing especially after major meals is most significant.
  • Application of Sealants by the pediatric dentist – Sealants are especially applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (or the molars). They are resin-made thin protective covering for the chewing surfaces that prevent food crumbs from entering the hard-to-reach crevices of the back teeth!
  1. What Is Orthodontia?

Often, in case of children, straightness of their teeth is adversely affected. This usually happens due to the untimely tooth loss in children (on account of sports injuries, cavities, etc.). Premature loss of teeth creates a space that provides room for the adjacent teeth to shift slightly. Orthodontic treatment in such cases should start at an early age. Such corrective treatments can nowadays star as early as the age of 7.

Often if children are troublesome in wearing devices studded with metals and wires, plastic aligners are also available to serve similar purposes. According to dentists, manipulation of teeth at a younger is indeed easier and more effective.

  1. When Should My Child See the Dentist?

The ADA (American Dental Association) recommends that children should start seeing the dentist by their first birthday. At this first visit, the dentist explains proper brushing and flossing techniques and does a preliminary exam of the baby’s teeth.

If a child seems to be at risk of cavities or other problems, the dentist might start applying topical fluoride even before all teeth come in! Fluoride hardens the tooth enamel, thus keeping dental cavities – the most common childhood dental menace – or dental carries away!

Many individuals are often under a myth that baby teeth do not need significant care as they are not permanent ones. This article was indeed created to heavily bust this myth. Baby teeth create room for permanent teeth in future. Premature loss of baby teeth due to lack of proper care and hygiene rather creates room for other teeth to shift and destroy the alignment of your child’s permanent teeth! Thus baby teeth are as important as permanent teeth and calls for proper dental care.

Does your child need a root canal therapy?

People often question whether it is really important to save a baby’s tooth! The general notion goes that baby tooth is not that important as they are not permanent ones. But this is not true. Saving baby tooth is equally important because they are responsible for speech development, chewing and most importantly, the alignment of newly developing permanent teeth. Premature loss of infant teeth could therefore lead to serious consequences.

So, what impact does baby tooth loss have?

The baby tooth holds space open for the permanent tooth to emerge behind it in future. If it falls out prematurely, the remaining teeth might shift their position. This ultimately affects the alignment of permanent teeth. All this happens because all baby teeth do not fall off at the same time. Hence a premature gap created would create room for others to shift!

It goes without mentioning that all teeth whether it is the case of adults, children or teenagers with newly erupted permanent tooth, may undergo a root canal therapy. Newly erupted permanent tooth holders very rarely face the condition of the tooth roots remaining underdeveloped which calls for a root canal ultimately.

When is a Root Canal needed?

In case of children, deep gone cavities or a serious sports injury (like the one caused by a ball hitting your kid’s mouth) can result in a pulp damage. Since the pulp houses the nerve, blood vessels and other connective tissues, it is an important part of growing teeth. In adult teeth the nerve within the pulp functions in sending the pain signals to your brain. Sometimes this functionality gets damaged too. Therefore, pulp damage gets detected at later stages when there is no other option but to pull it out.

General symptoms that hint at a possible RCT

Generally speaking, ‘pain’ is the most common indicator of any dental procedure. In case of a tooth infection too, pain is the primary indicator. A detailed examination helps your dentist to determine whether the infection has gone down to the tooth roots and affected the pulp. Before getting into the details of the various dental examination procedures, let us have a glimpse of the common symptoms:

✓ The pain would be severe enough to affect chewing

✓Sensitivity to too hot or too cold foods and beverages (particularly one that persists more than 30 seconds after the stimulus has been removed)

✓ Gradual darkening of the tooth

✓ Swelling and inflammation near the gums.

✓ Appearance of a white pimple on the gums.

✓ Sensitivity might be triggered by highly sweetened or acidic foods too

How is your child diagnosed for undergoing a root canal therapy?

Detection of a tooth and pulp damage is the most important part. For this, your endodontist adopts some dental examinations that help him determine upon a root canal for your child. The tests conducted include:


Dental x-rays are essential to visualize the condition inside your tooth below the gum line.

This is the most common technique used by dentists to detect the need for a root canal. It aids him or her to find out underlying infections, if any. Digital X-rays are a trend now. They come with added advantages like:

✓ Lesser radiation

✓ Real time viewing of your tooth’s inner part

✓ Better vision of the entire structure from various angles.

✓ Lesser waiting time before the process.

So, parents who were earlier concerned about their kids unnecessarily being exposed to unwanted rays need not worry anymore!

A very common observation called ‘radiolucency’ is a dark spot around the root of the infected tooth. Radiolucency immediately calls for a root canal. It certainly goes without saying that the X-ray testing method is a painless one.

Thermal Testing:

The technique of thermal testing is where your child’s teeth are exposed to hot and cold temperatures. The way the teeth react to these stimuli tells your pediatric dentist about the condition of the tooth’s nerve tissue. If a tooth responds painfully to both the extremes (hot or cold), it indicates that a root canal is required. Some children might feel the pain while heat is applied and get a relief with the cold touch.

The most important determining factor for your child’s root canal is however the duration of the response. A healthy tooth may be sensitive to these temperatures, but will stop hurting almost immediately after the stimulus is removed. An infected tooth on the other hand, will ache and the pain will linger even after 30 seconds of removing the hot or cold touch.

Once your child’s endodontist recommends a root canal you might be perhaps be terrified at the thought of sensitivity and pain that it may result in. But wait! With modern sedation dentistry techniques, pain killers and advanced dental procedures, root canal therapy for kids have become as easy and less time consuming as that for adults.

5 Effective tips for Preventing Dental Anxiety in Children

Dental anxiety is a serious problem. Studies have shown that people who suffer from dental anxiety have worse oral health. I’ll explain the 5 most effective tips for beating dental anxiety and preventing dental anxiety in children.

Kids Dental Care

1. Do not wait until you are in extreme pain to visit the dentist.

Only visiting the dentist when you are in extreme pain is the worst thing you can do if you are afraid of the dentist. Once a tooth becomes very painful you are likely going to require a root canal or an extraction. Root canals and extractions are unpleasant and will only serve to reinforce your dental fear. You should visit you dentist regularly every 6 months, and at the first sign of any tooth discomfort.

2. Find the right dentist

It is important to find a caring dentist who is able to put you at ease. Ask friends and family members if they can recommend a good caring dentist. Before you book an appointment with your dentist make sure to check the testimonials.

Food For Thought: Don’t keep your search limited to a certain channel, for example – Yelp Reviews. Make sure to consider other major platforms like Google Reviews, too.

3. Openly discuss your dental anxiety with your dentist

Tell you dentist that you have dental anxiety and explain what it is that you are scared of.

4. Consider medications and general anesthesia

If you suffer from severe dental anxiety, discuss the option of administering sedation like diazepam, or nitrous oxide. Anxiolytics like valium can acutely help anxious patients cope up with their dental treatment. Many dental practices offer NO2, which can help patients feel relaxes during the procedure.

Dentists can do most dental procedures under general anesthesia, but it is a last resort. Your dentist will help you know what will suit your needs the best.

5. Have good oral hygiene

You should be brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss once a day. Having healthy teeth and gums is the best way to avoid the dentists drill.

How to prevent dental anxiety in children

If you are a parent who is afraid of the dentist it is very important not to let any of that fear pass onto your children. Children are perceptive and impressionable, if they see that a parent is afraid of the dentist they will naturally become afraid of the dentist too. Do not let your children know about your fear of the dentist.

Here are some tips to ensure children to not develop dental anxiety.

  1. Talk about dental visits in a positive way.
  2. If you are scared of the dentist schedule your appointments on a different day than your children’s appointments.
  3. It is never too young to start bringing your child to the dentist for regular visits. Children under the age of 2 should simply experience time in the dental chair. From the age of 2 children should start having proper checkups and from the age of 4, getting cleans.
  4. Always give plenty of positive reinforcement and praise for good behavior at the dentist.

Proper care, treatment and restorations are necessary and critical to preventing the decay from becoming worse. Call +1 708-794-9526 your own Pediatric Dentistry today to schedule your appointment with our team.

Is Sedation Dentistry Safe For Your Kids? Read This Blog To Understand

The advancement of sedation drug therapy has enabled many pediatric dentists to make use of sedatives during the course of treatment. The use of sedatives in children reduces anxiety, discomfort, and stress-level associated with the treatment.

Sedation Dentistry for Kids

As a parent, it is quite natural for you to feel worried about your kid whenever a dentist is using a sedative on your child. In this blog, we will let you know whether sedation dentistry is safe for your child, and also to what extent.

Know How Sedation Is Used On Children

Pediatric dentistry is no child’s play. But, the process has become much safer and faster since the introduction of sedatives. Thus, there is no reason for you to worry.

Listed below are some common methods followed by the dentists –

  1. Nitrous Oxide Nitrous oxide, also known as, laughing gas, is completely safe for children. A mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide gas is passed through the nasal cavity of the children to reduce the activity of the voluntary muscles. It can also be used for reducing anxiety, unintended movements, and stress level of the children.
  2. Oral Conscious Sedation – If nitrous oxide doesn’t show effective results, the dentists make use of oral conscious sedation. Your child will be made to drink a medicated liquid brewed as per your child’s health, level of anxiety, and treatment recommendations. After drinking, the ability of your child to maintain ventilatory function may be impaired but will remain responsive to verbal commands.
  3. General AnesthesiaIf your child is too young to handle anxiety, then there remains no way for the dentists other than using general anesthesia. A sedative liquid is inserted through the veins of your child via a syringe to shut down all the activities of the voluntary muscles. In simple words, it puts your child to sleep. All necessary dental treatment can be performed without worrying about the stress level of the child.

What Happens After The Process Is Complete?

You must be present in the clinic when your child is waking up from sedation. It will help them to gain back their confidence. Your child can often feel confused, upset, or can feel like vomiting due to the effects of sedatives.

Dizziness, sleepiness, loss of physical coordination are also common side effects. The dentist monitors the condition of your child for the first few hours. If everything is normal, he/ she will be sent back home. Else, proper measures are taken to re-energize the voluntary muscles

From the above discussion, it can be easily concluded that the process of sedation dentistry is completely safe for your child, and you can easily opt for it. With minimal side effects and ever-rising positive results, this process is gaining worldwide popularity. Hence, if you are a resident of Harlem City, then we, at Joyful Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, can cater to all your needs. We consider your child as ours and never leave any stones upturned in treating them with comfort.

Call us now at (708) 794-9526 to book an appointment!

Make Flossing an Essential Part Of Your Child’s Life to Prevent Oral Problems

Flossing on a regular basis can do wonders to your little one’s teeth. A child will not understand the basic rules of maintaining a good dental hygiene until and unless you teach them about it. You may feel that flossing is only necessary after a certain age, but it is equally important for children.

Kids are generally able to floss on their own from the age of 10, but they might need your guidance before that to learn the proper technique.

Know common problems of tooth decay and how to prevent them.

Kids Floosing
Photo by Sarah Pflug from Burst

Flossing twice a day can keep several dental problems away and we have mentioned some of its merits right below.

  • Flossing Prevents Gum Disease 

Dental plaque which gets accumulated near the gum area can be a major reason behind the emergence of gum disease. Flossing regularly can prevent plaque formation and keep the mouth healthy. Hence, incorporate this habit in your kid or else inflamed and swollen gums can cause a lot of distress for your child.

  • It Prevents Tooth Decay 

Tooth decay is one of the most common dental problems in children. Brushing alone won’t help achieve a healthy mouth, thus flossing should also become a part of your little one’s daily routine. A decayed tooth can lead to a throbbing pain which can be unbearable for a kid, thus, it’s your responsibility to make sure your child is following the basic rule of maintaining oral hygiene.

  • Keeps Bad Breath Away 

The food particles or the debris which gets trapped in between teeth can elevate the formation of bacteria in the mouth which further leads to bad breath. The stuck debris starts to rot with time and give rise to halitosis. Flossing every day will help remove all the food particles.

This is How You Can Demonstrate Flossing to Your Little One

Your little one might not know the technique of flossing, so, teaching about it is your responsibility. Pull an 18 inches floss and wrap both the ends around your fingertips in order to get a grip. Now slide it between your teeth and move it upwards and downwards to remove food particles and plaque. Demonstrate this technique to your child until and unless the little one learns it completely.

Get in touch with Joyful Smiles Pediatric dentistry today to learn ways of giving your child’s oral health a boost. You can give us a call @(708) 794-9526.

Is Your Child Complaining of a Tingling Sensation on Their Teeth? It Could be Sensitivity

You will definitely not feel good to see your child suffering from oral problems because the level of discomfort can be immense in several cases. Talking about teeth sensitivity, it causes a lot of pain and restrains your little one from eating anything too hot or cold.

Children often don’t express what they are going through. Thus, your child might say no to brushing due to sensitive teeth as it could escalate the severity of the condition. Don’t force them to brush during such times, rather ask what is the exact problem and they might let you know about it.

Read also what causes child’s tooth decay and know how to prevent it with these simple steps.

Here are some common causes of tooth sensitivity in children.

  • Brushing Vigorously

Proper brushing techniques must be developed from an early age to prevent dental problems. The tooth’s enamel wears off due to vigorous brushing which causes sensitive teeth. So, keep a check on how your child is brushing, also make sure your little one is using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste.

  • Teeth Grinding

Bruxism is one of the most common reasons for tooth sensitivity. Teeth grinding causes tiny cracks in the enamel which eventually exposes the dentin and leads to sensitivity. Grinding can also give rise to other dental problems, thus, take your child to a dentist if bruxism has become a major problem. Keeping it untreated can escalate the severity of the condition.

  • Cavities

Maintaining a proper oral hygiene plays a huge role in preventing dental issues. Your little one’s teeth can get damaged and tiny holes could develop in them if they don’t brush and floss twice a day. Dental cavities also lead to sensitive teeth which can be very painful and discomforting. Therefore, incorporating good oral habits in your kid is very essential.

  • When Baby Teeth Fall Out

The permanent teeth start to grow once the baby teeth fall out and your child can feel a sensation of sensitivity during that time. It takes time for the new teeth to adjust to the air exposure, hence the sensitivity takes place.

Several microscopic channels reach the center of the tooth through the dentin and once it is exposed, consuming anything hot or cold creates a tingling sensation. Bring your little one at our dental office today if tooth sensitivity is restraining the kid from eating certain foods. Give us a call @(708) 794-9526.

Incorporate Good Oral Habits in Your Child and Stop Tooth Decay from Occurring

A child will follow whatever people around him/her would do, especially, the parents. Likewise, your good dental habits somehow influence them. It is quite essential to teach your kids how to maintain a great oral health right from an early age. This way, they won’t face complications later in life.

Tooth decay is one of the most common dental problems faced by children and today, we have spoken about how to prevent it. Every child deserves to lead a healthy life, but for that, few things must not be avoided.

Do Not Feed them Sugary Food Items Much: Most kids love gorging on chocolates and every kind of sugary food items. But an excessive amount of sugar intake can damage their teeth completely. Your little one might not be happy with your decision of not allowing them to eat sweets but you have to deal well with their tantrums. You can put a spoon full of honey into a bowl of cereal or make a date paste and it in smoothies to enhance the taste. These won’t affect the teeth at all.

Get Fluoride Toothpaste for Your Little One: When you have a kid at home, you must be extra cautious about everything and know about it’s causes. Therefore, make your child brush with fluoride toothpaste as it plays a great role in preventing cavities. It would be better if you also get a fluoride mouthwash for your little one.

Brush Together: Children do feel that brushing is a task and due to an improper procedure, their teeth get highly affected. But what if you brush along with them? This works most of the times, however, if you can, then try making it an exhilarating activity because kids love doing anything that excites them.

Make Them Eat Right: They say that eating right can not only ameliorate your body, but also the condition of your teeth. If children start having all the mouth healthy foods from the very beginning, then the chances of their teeth getting affected would be quite less. Hence, add a lot of kiwis, oranges, cauliflowers, raw carrots and so on to their diet.

Dental Checkups are a Must: Take your little one to a pediatric dentist every month in order to prevent a dental disease before its emergence. Being a parent, you must keep this in mind that your child’s oral hygiene will help them to live happily.

A child will never learn about dental health until and unless you take a step forward. Call us @(708) 794-9526 and we will tell you why it is important to have a set of healthy teeth right from childhood.

Make Your Specially Challenged Child’s Life Brighter by Maintaining a Good Oral Health

A child’s laughter can not only pacify you in every way but can also make your entire day. All that a parent wishes to see is his/her little one beaming with joy at every instance of life. It’s true that you pay extra heed to children with special needs, but do you give equal importance to their oral hygiene as well?

Dental health is something which every other person must maintain and today, we are going to discuss how certain things can improve a specially challenged child’s oral hygiene. Do take a  look at all the points below to get an insight.

Find the Right Pedriatic Dentist: There are a quite a lot of dental offices which do not offer services for children with special needs. Therefore, you need to first figure out a good pediatric dentist who will try his/her best to provide your little one with a great dental hygiene. Each and every child is unique in their own ways, and a pediatric dentist should not differentiate among any of them. Talk to people and do your research, you will definitely come across someone worth it.
pediatric dentist in oak lawn  
Make Them Feel Comfortable: Most children anyway dread going to a dental clinic and a special kid might get petrified looking at the equipment. The treatment cannot be taken forward if a child is frightened, hence, you need to make them feel comfortable. He/she might not be ready to sit alone on the chair, so what you can do is, take the little one on your lap. This could calm the situation down. Even the dentist should form a friendly relationship with the child to comfort him/her.

Make Brushing and Easy Procedure for Them: Autistic children may find it quite difficult to brush their teeth as they might not be able to bear the sensation. But this could lead to cavities. You can make them practice it on a regular basis, initially, touch the bristles to their lips and then the inside of the mouth. Gradually they will get used to it.

A Proper Care at Home: Eruption of teeth might take time for children with down-syndrome, but when it does, start brushing and flossing your child’s teeth twice a day. Nevertheless, don’t forget to buy a soft bristle toothbrush for the little one. Also, ask the pediatric dentist when would be the right time for them to use fluoride toothpaste.

A child who needs special attention has an immense power to make you look at life from a different perspective. Therefore, they deserve nothing but the best. Get in touch with us @(708) 794-9526 and we will tell you how to ameliorate their oral health.

Tooth Decay, A Common Issue in Children, Know its Causes and Prevention

Tooth Decay makes a person go through an excessive amount of distress, thus, imagine how difficult it would be for a child to cope up with the condition. A jovial environment is what a child deserves but the state of happiness might alter due to poor dental health.

There are certain facts associated with tooth decay in children which every parent must be aware of. You will find it impossible to make your little one understand the importance of oral hygiene if you do not have an idea about it. Some of the facts are given right below, go through them to get a better picture.

Emergence of Tooth Decay in Children

Tooth decay is one of the most common dental issues in kids and being a parent, you must be extra cautious regarding their oral health. The habit of brushing at least thrice a day should be incorporated in children from the very beginning. Food particles get trapped in between the teeth after anything that you eat, but who will tell that to children?

The debris which don’t get removed lead to decaying of teeth and plaque formation. And if those are not treated on time, the condition will elevate which will give rise to something insufferable.

A child’s poor state of mouth also depends on his/her eating habits. Intake of an excessive amount of sugar is bound to give rise to cavities. We have listed some of the sugary food items below. Try not to feed these to your little one much.

  • Candies.
  • Aerated Beverages.
  • Ice Cream
  • Milk Chocolates.
  • Chewing Gums.
  • Cookies.

Frequent Dental Visits will Prevent Tooth Decay from Arising

You could be quite busy amid the hustle bustle of life, but you have to take some time out from your busy schedule and take your kid to a dental clinic. If the pediatric dentist checks your child’s mouth after every six months, the dental issue can be prevented from triggering. A dentist will give your child a list of things to follow and it’s your responsibility to make them understand why those measures are important to take.

Bacteria formation in the mouth not only give rise to cavities, but it could also sabotage the gum tissues and lead to periodontal disease. However, nothing will be affected if a proper care is taken. Remember that your little one will not look good with a gloomy face, so, give utmost priority to his/her dental condition.

Do not let dental decay take a toll on your kid’s oral hygiene. Call us today @(708) 794-9526 to keep cavities away.