Here are some common questions we often get about brushing for our youngest patients
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!
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 okay.
Next, try to figure out if it was a baby or permanent tooth. Baby teeth tend to be smaller, whiter in color and flat on the biting edge of the tooth. On the other hand, permanent teeth are larger, darker or a bit yellower in color and may have bumps or ridges at the tip.
Avulsed Permanent Tooth
∙ Try to find the tooth and gently rinse off any dirt by holding the crown of the tooth NOT the root
∙ Place the tooth in milk or water (in a plastic sandwich bag or a sealed container) to bring with you to the office. Call the office immediately
∙ Try to control any bleeding with a moist cloth applied to the area. Ice the area to reduce swelling
∙ At the office, the dentist MAY be able to re-implant the tooth (based on multiple factors) back into its original position
Avulsed Baby Tooth
∙ Gently clean the affected area with a moist washcloth. Apply ice to reduce swelling
∙ Check the adjacent teeth and see if any are loose, displaced and/or fractured
∙ If you find the tooth, there is no need to place in milk or water. No attempt will be made to re-implant the baby tooth to avoid damaging the developing permanent tooth. It is a good idea to bring the avulsed tooth to the office (before the tooth fairy comes) to help us assess the injury
∙ Call the office to review the situation
The hope is this NEVER happens to your child. Unfortunate events occur and it is always good to know what to do when a tooth is knocked out.
RETAINERS 101: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Congratulations, you did it! You made it through your orthodontic journey and now you can finally enjoy your beautiful smile! No more wires or brackets, aligners and attachments… bring on the gum and selfie stick, PLEASE!
Wait one minute, there is one final thing you need to know to protect that perfect smile. Yup, you guessed it…retainers.
Here’s the facts:
- WHY DO I NEED TO WEAR A RETAINER?
It takes time to for your teeth to settle and bone to mature around your teeth in their new positions. Retainers are worn to hold the teeth in that straight, stable position during that immediate time after appliances are removed. In addition, as we age our teeth are more likely to shift for a variety of reasons. Wearing a well-fitting retainer regularly is what you can do to keep your smile straight for a lifetime.
- WHAT HAPPENS IF I FORGET TO WEAR THEM ONE NIGHT?
Don’t worry, life happens. If you forget to wear them one night, wear them longer the next day and night. You may notice the retainers are more snug or tight when you first put them in. That is a sign that minor shifting has started to occur. However, if you wear them more hours, the teeth will respond and go back into that perfect position. Your retainers should always feel comfortable, not tight. Tightness is an indication you need more hours of wear.
- WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF RETAINERS?
Fixed vs removable:
Fixed retainers are great because they can protect the front teeth from shifting, especially the lower front incisors that are most prone to relapse. Sounds great, right? Not so fast. With a fixed retainer you need to watch your diet to avoid breakages. A broken or bent retainer can result in unwanted tooth movement. Additionally, a fixed retainer requires meticulous brushing and flossing to prevent gum problems. Most people also don’t realize that the fixed retainer only holds straight the teeth it attaches to, in other words, the back teeth can shift as well. That means you still need to wear a removable retainer as well.
Removable retainers come in a variety of styles, designs and materials. There is a traditional wire and acrylic type and a clear plastic type (think aligner).
They both work great, but you need to remember to wear them. Generally, the wire and acrylic retainer lasts a lot longer than the clear plastic retainer.
- HOW DO I TAKE CARE OF MY RETAINERS?
Be sure to clean your retainers every time you take them out. Use a soft toothbrush and liquid soap (never toothpaste). Brush them under warm (never hot) water. Store them safely in the case, away from pets. Dogs will find them and eat them!
- HOW DO I KNOW WHEN I NEED A RETAINER UPGRADE?
All retainers need to be maintained. Like anything else that you wear every day, eventually they wear out and need replacing. Visit your orthodontist if the retainer is no longer fitting well or is bent or broken. Additionally, keep an eye on your smile. If your teeth are starting to shift, it is MUCH easier to fix it early before a more time-consuming and costly touch-up is needed.