Posts for tag: pediatric dentistry
X-rays are a highly beneficial tool in the world of dentistry. An x-ray can help to diagnose tooth decay, gum disease and infections that may not be visible on the surface of the tooth. X-rays help monitor growth and development and allow the pediatric dentist to see potential problems before the tooth erupts. They also help screen for bone loss or pathology that may not be visible or currently be symptomatic. Without an x-ray, many of these problems could go undiagnosed. By using an x-ray as a reference, your dentist will be better equipped to prepare tooth implants, dentures, braces, and other similar treatments.
However, like many things in life, there are drawbacks to dental x-rays, as well. Exposure to radiation can be harmful to humans, as it damages cells. Pediatric dentists and parents are, therefore, wise to know the truth about the radiation from x-rays and balance the benefits with any possible drawbacks.
Anderson Pediatric Dentistry adheres to the ALARA principle. ALARA stands for "as low as reasonably achievable". This principle means that we strive to expose our patients to as little radiation as possible, using as few x-rays procedures as we can, while still providing the best patient care. We also follow th recommended practive guidelines to reduce exposure when performing x-rays. To do this, we use three basic protective measures in radiation safety: time, distance, and shielding. By usinf the following techniques, we are able to limit radiation exposure to our patients:
· Use of the fastest image receptor (the fastest film speed or digital speed)
· Reduction in the size of the x-ray beam to the size of the image receptor whenever possible
· Use of proper exposure and processing techniques
· Use of leaded aprons and, whenever possible, thyroid collars
While x-rays do expose individuals to radiation, it’s important to remember that we are all exposed to certain levels of radiation in our everyday life. Eating a banana, living in a brick home and even watching television expose you relatively small levels of radiation each day. As pediatric dentists, we weigh the benefits of treating dental issues with the potential harm. A routine exam, which includes 4 bitewings is about 0.005 mSv. This amount is less than one day of natural background radiation and about the same amount of radiation exposure one would receive from a short airplane flight of 1-2 hours. (www.xrayrisk.com/faq.php). Using digital X-Rays, as we do at Anderson Pediatric Dentistry, significantly reduces this amount to be even less.
There are ways for parents and dentists to help minimize the need for x-rays. Request a visual exam be done prior to consenting to x-rays. If you have current x-rays from a previous dentist, make sure to transfer these to your current dentist to eliminate the need for repeat x-rays. While dental x-rays are considered extremely safe, and often essential, it’s important to understand the procedures and any potential exposure to radiation so that you can be sure that the benefits outweigh the inherent risks.
If you have questions or concerns, never hesitate to discuss the need for x-rays with your pediatric dentist so that you can best care for and protect your child’s dental and overall health.
Anderson Pediatric Dentistry strives to be your go-to resource for pediatric dental health. If you are looking for a dental home for your child, we welcome you to call our office today at 864-760-1440. Let us give you Something to Smile About!
Did you know that one in 12 Americans suffers from asthma? That number seems alarming and a little difficult to believe, but the prevalence of asthma is increasing every year. Ironically, asthma and childhood caries (cavities) are the two most prevalent childhood diseases.
Most people diagnosed with asthma will begin using an inhaler, either as a rescue option or preventative treatment, or both. If you or your child uses an inhaler, you may have heard suggestions that inhalers cause cavities or that children with asthma have more dental problems.
The truth is that asthma and inhalers will not cause cavities. However, the two are often linked because, they may make your child’s mouth more susceptible to conditions that allow cavity-causing bacteria to thrive. The good news is that these concerns can be easily managed and your child will not have to choose between a beautiful smile or breathing freely.
1) Dry Mouth
Typically, those suffering from respiratory problems, such as asthma and allergies, suffer from restricted air flow, causing them to breathe through their mouth, rather than their nose. Mouth breathing has been linked with dry mouth and less saliva.
Saliva is key to washing away debris and fighting bacteria, so when your mouth is dry, it’s easier for plaque-causing bacteria to reproduce, increasing the chances of bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease. In addition, some medications in the inhalers can also have a drying effect on your mouth.
2) Mouth Sores
Regular use of the inhaler can sometimes lead to sores or ulcers on the back roof of the child’s mouth if the medications irritate the skin.
What You Can Do:
A little vigilance will go a long way. Follow these easy steps below to ensure that your child’s treatments aren’t damaging their teeth.
1) Rinse and Brush.
After using the inhaler, be sure that your child rinses his or her mouth with water. Brushing is even better.
2) Water, water, water.
Keep your child hydrated with water throughout the day to counteract the effects of a dry mouth.
3) Talk to your dentist.
Make sure to tell your child’s dentist about his or her asthma, medications and concerns. Your pediatric dentist can recommend strategies for maintain your child’s oral health.
4) Treat allergies.
Asthma and allergies often come together. Constantly having a stuffy nose will cause a child to breathe through their mouth, too, causing dry mouth. Proper treatment of allergies can alleviate the need to breathe through their mouth as often, enabling the child’s saliva to help fight off plaque-causing bacteria.
Remember, asthma isn’t a prescription, or excuse, for cavities. With a few simple preventative measures, your child can maintain his or her oral health and ensure a beautiful smile for life. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s teeth, or you are looking for a dental home for your child, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry would love to give you Something to Smile About! Call our office today at 864-760-1440.
One of the biggest concerns we hear from parents is about their child's thumb sucking habit. Our advice: if they're under age 4, there's no need for concern — yet. If they're older, though, you should be concerned about the possible effect on their bite.
Thumb sucking is a universal habit among infants and toddlers and is related to their swallowing pattern during feeding. As they swallow, their tongue thrusts forward to create a seal with the lips around the breast or a bottle nipple. Many pediatricians believe thumb sucking replicates nursing and so has a comforting effect on infants.
Around age 4, though, this swallowing pattern begins to change to accommodate solid food. The tongue now begins to rest at the back of the top front teeth during swallowing (try swallowing now and you'll see). For most children, their thumb sucking habit also fades during this time and eventually stops.
But for whatever reason, some children don't stop. As the habit persists, the tongue continues to thrust forward rather than toward the back of the top front teeth. Over time this can place undue pressure on both upper and lower front teeth and contribute to the development of an open bite, a slight gap between the upper and lower teeth when the jaws are shut.
While late childhood thumb sucking isn't the only cause for an open bite (abnormal bone growth in one jaw is another), the habit is still a prominent factor. That's why it's important that you start encouraging your child to stop thumb sucking around age 3 and no later than 4. This is best accomplished with positive reinforcement like rewards or praise.
If they've continued the habit a few years after they should have stopped, we may also need to check to see if their swallowing mechanism has become stunted. If so, we may need to use certain exercises to retrain their tongue to take the proper position during swallowing.
While you shouldn't panic, it's important to take action to stop thumb sucking before it becomes a long-term problem. A positive, proactive approach will help avoid costly orthodontic problems later in their lives.
If you would like more information about thumb or finger sucking, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “How Thumb Sucking Affects the Bite.”
Like any parent you want your child to grow up healthy and strong. So be sure you don't neglect their dental care, a crucial part of overall health and well-being.
The most important part of this care is prevention — stopping dental disease and other problems before they do harm. Proactive prevention is the best way to keep their teeth and gum growth on the right track.
Prevention starts at home with a daily habit of brushing and later flossing. In the beginning, you'll have to brush for them, with just a smear of toothpaste on the toothbrush. As they get older, you can teach them to brush for themselves, graduating to a pea-sized dose of toothpaste.
It's also important to begin regular dental visits around their first birthday. Many of their primary (baby) teeth are coming in, so regular cleanings and checkups will help keep tooth decay in check. Early visits will also get them used to seeing the dentist and hopefully help stimulate a lifelong habit.
These visits have a number of purposes. First and foremost is to monitor dental development and early detection of any emerging problems, like a poor bite. Catching problems early could help reduce or even eliminate future treatment.
Some children are also at greater risk for tooth decay and could benefit from applications of topical fluoride, a mineral that strengthens tooth enamel, or a sealant to help protect the teeth. This is especially helpful in preserving primary (baby) teeth: early loss of a primary tooth could disrupt the permanent tooth's eruption and cause a poor bite.
Your child's dental visits could also benefit you as their caregiver. You receive regular feedback on how well your child's teeth and gums are developing, and the effectiveness of their oral hygiene. You also get answers to your questions about their oral health: the dentist's office is your best source for advice on teething, diet and other issues.
Together, you and your dentist can provide and maintain the best conditions for your child's dental development. The result will be the healthiest mouth they can have as they enter their adult years.
Proactive dental care is an essential part of childhood growth. But that care can be much harder for children with chronic health issues than for healthier children.
“Chronic condition” is an umbrella term for any permanent and ongoing health issue. Asthma, Down’s syndrome, cystic fibrosis, congenital heart defects and many others fall under this umbrella, with varying symptoms and degrees of intensity. But they all have one common characteristic — a long-term effect on all aspects of a child’s health.
That includes the health of a child’s teeth and gums. Here, then, are a few areas where a chronic health condition could impact dental care and treatment.
Ineffective oral hygiene. Some chronic conditions like autism or hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) that affect behavior or cognitive skills can decrease a child’s ability or willingness to brush or floss; some conditions may also limit their physical ability to perform these tasks. Parents and caregivers may need to seek out tailored training for their child’s needs, or assist them on a regular basis.
Developmental defects. Children with chronic conditions are also more likely to have other developmental problems. For example, a child with Down, Treacher-Collins or Turner syndromes mayÂ be more likely to develop a birth defect called enamel hypoplasia in which not enough tooth enamel develops. Children with this defect must be monitored more closely and frequently for tooth decay.
Special diets and medications. A child with a chronic condition may need to eat different foods at different times as part of their treatment. But different dietary patterns like nutritional shakes or more frequent feedings to boost caloric intake can increase risk for tooth decay. Likewise, children on certain medications may develop lower saliva flow, leading to higher chance of disease. You’ll need to be more alert to the signs of tooth decay if your child is on such a diet or on certain medications, and they may need to see the dentist more often.
While many chronic conditions raise the risk of dental disease, that outcome isn’t inevitable. Working with your dentist and remaining vigilant with good hygiene practices, your special needs child can develop and maintain healthy teeth and gums.
If you would like more information on dental care for children with chronic health conditions, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Managing Tooth Decay in Children with Chronic Diseases.”