Friday, December 21, 2018

Starting to Brush Your Baby’s Teeth

kids dentist long beach pds

What sets Pediatric Dental Specialists apart? We offer pediatric dentistry and orthodontics for children, teens, and patients with special healthcare needs in Long Beach, California and our surrounding communities. With years of education, hands-on training, and experience, our doctors and staff are uniquely able to meet the specific dental needs of our young patients.

You may be wondering when you should begin to brush your baby’s teeth or even how to. As your child’s teeth may be coming in, it is important to begin a great oral health care routine by caring for your child’s gums.

When the first baby teeth start to pop up, you can graduate to the use of a toothbrush. Choose one with a soft brush, small head and large handle.

At first, just wet the toothbrush. As soon as teeth erupt, you can start using a bit of training-toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice. You can increase this to a peas sized amount of fluoride toothpaste when your child is 2 years old. Brush gently all around your child's baby teeth, front and back.

You should brush your baby's teeth until he or she is old enough to hold the brush. Continue to supervise the process until your child can rinse and spit without assistance. That usually happens at around age 6.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Thank You for 2018

To all our patients, vendors and folks who referred their friends and family members to our practice, we strive daily to exceed your expectations in pediatric and orthodontic care at Pediatric Dental Specialists. Your confidence in our practice is truly appreciated.

Dr. Cortez, Dr. Sanchez, Dr. Planells and all of the team members wish you, your family and friends a great holiday season.

Let's all have a banner year in 2019!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

3 Tips for Caring for Your Baby's Gum's

There is nothing quite like the first year of your baby's life. It is full of milestones and monumental moments. For a parent, there is nothing more joyous than seeing your baby's smile and seeing those first few sets of teeth coming in. If you take the time to care for your child's gums properly, you can set a precedent of a great oral health in his or her future.

Healthy gums are simple to maintain. It is important to remember oral health care begins before any signs of their teeth appearing. Healthy gums contribute to a healthy smile, before teething occurs.

1. Clean Your Baby's Gums
It's important to begin cleaning your child's mouth even before her teeth come in. Wipe the gums off after each feeding with a warm, wet washcloth or a dampened piece of gauze wrapped around your finger.

2. Avoid Tooth Decay
Most parents believe baby teeth are not as important because they will eventually be replaced by permanent teeth. This is further from the truth because baby teeth are preserving space for the permanent teeth and help your baby chew and speak.

You can avoid tooth decay in your child by not leaving them with a bottle in their mouth for long periods of time, or letting them fall sleep with their bottle.  Tooth decay in infants can occur when sugary liquids are left in your baby's mouth for a long time.

3. Avoid Sugary Foods
Just like in adults, foods that are high in sugar create an environment for bacteria to grow, which leads to tooth decay. When baby's begin to accept and eat solid foods, it is important to be cautions of sugary foods.

Bonus Tip: 
Schedule a dental exam. The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that Baby get his first dental exam at age 1, or when his first tooth appears.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Open Wide and Say BOOO!

Halloween is around the corner and kids of all ages will be tempted to indulge in sugary treats. Here are some timely ‘tricks’ to safely enjoy those tempting ‘treats.’

Say ‘boo’ to sticky and chewy snacks such as caramel, gummies, taffy, jelly beans, bubblegum and popcorn.  Even if you don’t wear braces, aligners or other orthodontic “appliances,” be careful with these types of treats to prevent damage to your teeth.

While some candy is permissible, such as soft chocolates, peanut butter cups or other melt-in-your-mouth varieties, please remember to enjoy these goodies in moderation during the Halloween season and throughout the year.  Find orthodontic-friendly alternatives at

It’s also important to be especially vigilant about brushing and flossing during any holiday or celebration when you’ll be eating more sweets than usual.

Halloween falls during National Orthodontic Health Month and the American Association of Orthodontists and I encourage everyone to have a safe and enjoyable holiday.

Helpful Dental Tricks and Tips for a Happy Halloween

The Fall season is here, and it is an exciting time of year for many children as they prepare for Halloween festivities and trick or treating. Here are a few “tricks” and tips from the team at Pediatric Dental Specialists that may help protect your children’s oral health.

Inspecting Candy:
An adult should inspect the candy and discard any items that display the following: unusual appearance, tears/ holes in the wrappers, anything homemade should be discarded unless you know who personally gave it to them. For young children, discard any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys.

Moderation is Key:
After trick-or-treating, set a specific treat time with your child for when they can eat a treat. The best time to have a treat is following a meal such as lunch or dinner. Saliva production increases during and after a meal, and the extra saliva can help wash away sugars and clean the teeth. If your children are eating candy throughout the day they may be at increased risk for tooth decay.

Choose the Correct Candy:
Select candy that won’t be as harmful to teeth. Hard candies can chip or crack teeth. It is best to allow these treats to melt in the mouth. Avoid giving your children sticky candies as they tend to dislodge fillings and crowns and stay in the grooves of back teeth. Plain chocolate bars melt quickly, are softer, and the least harmful to teeth.

Good Oral Hygiene:
It’s important that your children brush their teeth twice daily for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste. Flossing is also recommended to help keep the sugar bugs away where the toothbrush can’t reach. Good oral hygiene will help keep your children’s mouth healthy.

Candy Buy Back:
Consider donating Halloween candy or else join us for our buy back. We want your Halloween candy and will pay you for it! We will give our patients $1 per pound of candy up to 50 pounds of candy. All candy donors will also be entered into a raffle to win a gift card. Come by the office from 11/1 to 11/7 to make the candy switch. Check our website for drop off dates.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Different Types of Mouthwashes

Mouthwash is an essential part of a good oral hygiene routine, that often goes unnoticed. But did you know there are multiple types of mouthwash? Each also has a different function and works in different ways to help your teeth.
Fluoride Mouthwash: You’ve heard how fluoride helps your teeth. Well fluoride in mouthwashes, does just that and helps protect your teeth from cavities and tooth decay. Be careful when using this type of mouthwash because an intake of too much fluoride is not good.
Antiseptic Mouthwash: This is the most common type of mouthwash, you probably have some in your cabinet. This type of mouthwash contains alcohol and used to eliminate bad breath and fight infections in your mouth. Along with brushing your teeth and flossing, all three work together to fight bad breath and bacteria.
Cosmetic Mouthwash: The only benefit of this mouthwash, to your oral health care is to mask bad breath.
Natural Mouthwash: Natural mouthwash has the same functions of all the other mouthwash, except their ingredients are natural. It is the popular alternative to alcohol-free mouthwash.
If you have any questions about what type of oral hygiene products to use during and after your orthodontic treatment, please do not hesitate to ask us.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

When Should I Take my Child to the Dentist?

Our commitment at Pediatric Dental Specialist is to providing the highest quality oral health care services and education for infants, children and teenagers including those with special needs. Our qualified professional team is dedicated to guiding our patients to obtain optimal oral health in a nurturing and friendly environment.

We recommend that children as young as one-year old have their teeth evaluated by a pediatric dentist. The earlier you start, the better chance we have to prevent any potential problems. In addition to checking for decay and other conditions, our staff will teach you how to clean your child’s teeth properly, identify your child’s risk for cavities, and offer you helpful advice that will help your child build a lifetime of good dental habits.

By 2 1/2 - 3 years old, most children have all their baby teeth in place. This is a perfect time to introduce them to a healthy routine of brushing their teeth, flossing and eating the right foods. Baby teeth hold space for permanent teeth, and they are just as essential for oral hygiene and a key component of maintaining healthy adult teeth.

It is best that kids see us on their first birthday and twice-yearly after that. These combined with the right home care will keep those teeth healthy all through childhood.

During the first exam, we will check all of your child’s existing teeth for decay, examine their bite and look for any other potential issues with the gums, jaw and oral tissue.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Your First Visit

We offer pediatric dentistry and orthodontics for children, teens, and patients with special healthcare needs. With years of education, hands-on training, and experience, our doctors and staff are uniquely able to meet the specific dental needs of our young patients.

We strive to make your child’s first dental visit an enjoyable one. Young children receive a personalized storybook in which their name appears throughout the story. Our intention in providing this book is to familiarize your child with our dental office.

The storybook contains the doctor’s as well as staff members’ names. Knowing who they will meet and what to expect allows your child to feel more at ease and somewhat curious for this new experience. Perhaps the most exciting part of this book is the back page that has a place for our signatures, stickers, and the picture of your child’s first visit with us. This is a keepsake for our new patients.

When Should Your Child’s First Dental Visit Be? 

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that infants be seen shortly after the first tooth erupts or no later than their first birthday. This first visit will help establish a dental home for your child.
The earlier you start, the better chance we have to prevent any potential problems. In addition to checking for decay and other conditions, our staff will teach you how to clean your child’s teeth properly, identify your child’s risk for cavities, and offer you helpful advice that will help your child build a lifetime of good dental habits.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Giving Back at Pediatric Dental Specialist

At Pediatric Dental Specialist, we believe giving back to our community and around the world is part of who we are. The way we give back is through our charitable giving program that’s so easy for everyone to participate. This month, we are supporting our International Fund for Animal Welfare! Every time you Check-in on Facebook from our office, a donation is made on your behalf. It’s that simple, you check-in with a photo, status update or review and we make the donation on your behalf. Every month we will feature a new charity organization that are near to our hearts. They will be local and national charity organization that make a difference.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare’s vision is a world where animals are respected and protected. The international organization rescues individual animals, safeguard populations, preserve habitat, and advocate for a better future. Founded in 1969, IFAW has provided almost 50 years of global leadership, innovation and hands-on assistance to animals and communities in need.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Common Questions

1. When should I take my child to the dentist for the first check-up?
In order to prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday.

2. What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?
Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years of specialty training following dental school and limits his/her practice to treating children only. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special healthcare needs.

3. Are baby's teeth really that important to my child?
Primary, or "baby," teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt.

4. What should I do if my child has a toothache?
See a dentist as soon as possible.

5. What should I use to clean my baby's teeth?
A toothbrush will remove plaque and bacteria that can lead to decay. Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants, should be used at least once a day and for sure at bedtime.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Back to School Oral Health Basics

The summer days are passing by, and it is almost time to start a new school year.   As you prepare your children for back to school, the health of their teeth and gums may not be be on the top of your list, but good smiles denote: friendliness, good overall health, and confidence. Here are some suggestions that will help in maintaining healthy smiles:

Daily Oral Care Practices 

Educating our children at a young age on oral health practices is key in prevention of decay and gum disease. Here are some recommendations:

  • Brushing

Brushing morning and at bedtime with a soft-bristle brush. We recommend using a timer for 2 minutes. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), it is recommended that children be assisted with brushing until the age of 8. At the very least, an inspection by the parent is very helpful. Children may swallow some toothpaste when brushing, these are the recommended amounts of toothpaste based on age: A smear or rice size amount of children’s fluoridated toothpaste is for children less than three years of age, and  a pea-size amount for children three to six years old.

  • Flossing

Floss to clean between teeth and remove the plaque a toothbrush can’t reach. Initial supervision by a parent is necessary. There are special flossers with handles to help reach between molars.

Healthy Diet

Healthy snacks are just as important as a good daily hygiene routine. Here are some ideas for healthy options for your child’s teeth: string cheese, fruits, veggies, yogurt, hummus, almonds. Try to avoid sticky snacks such as fruit snacks (fruit roll-ups) and gummies, these can stick to your child’s teeth and may lead to tooth decay.

It is recommended to limit juice. Provide at most 4 ounces daily for toddlers age 1-3; for children age 4-6, fruit juice should be restricted to 4 to 6 ounces daily; and for children ages 7-18, juice intake should be limited to 8 ounces. Encourage water intake.

Schedule a Dental Check-up

Children starting kindergarten or in their first year of public school must have a dental check-up by May 31, according to California law.  A check-up/oral health assessment is important for children of all ages and helps to ensure healthy smiles. Undetected dental problems may be identified before
they become big concerns. Dental disease may result in infection/ pain that makes it difficult for children to eat, speak, and learn in school. Missing days from school as a result of dental disease may be prevented.

For more pediatric dental tips or to schedule your child’s appointment contact us at Pediatric Dental Specialists Long Beach ( Phone 562-377-1375

Friday, June 29, 2018

Oral Health Month: A Healthy Foundation

June is Oral Health Month. A good oral hygiene routine is the foundation to a healthy smile, especially for young children. For parents, leading by example, should establish healthy habits like brushing, cleaning between your teeth and seeing your dentist. This ultimately leads to the big difference in the health and happiness of your entire family and in children, less fears about visiting their dentist.

Here are a few tips from the American Dental Association that are a great reminder to enforce.

Start a Routine and Stick to It:
You may be tempted to let your child skip brushing after a long day or during times when your normal schedule is off (like vacation), but keep at it. The more second nature brushing becomes the easier it will be to make sure your child is brushing twice a day for two minutes.

Learn how to apply the right amount of toothpaste for your child. 

First Visit: 
Every parent celebrates the milestones in the first year, first words, first steps, first teeth.

We consider dental health to be an integral part of overall good health. Our practice philosophy is to provide dental education and treatment, as well as orthodontics, for children, teens, and those with special healthcare needs.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Summertime! Dental Tips for Avoiding Mouth/Facial Injuries

Spending time with friends, outdoor adventures, and being out of school make summer an exciting time of year for most children. While the season is filled with good times, it can also present certain risks such as mouth/facial injuries. Our Doctors at Pediatric Dental Specialists in Long Beach, want to help make your child’s summer an enjoyable one by offering the following tips to help prevent mouth/facial injuries. Follow us on our blog

1) Wear a Mouthguard While Playing Sports
Participating in sports is a popular activity. With the beautiful local weather, many children play a variety of outdoor contact sports such as: baseball, basketball, soccer, football, volleyball.  Sports can have risks at times through collisions, accidental elbowing, or being hit with the ball. You want to protect your child’s teeth. Sports related injuries account for 10 to 39 percent of all dental injuries in children. A mouthguard helps to protect teeth by providing an extra layer of cushion to shield their teeth and gums from potential impacts and can greatly reduce your child’s chances of getting a tooth knocked out. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry ( encourages mouth guard protection for patients at increased risk for orofacial trauma. Our office can provide a custom fit mouthguard, which is the best fit for your child’s mouth and offers the best protection, while still being comfortable.

2) Pool Safety is Key
It wouldn’t be summer without swimming.  Many of the summer emergencies pediatric dentists treat
are pool-related accidents. You can be prepared and help avoid an emergency room visit by ensuring that your child obeys the “pool rules” whether they are at home, the community pool, or at their friends. Running on slippery pool decks, diving into shallow waters, or bumping the pool ledge with their mouth causes many children to either chip or knock a tooth loose.

3) Jumper Safety
For many families, no party is complete without a jumper. Jumpers often lead to a sudden accident such as colliding with another child, being elbowed or kicked. It is recommended that children steer clear of the net. We recommend an adult supervising the children while in the jumper. No matter the type or severity of the injury to your child’s mouth or teeth, it is important to have our Doctors evaluate your child, or contact us for advice on what to do.

Dental injuries are often stressful and emotional. We are here to help minimize some of the stress you and your child may feel. The Doctors are just a phone call away and take call when the office is closed. If necessary, the Doctors are available to come in for an emergency. Our team is here to help. Wishing you and your family a wonderful and safe summer!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

What Makes Us Unique?

We have been serving patients in Long Beach and the surrounding areas for over 30 years! We consider dental health to be an integral part of overall good health. Our practice philosophy is to provide dental education and treatment, as well as orthodontics, for children, teens, and those with special healthcare needs. We believe that good dental health can instill a sense of well-being, provide a lifelong smile, and promote good overall health.
Dr. Santos Cortez, Dr. Estela Sanchez, Dr. Ana Planells and Dr. Gabriela Cervantes, as well as our team, are committed to supporting and educating our patients to care for their teeth and gums and help in the prevention of dental disease. We strive to achieve this goal in an environment that is soothing and welcoming to both parents and children of all ages.
What Sets Us Apart?
We offer pediatric dentistry and orthodontics for children, teens, and patients with special healthcare needs. With years of education, hands-on training, and experience, our doctors and staff are uniquely able to meet the specific dental needs of our young patients.
We utilize digital radiographs and the latest digital impression technology, which allows us to take digital molds for appliances and retainers without the goopy, messy material used in the past.

Our dental and orthodontic charts are digital, which allows for better communication with other dental and medical doctors. This reduces the number of X-rays patients undergo, and improves communication between providers, which leads to better care.
Make your child’s visit special!

As a new patient, your young child will receive a personalized book with his or her name and the name of the dentist. This book is kid-friendly and leads young children through their first dental visit and introduces them to, the dentist, dental staff, and some tools they will see during their visit. Read this to your child before his or her first visit to ease any fears.

We have a No-Cavity Club Program to reward children who perform good oral hygiene and have no cavities whereby they get entered into monthly drawings for gift cards. We also have many fun contests throughout the year to keep kids engaged and have positive experiences when visiting the dentist.

Here when you need us!
The doctors at Pediatric Dental Specialists are on-call for after-hours emergencies, including holidays and weekends. In the event of an emergency, you may contact our office to page the doctor on call, and expect to hear back within 30 minutes. The doctor will discuss the emergency over the phone and determine what action needs to be taken. Some emergency require seeing the patient in the office, other situations may be handled over the phone.

Giving Back to Build Healthy Communities

At Pediatric Dental Specialist, we believe that giving back is essential to building healthy communities. This month we are supporting the non-profit organization From Maddi’s Closet! Every time you check-in with us at our office, a donation is made to From Maddi's Closet. Benefiting children with cancer at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and beyond; bringing love, hope, and joy into their lives and their families.

“From Maddi’s Closet is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization that supports families through special projects, providing funds for hospital staff for children with special needs not being met by other assistance programs, raising public awareness, and supporting pediatric cancer research.

From Maddi’s Closet was established in December 2004; two months after the loss of Madison in October.  Madison had battled bravely for eleven months, living nine months longer than her initial prognosis.  During these eleven months, she quietly raised her family’s awareness of the “sick children” around her, pointing out ones who had no one sitting by their bedside, or one who have been having an especially hard day.  Often she would take a toy with her when she went in for treatment and give it to a child who she felt needed something to play with.

Our projects are varied, ranging from distributing new toys and hand-made blankets to each pediatric cancer patient, sharing TLC gift bags with the tending moms, and sponsoring a Craft Play Day in the cancer ward.

The funds raised by From Maddi’s Closet are used to support the special monthly projects and response to special needs through financial donations to the Pediatric Cancer Ward Emergency fund at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

Our dream is that there will be a “cure” that puts an end to children’s cancer.  We hold on to that dream and as we continue our journey, we work to support the medical community seeking better treatments and greatly improved mental and physical outcomes for these little patients.”

How can you join us in supporting From Maddi’s Closet?

Because we are a check-in 4 charity member, you can show support by simply checking-in on Facebook at our office. Each time you check-in, you participate in our donation to From Maddi’s Closet in May.

Learn more about the From Maddi’s Closet by visiting their website and social media at

Monday, April 23, 2018

Avoid Enamel Damage

What can I do to prevent enamel damage?

Are you concerned about damage to your tooth enamel? Well put your worries aside because there are several things you can do to prevent enamel damage such as decaying or discoloring. Avoiding enamel decay can be as easy as cutting out or limiting high-acidic foods from your regular diet. High-acidic foods include items such as blueberries, sugar, honey, vinegar, soy sauce, cranberries, and more.  Another thing you can do is remove high sugar drinks from your diet in addition to acidic foods is also a good idea.

Fortunately, there are several measures you can take to prevent your enamel from discoloring or decaying. 

The easiest way to avoid decay is to steer clear of high-acidity foods. This may not always be possible, but eliminating sugary fruit juices and soda from your diet is a good start. 

Brushing your teeth after each meal and flossing frequently also preserves your enamel. Another good idea is to rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash after eating to wash away high-acidity particles.

Although enamel damage is common, it does not have to be an inevitable occurrence. Knowing the foods that harm your teeth gives you the tools to prevent discoloration and decay. With some easy preventive measures, your teeth will stay strong and white for years to come! 

Monday, April 2, 2018

April's Check-In for Charity - Autism Speaks

Pediatric Dental Specialists is taking part in the worldwide support for Autism this month! 

What is Autism Speaks?
Autism Speaks is a charity with the goal to increase the public understanding and acceptance of autism spectrum disorder. Aside from the amazing outcome of this charity, they are famous for their “Light It Up Blue” campaign. Wear blue to your appointments in April to show your support for Autism Speaks.

Facts about autism according to Autism Speaks:
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates autism’s prevalence as 1 in 68 children in the United States. This includes 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls. 
  • An estimated 50,000 teens with autism become adults – and lose school-based autism services – each year. 
  • Around one third of people with autism remain nonverbal. 
  • Around one third of people with autism have an intellectual disability. 
  • Certain medical and mental health issues frequently accompany autism. They include gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, seizures, sleep disturbances, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety and phobias. 
How can you join us in supporting Autism Speaks?
Because Pediatric Dental Specialists is a check-in 4 charity member, you can show support for Autism speaks by checking-in on Facebook at our office. Each time you check-in participate in our donation to Autism Speaks in April. Another fun way to get involved is to wear blue at your April appointments!

Friday, March 23, 2018

What Type of Floss is Best?

If you’ve visited the dental care aisle recently, the sheer number of options available can be overwhelming. We often have patients ask us which floss is the “best” type of floss. In essence, all of the options on the market today do the same thing, and at the end of the day it comes down to personal preference. We’ve listed a few of the options below.  

Flossers: Flossers are small plastic instruments with a single floss strip and a pick on the opposite end. This option can be both effective at cleaning the areas in between your teeth and scraping off plaque. These flossers come in flavored varieties as well. They are a great “on the go” option.

Gentle Dental Floss:
Some people will find that regular dental floss is too harsh on their gums. For that reason, several options are available that have soft coatings that are less abrasive on the gums. Typically, gentle floss is just as effective as regular floss and an ideal match for anyone looking for a more sensitive approach to flossing.

Flavored Dental Floss: Flavored dental floss will freshen your breath while you floss! We suggest flavored dental floss if it prompts you to floss your teeth regularly.

Of all of the options, it is difficult to choose the absolute best type of floss.  However, our team feels that the type of floss that works best for you, giving you the greatest chance of succeeding at regular flossing, is the ultimately best choice. For more information on floss, or flossing with braces, ask us at your next appointment. There are many ways to make it both easy AND effective.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Bad Breath & Braces

After getting braces, new patients may develop bad breath from not cleaning their teeth properly. Simply doing a quick job brushing your teeth is not enough to keep your teeth in great shape, especially when you wear braces. Bacteria feeds on food particles leftover after you eat, and this sneaky bacterium creates an unpleasant odor.

We certainly understand bad breath can be uncomfortable to talk about, but it happens to most of us. The important thing to do if you’re experiencing bad breath (or know someone who is) is to determine the root of the problem. The most common factor for bad breath our patients is almost typically caused by poor oral hygiene.  It's important to brush immediately after every meal or snack or at least rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash if you aren’t able to brush. Bad breath-causing odors and bacteria can also cling to removable orthodontics (like a retainer or clear aligners), so be sure to remove them before eating, even if you're only having a snack.

If you're new to braces, or simply want to improve your dental hygiene, just ask us for a few helpful tips at your next appointment, we're here to help!

Friday, March 2, 2018

March Charity of the Month

It’s hard to believe we’re already in the third month of 2018! We’re excited this month to talk about a great local organization, the Harbor Dental Society. All of your check ins on Facebook this month will help generate donations for this worthwhile cause.  

The Harbor Dental Society was founded in 1915 by a small study club of ten dentists in the city of Long Beach. It has grown to include more than 700 dentists in 28 cities in the Los Angeles Harbor area. The Harbor Dental Society is comprised of local dentists who are members of both the American Dental Association (ADA) and the California Dental Association (CDA).
The Harbor Dental Society has a strong commitment to improve the dental health of the communities that it serves. The Society was a major force in establishing the Children's Dental Health Clinic in 1931 and spearheaded a twenty-year fight for fluoridation in the Long Beach water system.

What started many years ago as a small study group of dentists has grown to embody the commitment of our member dentists to the dental health of all children we are able to serve. Please join all of us at Pediatric Dental Specialists in supporting this wonderful local organization during the month of March. 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Have a Loose Wire or Bracket?

We know even despite your best efforts, the wires and bands on your braces may come loose. If this happens, please contact Pediatric Dental Specialists as soon as possible so that we can check and repair your appliance. If any piece of your appliance comes off, be sure to save it and bring it to the office with you.

In an emergency, you can temporarily fix the loose wire by using the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil to carefully and gently push the wire back into place. If the loose wire is causing irritation to your lips or cheeks, put wax or a wet cotton ball over the broken wire to relieve the pain until your appointment.

Don't hesitate to reach out to us at (562) 377-1375 immediately if you experience any issue with your braces. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Eating With Braces

Now that you have your braces, what foods can you still enjoy? While some foods are off limits, don't worry, you'll be eating popcorn and snacking on potato chips again in no time! However, before you can start enjoying some of the treats you love, you will need to take special care to avoid any foods that could damage your new appliances.

Foods to AVOID with braces:

Chewy foods — bagels, licorice
Crunchy foods — popcorn, chips, ice
Sticky foods — caramel candies, chewing gum
Hard foods — nuts, hard candies
Foods that require biting into — corn on the cob, apples, carrots

Foods you CAN eat with braces:

Dairy — soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
Breads — soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts
Grains — pasta, soft cooked rice
Meats/poultry — soft cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
Seafood — tuna, salmon, crab cakes

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Crowd Pleasing Game Day Recipes

If you're still searching for a few more snacks to add to your Super Bowl menu, we've got two that will be sure to score with your friends & family.

Hot Ham & Cheese Party Rolls

  • 1 can refrigerated pizza crust
  • 1 lb. deli ham (thinly sliced, but not shaved)
  • 12 slices Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray
  2. Unroll the pizza dough onto a cutting board. Press into an approximately 13x18-inch rectangle. Top with ham and cheese slices. Starting on the longer side of the rectangle, roll up the edge tightly. When you reach the end, pinch the seam together and flip the roll so that the seam is face side down. Cut into 12 slices. Arrange in the prepared baking dish. 
  3. Next combine the butter, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and poppy seeds in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until the butter is melted and glaze is smooth. Pour evenly over the top of the rolls.
  4. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes until golden brown. 
Tip: Make these rolls a day ahead! Refrigerate rolls up to 24 hours before baking. Just make sure to warm up the glaze so you're able to pour it on top of the rolls!

Crockpot Cranberry Meatballs
  • 1 bag frozen meatballs (any brand)
  • 1 jar chili sauce
  • 1 can jellied cranberry sauce
  1. Add chili sauce and cranberry sauce to a medium mixing bowl. Use a whisk to mix ingredients until semi-smooth.
  2. Add half the bag of meatballs to your crockpot. Top with half of the sauce mixture. Repeat with remaining meatballs and sauce. 
  3. Cook on low until heated through, typically 3-4 hours. 
This crowd-pleasing favorite can easily be adapted for a larger group! Just double the recipe and increase your heating time to 5-6 hours. In a time crunch? Heat meatballs and sauce on your stovetop until warm. Transfer to your crockpot for a quick, delicious addition to your game day party!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Beautiful Smiles Lead to Beautiful Speech

Let your smile help your words flow!

A smile is often worth a thousand words, especially for the many people who struggle with speech problems. Sadly, many people get in the habit of keeping their mouths closed and keeping their words inside because of a variety of dental or orthodontic issues. The good news is that Pediatric Dental Specialists not only can help you light up the world with your beautiful smile, but Drs. Cervantes, CortezPlanells, and Sanchez may be able to help correct problems that exist in your facial structure that lead to several speech problems.

In order to create speech, the parts inside our mouths have to work together to form the sounds we use for communication. If the teeth, tongue, and palate are misaligned, patients may experience difficulty pronouncing certain sounds. These mispronunciations may be thought of as cute in toddlers, but for older children and adults who suffer with this speech problem, it is a hardship that can lead to self-confidence issues later in life. Orthodontic treatment can correct this misalignment and facilitate correct speech pronunciation patterns.

Another common speech disorder related to misalignment is called a lisp, which exists when a person is unable to make specific sounds. Many preschoolers lisp as they learn speech patterns. However, pediatricians recommend an orthodontic evaluation if the child lisps as he or she begins elementary school age. Again, orthodontic treatment may be able to correct the structural misalignments that lead to lisping.

A third form of speech problem occurs when you slur your speech. Often, slurred speech is categorized by the poor pronunciation of words, change in speed or rhythm during talking, or mumbling during speech. Sometimes people slur their speech because the structure of the jaw or placement of teeth restricts the movement needed to speak clearly and distinctly. Orthodontic treatment may be just the tool to help people speak clearly, distinctly, and fluidly.

Though orthodontic treatment might not result in a remedy for all speech problems, many people who struggle with speech problems benefit from orthodontic treatment. Come in today to discover how our talented doctors and caring staff can give you a beautiful smile that frames beautiful speech.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

January Charity of the Month - Children's Dental Health Clinic

With the new year in full swing, we’re excited to announce our Check-In 4 Charity of the month – the Children’s Dental Health Clinic!

The Children's Dental Health Clinic is a remarkable non-profit organization serving both children and young adults in the Greater Long Beach and South Bay areas who are economically disadvantaged or have issues accessing care.  They are dedicated to providing quality basic and specialty dental treatment, as well as preventive services. Their ultimate vision is to see that all children grow up with healthy, confident smiles.

Over their 85-year history, they have evolved into a comprehensive, hospital-based facility on the campus of the Miller Children's Hospital in the Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. They also have a satellite clinic in Avalon on Santa Catalina Island. Today, the Children’s Dental Health Clinic is an independent community-based organization serving more than 10,000 underserved children through 33,000 visits annually.

To learn more about the history of this great organization and the services they provide, visit their website at:

Please join all of us in supporting this local charity during the month of January. All you have to do is check-in on Facebook during your appointments – it’s that simple!