Our Blog

November 15, 2023

Why are Baby Teeth Whiter Than Permanent Teeth?

After the excitement of the loss of the first baby tooth, parents are often concerned with the color of the first permanent tooth. The new tooth is usually darker and a bit yellower. This is completely normal and to be expected.

Teeth are made of three different things. An outer shell of enamel, a middle layer of dark, yellow dentin and inner layer of the nerve and blood vessels. Permanent teeth have a thicker layer of dentin which gives the tooth a darker hue. Baby teeth, also known as milk teeth due to their color, have a thin layer of dentin. The contrast of the bright, white milk tooth next to the new, darker tooth makes things appear worse temporarily. Once other permanent teeth are in, things will most likely not be so noticeable.

Plaque, tartar buildup and staining from foods can also cause teeth to be discolored. Drinks that are dark in color, for example, apple juice, grape juice, cola, tea, and coffee

Other things can occur during development of the permanent tooth that can cause color changes. High, sustained fevers during the infant and early toddler years can disrupt enamel formation and cause yellow spots like freckles on the tooth. Trauma to the primary tooth can alter the development of the new tooth and lead to permanent color change. A variety of genetic conditions can also lead to a yellow areas on the permanent tooth.

For any concerns you may have, schedule a visit with us soon.

October 16, 2023

October is National Orthodontic Health Month.

A month with cooler temperatures, pumpkin spice everything, and of course, Halloween! With Halloween comes lots of fun, sweet treats, which could prove disastrous for our patient with braces. That is why it is a perfect time to review some helpful tips on how to embrace the holiday worry-free.

Can I still eat Halloween candy?

YES! Enjoying candy while wearing braces is still an option. It is best to avoid damaging your braces by staying away from certain candy items. Broken brackets will require additional trips to the orthodontist for unwanted repairs that can extend your time in treatment.

Keep it simple, avoid hard and sticky items:

- Caramels, Taffy, Jellybeans, Bubblegum, Skittles, Starbursts, Tootsie Rolls

- Hard Candy, Suckers, Licorice

- Popcorn and Nuts

Additionally, avoid sugary drinks like soda, sweet tea, energy, and sports drinks. These drinks have added sugar, which causes decalcification (white marks) on teeth. Decalcification is permanent and can progress to a cavity. The best defense is to prevent these white spots in the first place.

You are probably wondering what you can eat or drink? The answer is quite a lot. Enjoy candy that is soft and melts in your mouth. These tend to be less risky and help to keep your braces intact.

Good options include:

- Chocolate (without caramel or nuts), marshmallows, peanut butter cups and soft cookies.

Eating Halloween candy in excess can cause more than a bad stomachache. Any type of sugary snacks can accumulate around braces and lead to cavities or gum disease (gingivitis).

Checklist for success:

- Brush for two minutes, two times a day with fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride helps to strengthen the enamel and decrease the risk for cavities.

- Switch to an electric toothbrush, which has been shown to remove more plaque than manual toothbrushes.

- Floss at least once a day

- Rinse with a mouthwash containing fluoride to strengthen the enamel and decrease the bacteria in the mouth.

- If you have too much candy, our office does a Candy Buy Back where you can earn money for your surplus candy, thereby protecting that healthy, beautiful smile.


September 12, 2023

Silver Diamine Fluoride 101


What is Silver Diamine Fluoride? 

Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) is a treatment that your pediatric dentist may recommend to treat cavities. It is a colorless liquid made up of fluoride and silver ions. 

Why would a dentist recommend SDF for my child? SDF is a great tool in our toolbox for treating a variety of patients. Some children may not be able to cooperate for a filling, so SDF can be a great tool to buy time until the child is older or more cooperative. Smaller cavities on baby teeth may never need to be filled if SDF effectively arrests tooth decay. It can also reduce tooth sensitivity, which can be helpful with certain tooth conditions.

How does SDF work?

It kills the bacteria that causes cavities, thus slowing down or arresting decay. It also stops cavities from getting larger by making the softened tooth structure harder.  SDF may need to be reapplied annually for the effects to continue.

How is SDF applied?

SDF is painted onto the tooth with a small fuzzy brush called a microbrush. It is noninvasive and only takes a few minutes to apply to the dried tooth. No drilling, numbing, or pain involved! It may cause mild irritation of the gums, and a metallic taste from the liquid. 

Is SDF safe?

SDF is very safe and noninvasive, and has actually been in use in Japan for about 50 years. You should not be treated with SDF if you are allergic to silver, have deep cavities into the nerve of the tooth, or have open sores or ulcers in your mouth.

Does SDF turn the tooth black?

Cavities treated with SDF will turn black, but areas of the tooth without decay do not discolor. The black color is permanent, but if used on the back teeth (i.e. molars), it is hardly noticeable in most cases. Fillings or crowns can be placed over those teeth to try to cover up the discoloration when the child's behavior improves. 


July 10, 2023

Braces Vs. Invisalign: Which is right for you?

Traditional braces or Invisalign? They both work to make your smile beautiful and correct your bite. However, there are a few things to consider before making the decision about which orthodontic treatment option is right for you or your child. Below we have outlined some pros and cons to consider before making your choice. 


Braces, called brackets, are bonded to the tooth surface and are connected by wires. The wires exert different forces to move the teeth in the desired direction. Teeth respond to the forces by dissolving and growing new bone in areas of tooth movement. The braces will need to be adjusted on average every 8 weeks. 

Initially, you may experience some minor irritation as your mouth adjusts to the braces, but this gets better. 

The advantages and disadvantages of traditional braces include:


Moves teeth effectively: Braces are effective at correcting all types of malocclusions from mild to severe. Since they are fixed to the teeth, this versatility allows the orthodontist to address more complex situations and receive an optimal result. 

Most Popular Option: Considering Invisalign vs braces, metal braces are the most common treatment. However, aligners are growing in popularity every year. 

Limited Compliance Concerns: Unlike Invisalign, braces are not removable and require much less patient cooperation to achieve the desired result. Since they don’t come out of your mouth, there is no risk of losing them. However, you do need to be careful to keep them clean and monitor your diet to avoid unnecessary breakages. 

Personalization Options: Braces come with metal (silver) or ceramic (tooth color) brackets. Additionally, color ties can be placed to truly make you smile unique! These colors can be changed at every visit to customize your smile with the seasons. 


Oral Hygiene: Brushing and flossing with braces takes extra time and can be challenging. Cavities and gum problems can occur if the teeth are not cleaned properly with braces. 

Discomfort: Braces can irritate the tongue, cheeks and lips initially as the mouth adjusts to the presence of wire and brackets. This subsides with time and can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers. 

Esthetic Concerns: Braces can be a concern esthetically for some as they are highly visible. However, in these instances, ceramic (tooth colored) braces are a good alternative.


Invisalign treatment, commonly referred to as aligners, is a great option for adults or teens who want to straighten their teeth but don’t want to wear traditional braces. Invisalign uses a series of custom designed, clear plastic aligners to move the teeth gradually to the desired position. 


Esthetics: This is the most popular reason patients choose aligners, they are virtually invisible. Many teenagers and adults prefer this discreet treatment option over traditional braces. No one needs to know you are wearing them, except you!

Removability: The aligners can be easily removed for eating, brushing and flossing. This feature makes it easier to maintain good oral hygiene. Additionally, there are less food restrictions than with braces. 

Comfort: The aligners are smooth plastic so there is no rubbing and they are more comfortable to wear compared to braces.

Convenience: Generally there are fewer in-office visits and “adjustments” than braces. Since there are no brackets and wires to break, repairs are not an issue. This can be very beneficial for patients with busy schedules, whether it is after-school activities or work.


Compliance: Since the aligners can be removed, it is important that the patient comply with the recommended wear for a successful result. Invisalign must only be removed for eating, brushing and flossing. The goal is to wear them 22 hours per day. Lack of compliance can prolong treatment time and compromise the overall outcome. 


Have more questions about what would be right for you or your child? We would love to review the options for you in more detail. We offer traditional/ceramic braces and Invisalign for both teens and adults. At Commerce Park Children’s Dentistry and Orthodontics, your initial orthodontic exam is always FREE of charge. 


June 19, 2023

Dental Sealants
What are dental sealants? A sealant is a thin, protective coating that is applied to the biting surface of your child's tooth. The sealant is flowed into the deep pits and grooves of the tooth that commonly trap food and bacteria. The sealant material bonds to the enamel to fill the pits and grooves, which creates a smoother biting surface. The smooth surface helps to decrease plaque and food accumulation, thereby preventing cavities.
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Who should get sealants? Typically, children should get sealants on their permanent molars as soon as those teeth come in. Permanent molars begin to erupt into your child's mouth around age 6. By placing sealants on those molars, we create a surface that is easier for a young child to keep clean. Preventing dental decay is much easier for your child and less expensive than treating a problem in the future.
How are sealants applied? Applying sealants is a simple and painless process that only takes a few minutes per tooth. First the teeth to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned. Then cotton or another isolation material is placed to keep the tooth dry. An acid solution is placed on the chewing surface to help create the bond between the sealant and the tooth. Next, the tooth is rinsed and dried, and the liquid sealant material is painted into the grooves. A special curing light is shined on the tooth to harden the sealant material and bond the sealant to the tooth. It's as easy as that!
How long do sealants last? Sealants can last for many years! Avoiding sticky foods, such as candy and fruit snacks, will help sealants last longer. Your child's dentist will reevaluate the sealants at regular cleaning appointments and reapply as needed.
Are there any side effects? With the rare exception of an allergy, sealants have no known side effects.
Is there BPA in sealants? Yes, there is a tiny amount of BPA in sealants, but there is not enough to cause any harm to your child. You actually receive more BPA exposure from touching a receipt, using make-up, or touching dust. 
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Are sealants covered by dental insurance plans? It depends on your dental insurance. Some plans do cover sealants, so contact your dental insurance company to check your coverage. 

May 21, 2023

Nitrous Oxide Sedation in Pediatric Dentistry

Sometimes, the pediatric dentist may recommend nitrous oxide for your child’s dental treatment. Here is a brief overview.

What is it? Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas is a colorless, nearly odorless, non-flammable gas. It is mixed with oxygen to reduce anxiety in children (and adults). Used for over 100 years, it has proven to be safe and effective as a sedative agent in dentistry.

What is it used for? The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends it for a variety of procedures including:

(1) patients who are fearful, anxious or uncooperative

(2) certain special needs patients

(3) patients with a strong gag reflex that interferes with dental care

(4) patients who have difficulty getting numb

(5) young patients undergoing lengthy procedures

How does it work? The gas is administered by a small mask that fits over the patient’s nose. Patients are asked to breathe normally through their nose. The effects are fairly quick. Typically the patients start to feel light headed, more relaxed with tingly sensations in their fingers and toes. Children are not asleep and respond to directions from dentist. They can become talkative and occasionally laugh during the appointment. After the procedure the child is given 100 percent oxygen, the nitrous oxide is rapidly breathed away so the patient is not dizzy when they leave the office.

Is nitrous oxide used for every anxious child? The use of nitrous oxide is NOT for every anxious child. Certain, rare medical conditions prohibit its use. Some patients do not like the feeling of losing control or find the nasal mask confining and unpleasant. Nitrous oxide will not work for children who cannot breathe through their nose due to skeletal defects or nasal congestion.

Are there any side effects? The most common side effect is nausea and vomiting in a very small percentage of cases (.5-1.2 % of patients). Some patients do not like the feeling of losing control or find the nasal mask confining and unpleasant.

Nitrous oxide is a safe, effective way to help the vast majority patients ease their anxiety.


April 28, 2023

Top 5 Worst Food for your Braces

1. Popcorn: Those kernels get trapped everywhere in your gums and around your teeth even without braces! Those brackets and wires give them more spaces to hide which can lead to pain and swelling. Additionally, those hard kernels can easily break your bonded appliances. 


2. Caramels, Gum, Sticky Candy: Those chewy, gooey, gummy snacks can easily break a brace and cause unwanted extra visits and prolong your treatment time. They are often full of sugar and can lead to complications such as cavities. Stay away.

3. Apples, Raw carrots: Although these healthy snacks are good for you, they can easily break off bonded brackets or dislodge wires. Rather than biting into them, cut them into smaller pieces and chew with the back teeth.
4. Hard Candy: Peppermints, jolly ranchers, lollipops. It is hard to avoid the temptation to bite them and they will break off your braces. Plus they have lots of sugar which can lead to cavities.
5. Corn on the Cob: Biting corn off the cob will break off brackets. It is best to cut the corn off the cob and enjoy it that way.


MARCH 2023

Toothbrushing Tips for Tots


Brushing a little one's teeth can be a real challenge sometimes. What kind of toothpaste should I be using? What do I do when my child bites the toothbrush? How do I even get in there?! Your pediatric dentist is here to help.



  • The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends using a smear of fluoride toothpaste for brushing teeth twice a day as soon as the first tooth comes in. The smear of toothpaste should be about the size of a piece of rice -- very small! When your child learns to spit out the toothpaste reliably (usually between ages 3-6), you may start using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. We always recommend using toothpaste containing fluoride. Children thrive on routines, so making toothbrushing a consistent part of their morning and bedtime routines will make toothbrushing easier for your child over time when they know what to expect. 


  • When your child is a baby, the easiest way to brush their teeth is to lay their head in your lap, similar to how we position patients in the office. 
  • If your child is fighting the toothbrushing, brushing in a "knee-to-knee" position is especially helpful. You and another adult will sit facing each other with your knees touching. One adult will have the child's legs around their waist and will hold their hands, and the other adult will stabilize the child's head and do the brushing.                                


  • Is your child biting the toothbrush? Try using two toothbrushes: use the squishy silicone handle of the second toothbrush for the child to chew on. That will help keep their mouth open for brushing on the other side. 
  • Is your child rushing toothbrushing? We recommend brushing for 2 minutes, 2 times a day. Use a timer! You can set a timer for 2 minutes, or use a toothbrushing timer app on your phone. Another great option is an electric toothbrush such as Sonicare for Kids, which has a timer built in.
  • Still dealing with gingivitis despite a cooperative brusher? Make sure your child is brushing well along the gumline. Plaque tends to build up where the tooth meets the gums, and this is an often-missed area for children. Help your child practice getting along the gumline in a small circular motion.
  • Still having trouble? Humor is one of our best tools with children. Sing a song they know and love, but substitute in funny words! For example: "Bah bah black sheep, have you any broccoli?" Keeping things light and fun can go a long way to making the job easier.



Why are soft drinks bad for teeth?

Soft drinks deliver a “double whammy” when it comes to teeth.

First, they have high amounts of sugar in them. The average 12 ounce can of soda contains an astounding 9 teaspoons of sugar. Oral bacteria use sugar to create acids making holes in teeth.

Second, there are acids in soda that weaken the enamel or outer portion of a tooth making it easier for cavities to form. Bathing teeth in acid erodes the enamel. This is why diet sodas or those without sugar added are harmful to teeth.

The fizz in soft drinks is made by dissolving carbon dioxide in water. The result is carbonic acid. Other acids used in soft drinks are citric acid, phosphoric acid and tartaric acid. These acids are almost as damaging to teeth as battery acid.



Brushing Begins

Here are some common questions we often get about brushing for our youngest patients

Preventing Cavities in Your Baby's Teeth: How to Keep Baby Teeth Healthy

Q: When should I start brushing my child’s teeth?

A: When the first tooth comes into the mouth! Before then, gently wiping your infant’s mouth/gums with a wet cloth is also encouraged.

Q: When should I start using fluoride toothpaste for my child?

A: Right away! However, you must be careful with how much toothpaste you use, as young children are unable to spit well. For those under age 3, just a rice sized smear is enough. For those 3-5, a pea sized amount is perfect.

Q: Until what age should I help my child brush?

A: Every child is different. Generally speaking, kids don’t have the dexterity required to brush well until around the same time they can tie their own shoes. At that point, it becomes a matter of focus and interest. We encourage parental help with brushing as long as it takes. Many children require some help through age 6 or 7, and some beyond.

Have additional questions? Give us a call to schedule a consultation!


JUNE 2022

our blog

My child’s tooth got knocked out! What do I do?

Remain calm! While dental and facial injuries can be scary, put your anxiety aside and reassure your child things will be o