Monday, October 1, 2012

Halloween Candy-Buy-Back and Coloring Contest 2012!

Halloween is just around the corner, literally! 
Check out your local neighborhood supermarket or pharmacy and you will see that the displays for Halloween are in full effect! This is a special time of year for kids and parents, myself included, as we look forward to the first time they are old enough to trick-or-treat and join in on the fun. 

Hard Candy and Braces are a Recipe for Disaster!

As an orthodontist, however, I await Halloween with trepidation as it causes havoc with the orthodontic appliances I so carefully placed. In our office, the days following Halloween are busy spent fixing many broken braces, broken bands and loose wires. I love candy as much as the kids do, but I ask my orthodontic patients to please follow some simple Halloween tips if they want to indulge.
  • Avoid sticky, chewy and hard candies. The best option for someone with braces is to stick to chocolate treats that do not have nuts or caramel. 
  • Brush your teeth after eating the candy.
  • Limit the enjoyment to one day! Eat what you want for the day and bring the rest to us and we will buy it back!
Fourth Annual Candy Buy Back Program!
Earn Money for Your Candy: $1 = 1 pound (Up to 50 pounds per child!)
Join us for our Fourth Annual Candy Buy Back program. Patients of our practice are eligible to participate. Just bring your candy during the week following Halloween and we will give you $1 for each pound of candy. We will buy back up to  50 pounds per child!

Help Support Our Troops with your candy donations
As in years past, we will donate the candy to local Veteran organizations who collect candy this time of year.

Don’t Trick-O-Treat? 
No problem! Participate in our Coloring Contest!
If you would like to join in on the Halloween fun, but do not trick-o-treat or avoid candy - no problem! You can pick up a coloring sheet in our office (or contact us so we can email it to you) and join our Halloween Coloring Contest. All the entries will be separated into 2 ages groups (those under 5 years, and those over 5 years) and we will choose 2 winners to receive $25 gift cards to TARGET.

We hope you will join our office in the fun! We look forward to your entries and see you after Halloween with your bags of candy!!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Mother’s Day is May 12, 2013…How will you celebrate?

Mother’s Day -- which falls on Sunday, May 12 this year -- is a time to let the mother figure in our life (our mother, foster mother, wife…) know how special she is. 
As you know, the day is observed by giving gifts, visiting our moms or taking them out to brunch. Tell us, what are you planning on your mom's special day? Do you have any special family traditions? 

Out of ideas? Did you know that surveys show that mother’s preferred gift is a little rest and relaxation. Click here for 25 Awesome Gift Ideas.

Whatever you come up with, we're sure mom is going to absolutely love it!

Here at Pediatric Dental Specialists we know how hard moms work to juggle dental and orthodontic appointments along with all the other details of raising kids. 
So in honor of Mother’s Day we would like to give away a $50 gift card to for a Manicure and Pedicure to one deserving mother. Enter to win by posting a mother’s day memory or comment on our Facebook fan page. The winning name will be drawn on Friday May  9, 2013. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Secret of Getting Your Kids to Brush their Teeth

In our home some mornings are a juggle trying to get out of the house! Between getting ready for work, feeding and dressing two active toddlers for school - who has time to brush their teeth? Now that they are old enough to run when they see me coming with the tooth brush my husband and I realized it was time to create a better system to keep their teeth clean and cavity free…and us sane!

Start Early: Begin brushing before teeth grown in
Even before the new teeth start to pop in the mouth parents can get babies used to getting their mouths brushed. A moist cloth or a soft finger toothbrush can be used to clean a baby’s gums or tongue after every feeding. No toothpaste is needed at this stage. Once the teeth start to grow in you can transition to a toothbrush with a smear of toothpaste.
Toothbrushes come is many shapes and sizes, look for toothbrushes with small heads that are soft bristled.

Pick the right sized toothbrush, one size does not fit all.
If you walk by the dental aisle at your local supermarket you may become overwhelmed by the large selection of toothbrushes. Hard, medium or soft bristles? Electric or manual toothbrushes? The key to selecting a toothbrush for a toddler or child depends on the age. It’s better to select a toothbrush (whether electric or manual) with a smallhead, this make brushing more comfortable for your little one. As your child grows, the size of the toothbrush head can also grow. Bristles should be soft (or ultra-soft) so as to not damage a child’s delicate gums.  Kids often will struggle with tooth brushing if they do not like the taste of the tooth paste, so try different fluoride toothpaste until you find the right one! Once kids are older a pea size amount (not a ribbon!) of tooth paste should be used and wipe out the excess toothpaste with a towel or cloth.

Make it fun: Sing a song while brushing
Sesame Street’s Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me has many songs such as Elmo's Brushy Brush sone to make brushing fun. 

When kids are 2 to 3 years old they may start to exert their independence by wanting to dress or brush their own teeth or even refuse to brush at all.  Don’t let brushing become a power struggle! Turn things around by turning brushing into a game by singing a song or reciting the ABC’s  Have older kids listen to a song while they brush for the recommended 2 minutes twice a day.

Brush their teeth for them until age 7 to 8 years

Parents should brush their children’s teeth until they are 7 to 8 years for 2 minutes a
   day in the morning and at bedtime.
    Parents should allow their kids to practice brushing their teeth so they learn. But they
    need to follow up by brushing before or after.

Model good behavior: brush and floss as a family
A parent is a child’s first teacher and one of the most influential. The behaviors we instill in our kids through childhood routines carry over into adulthood. When a parent shows their kids that they take care of their own teeth by daily brushing and flossing they are more likely to have a positive influence on their child’s future oral health.

The key to successfully implementing any new routine is consistency. Once your kids realize they are not getting out of it you will avoid a lot of the tears and arguments over brushing. And hopefully avoid the cavities too!!!

Friday, April 20, 2012

3 Things to Do When Your Child Has a Mouth Injury

Don't Panic.... We’ve got you covered! 

As your dental home, one of the doctors from our practice is on call 24 hours a day /7 days a week for just this type of emergency.

  • First, place a compress on area to absorb any blood and allow you to see what’s going on. Don't panic.
  • Second, if there is a tooth missing, and you can locate it, place it in a Save a Tooth kit container, saliva, milk or water (in order by best choice) until you get to the dentist (some school nurses or sports coaches may have a tooth saving kit that contains a special solution to keep tooth alive).
  • Third, contact our office answering service at (562) 377-1375 and the doctor on call will be contacted. The doctor will either tell you what to do or meet you at the office depending on the circumstances. Do not wait until the next day.

As parents, we are so excited to see our children reaching all the little milestones in their lives. 
Sleeping for more than three hours a night, first bath, rolls over, eating cereal, sitting up, crawling and then we see our child take their first steps! 
It’s so exciting and then... oh the things they can get into, the places they can go and the things in their way! It is so easy for them to toddle right over.

Our practice receives calls on a regular basis from frantic parents, just like the call I got in the evening last Fall from a friend who lives in San Diego. Her daughter, who had just begun to walk, had fallen and hit her face, there was blood all over her mouth and she didn't know what to do. So she did what most of us would do, call her dentist friend. Unfortunately, I had my phone turned off. (Since, I live 3 hours away she couldn't just drive her over. Pretty crazy these days that I couldn't be reached by phone but I wasn't on call for our office that weekend. I was spending time with my family paying no attention to my phone.) The next morning I listened to my messages and called her back. 

Here's the thing, as parents you are familiar with finding a pediatrician as soon as your baby is born. You take your child to see the pediatrician for routine visits and know that the pediatrician is also available when an emergency, such as a high fever or infection arises. Unfortunately many parents aren't given the knowledge of the same importance of having a dental home by age 1. Like the benefits of having a pediatrician,  the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a child establish a dental home by age 1 year or when the first tooth comes in to the mouth.  A dental home allows your child to receive preventative care beginning at age one year, achieve a good oral health foundation, attain comprehensive oral health care that is continuously accessible-so when your child experiences a dental emergency your dentist is available and for referral to other specialists when needed. 

Here are some statistics about tooth injuries:
  • Injuries to the front baby teeth are most common in kids 2-3 years old, since they are still developing their motor coordination. Tooth injuries are one of the main reasons a parent may seek dental treatment for the first time.
  • Riding a bicycle caused more than half of the outdoor tooth injuries to children 7-12 years of age.
  • Children older than 13 years were more likely to be injures while playing sports. Baseball and basketball were associated with the largest number of injuries.
  • Last year the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation estimated that more than 3 million teeth would be knocked out in youth sporting events.
As for my friend, good news, she didn't panic. She managed to get the bleeding to stop by applying some pressure and her daughter’s teeth had not broken or loosened. We talked a bit about what she could do to manage the discomfort and reassured her that more than likely her daughter was fine. Before we hung up she asked what she should look for. I told her that we look for swelling and loose teeth but since that wasn't the case with her daughter she should just watch for discoloration or graying of the tooth and then ended with what I tell all parents of young children…establish a dental home for your child so that you have a local doctor that your child can become familiar with and have access to in the case of an emergency. When a fall happens the pediatric dentist is your guide to caring for that injured child. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Weighing in on ... Study Links Dental X-rays to increased risk of brain tumors

A recent study from the American Cancer Society journal has reported a link between dental x-rays and an increased risk to a certain type of benign brain tumor (meningioma). This report can seem alarming to a parent considering taking their young child to see a dentist.

The American Dental Association (ADA) responded with a press release to address some concerns this study may raise for the public. They state:
“The ADA has reviewed the study and notes that the results rely on the individuals' memories of having dental X-rays taken years earlier. Studies have shown that the ability to recall information is often imperfect. Therefore, the results of studies that use this design can be unreliable because they are affected by what scientists call "recall bias." Also, the study acknowledges that some of the subjects received dental x-rays decades ago when radiation exposure was greater. Radiation rates were higher in the past due to the use of old x-ray technology and slower speed film. The ADA encourages further research in the interest of patient safety.”
Also the “ADA encourages the use of abdominal shielding (e.g., protective aprons) and thyroid collars on all patients. In addition, the ADA recommends that dentists use E or F speed film, the two fastest film speeds available, or a digital x -ray.”

The dentists at Pediatric Dental Specialists are also parents or grandparents of young children - and we do not make the decision to take x-rays lightly. We follow the guidelines of the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry on the use of x-rays to minimize the exposure to unnecessary x-rays to children and young adults.

  • We use body aprons and shields with thyroid collars help protect young children and adolescents.
  • We also use Ultra Speed film to assure that your child receives a minimal amount of radiation exposure.
  • As an added precaution when a new patient comes from other dental offices we make our best effort to obtain copies of previous x-rays so as to avoid taking unneeded ones.
  • All new patients receive a caries risk assessment by their doctor and registered dental assistant to assess the child’s own risk to cavities. This risk assessment is a series of questions about the child’s past dental history, diet and medical history that allows the doctor to assess the child’s risk of cavities as high, moderate or low.

    • With this assessment we can tailor the frequency of x-rays to child’s own risk. Children that are at low risk of cavities may have bitewing x-rays taken every 18 months to 2 years. Children or adolescents with high risk of cavities may have bitewing x-rays taken every 6 months to 1 year. A panoramic x-ray is recommended after the child starts to grow their permanent teeth and once they begin orthodontic care or to check on the development of their wisdom teeth when they are in their teenage years.

Our office does not routinely take x-rays in a young child unless visible cavities are present or when the spaces between the back baby teeth start to close up which usually occurs around 5 years of age.

The bitewing x-ray allows us to verify that there are no cavities between the teeth.

The panoramic x-ray is valuable in that it allows us to diagnose missing or extra teeth, masses in the jaws, evaluate the development of the permanent teeth in the jaw as well as the wisdom teeth.

We have always emphasized to our dental families that the key to preventing dental cavities (and by consequence the need to take dental x-rays) is early dental exams. We support the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations that children establish a dental home by the age of 1 year or when the first tooth comes in whichever occurs first. Early dental care with a caries risks assessments and oral hygiene instructions can go a long way to minimize the need for x-rays and prevent cavities.

Cavities are an infectious disease and therefore preventable if addressed early.

Please feel free to contact our office if you want to discuss the guidelines we use when recommending dental x-rays for your children or establishing a Dental Home.

Friday, April 6, 2012


April is National Facial Protection Month. 

As we return to outdoor sports and other activities, April is an appropriate time to remind you about the importance of taking a few precautions to preserve your teeth and be protected from facial injuries, whether at a practice, at a game, or simply enjoying some fun in the neighborhood.  How can you play it safe? 

Check out this funny video of one idea of keeping our little athletes safe...
Click here

Ok... since we don't have that option....
  • Wear a helmet. Helmets absorb the energy of an impact and help prevent damage to one’s head.
  • Wear protective eye wear. Eyes are extremely vulnerable to damage, especially when playing sports.
  • Wear a face shield to avoid scratched or bruised skin. Hockey pucks, basketballs, and racquetballs can cause severe facial damage at any age.
  • Wear a mouth guard when playing contact sports. Mouth guards can help prevent injury to a person’s jaw, mouth and teeth; and they are significantly less expensive than the cost to repair an injury.
Every year, children and teens come to our office with dental emergencies due to knocked out teeth, broken jaws and other facial injuries during organized or neighborhood sports activities. For most of these children, these injuries could have been less severe or prevented entirely if they had worn a mouth guard, helmet or other protective head gear.

When kids don't wear mouth guards or protective head gear in sports activities, it's usually because parents and coaches are unaware of their importance. Many parents may not realize the potential for serious injury in an impromptu neighborhood game of basketball or baseball, or a simple bike ride.

Although mouth guards are now generally considered standard equipment for football and hockey players, they really should be worn during any contact sport. “Contact sport” is not limited to one player knocking into another, but encompasses any sport in which the player is likely to have his or her face come into contact with the pavement or other hard object. Kids who participate in soccer, extreme sports (BMX biking, skateboarding and in-line skating) and other common sports should wear a mouth guard and other protective helmets and equipment to protect them from injury.

In a recent survey, the American Association of Orthodontists found that 70 percent of parents said their biggest fear is that their child will get hurt while playing organized sports, yet 67 percent admitted that their child does NOT wear a mouth guard during organized sports including football, basketball, soccer and lacrosse!
April is the perfect time to get into the mouth guard habit.  Wear one at every practice and every game!