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first visitOur pediatric dental office in Long Island gets asked questions quite often, and we’re always here to help in any way we can. One of the more common questions we get is from new parents curious about when they should bring their child in for their first dental appointment, and we’re more than happy to guide them.

First Visit by First Birthday

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that all children see their pediatric dentist by their first birthday, or within six months of getting their first tooth. Some may be surprised by the early timing, but studies show it’s an important step in protecting growing smiles. In fact, many kids get cavities as early as age 2, and the occurrence of cavities in preschool aged children is on the rise — more than 1 in 4 have had at least one cavity by age 4.

What to Expect

At your child’s first visit to her pediatric dentist in Long Island, she’ll have a quick exam to start getting her comfortable with dental visits. During this exam, the dentist will check for any areas of concern, evaluate her risk for developing cavities, and look for any potential issues with her bite, gums, and jaw.

Your child’s dental team may also discuss some things with you that can help keep your child’s smile healthy in between office visits. Some of these items may include:

Following the visit, your child’s dentist may recommend a schedule of how often she should be seen. The schedule varies depending on your child’s need and cavity risk level. Typically, she should start to see the dentist every six months as she grows.

Why a Pediatric Dentist?

There are many different types of dentists, and they all have specific training to treat different types of patients. When it comes to pediatric dentists, 2-3 years of additional education specifically designed around dental care for infants, toddlers, children, and even those with special needs is required.

If you’re looking for a dentist for your child, give our Long Island pediatric dental office a call to schedule an appointment.

Accepting new patients from Long Island, Westbury, Nassau County and the surrounding areas.

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speechThe mouth is a complex part of the body with a lot of individual pieces that can influence each other. One common question we get at our pediatric dental office in Long Island is if tooth positioning can affect a child’s speech development. The short answer is yes, but it’s a little bit more complicated than that.

Parts of Speech

We’re not talking about nouns or adjectives, but more about the parts of our anatomy that allow us to speak. During speech, the tongue, lips, cheeks, and teeth all have a part to play. Ideally, they work in harmony and produce a clear, well-enunciated sound. But sometimes, there’s a disconnect that can negatively impact speech.

Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders

This disconnect is often referred to as an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder (OMD). OMDs occur when the tongue falls into an atypical position, usually too far forward or between the top and bottom teeth, during swallowing, speech, or rest. Dentists or orthodontists typically identify OMDs when the tongue’s position begins to influence tooth positioning and tooth eruption in smaller children.

How OMDs Affect Speech

The good news is OMDs don’t always impact speech development, but they can. Since OMDs cause the tongue to wedge up against teeth or slide between the upper and lower teeth, certain sounds become increasingly difficult to make. Most commonly, children and adults with OMDs have trouble enunciating sounds like s, z, sh, zh, ch, and j. Instead of crisp, solid sounds, they produce more a “th” noise.

What Causes OMDs?

There are several known causes of OMDs including, but not limited to:

  • Thumb sucking
  • Enlarged tonsils
  • Genetics
  • Nail/Lip biting
  • Tooth clenching or grinding

If you’re concerned that your child may have a mouth condition that’s influencing speech development, contact our Long Island pediatric dental office to schedule an appointment. We’ll be happy to see your child, perform a gentle, thorough exam, and determine the best treatment for him.
Welcoming patients from Long Island, Westbury, and Nassau County and beyond. 

Posted by & filed under Oral Care.

giftNo matter how you celebrate, there’s no denying that ‘tis the season of holiday parties, family feasts, and gifts galore — especially when you have kids. But figuring out what presents to get isn’t always easy. Let our pediatric dental office in Long Island help with some fun, dental-inspired gift ideas that are sure to not only make kids happy, but keep smiles happy too.

A Shiny, New Toothbrush

Perfect as a stocking stuffer or smaller gift, a new toothbrush isn’t only practical, it can be fun too. Browse the internet or the aisle of your local supermarket for something different — either a cool color, one with glitter, or that’s shaped like a popular cartoon character. There are tons of options available, just make sure the bristles are soft and that the head is appropriately sized for your child’s age.

A Handy Holder

Now that there’s a brand new toothbrush to use for a few months, pair it with an equally fun toothbrush holder. Just like brushes, there are thousands of designs just for kids. Find one that ensures the toothbrush is stored upright and away from others.

A Tooth Timer

Kids (and adults!) should brush their teeth for a minimum of two minutes. But sometimes it’s hard to know when two minutes is up, especially if you’re not sure how to tell time yet! Help out your little one by getting a timer, setting it to two minutes, and allowing them to brush until it dings.

A Fun Flavored Paste

Not all toothpastes need to have the traditional minty fresh taste. Surprise your child with something a little different. You can choose from flavors like cupcake, bubble gum, pickle, and even bacon.

Don’t forget, the best gift you can give your child’s smile is regular visits to a pediatric dentist in Long Island. Dental cleanings at least every six months help keep little one’s teeth clear of harmful bacteria and allow for early detection and easy treatment of cavities.

If your child is in need of a dentist, give our Long Island pediatric dental office a call to schedule an appointment today.

From all of us to all of you, Happy Holidays!

Accepting new patients from Long Island, Westbury, and Nassau County.

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toothbrushWhen patients and their parents come in for a visit to our pediatric dental office in Long Island, we always go out of our way to make sure they have the proper tools to take care of their teeth. And it all starts with the right brush. There are so many shapes, sizes, and colors out there that it can be difficult to find the one that works. Once you and your kiddo agree on what style makes them most comfortable, it’s important to take care of the brush just like you do your teeth.

Follow these easy steps to make sure your little one’s toothbrush stays clean and germ-free:

Step 1 — Sharing isn’t Caring

Before we even get into the actual cleaning part of toothbrush care, it’s important to talk about sharing. It’s an admirable skill we want to teach our kids, but the same rules don’t apply when it comes to our toothbrushes. Using someone else’s brush can put your kids in contact with germs, meaning a cold or flu is right around the corner. Kiddos with a weakened immune system or the flu should always avoid handling other people’s brushes.

Step 2 — Upright is Alright

Keep toothbrushes stored in the open air in an upright position, giving it ample time to dry. If your family has their toothbrushes in the same holder, make sure they are not touching to avoid cross-contamination.

Step 3 — Rinse Well After Brushing

Always make sure to thoroughly clean your kiddo’s toothbrush after each use. Clean off any excess toothpaste and debris. A good rinsing should do the trick.

Step 4 — Replace Brushes Frequently

Our Long Island pediatric dental office always tells our patients and their parents to get a new toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. Worn out or frayed brushes are not very effective at keeping teeth clean. Brushes should also be tossed following an illness. FYI: Kids brushes sometimes need to be replaced sooner than adults.

Having a clean, well-functioning toothbrush will help ensure your little one’s teeth are always getting the complete cleaning that they deserve. Make sure to choose a brush that’s comfortable, fun, and has the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance.  Your Long Island pediatric dentist is always available to help answer any questions you may have about maintaining an effective, and fun oral hygiene routine.

Welcoming patients from Long Island, Westbury, Nassau County and the surrounding areas.

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spitDid you ever notice how it always seems, no matter what type of sporting event, kids always feel the need to spit? The same goes for professional athletes too! At our pediatric dental office in Long Island we often wonder why kids and adults go to such great lengths to get rid of saliva when it’s actually quite helpful to our teeth. (It’s a good thing we produce up to a liter of saliva daily!)

Here are a few ways spit actually protects teeth:

  1. A Mean Cleaning Machine

Food is what keeps us going, but after a big meal, it’s saliva that starts working hard to help clear away extra food that could get stuck on and in between teeth. When food sticks to teeth, it can actually contribute to decay. Bacteria love to feed on the food debris left behind, and it’s these bacteria that cause trouble. Spit helps remove this food source, and can even help wash away the bad bacteria.

  1. The Acid Neutralizer

When plaque builds up on teeth, it can lead to cavities for kids and grownups alike. Plaque produces acid and acid erodes the protective enamel, leaving teeth more exposed to bacteria and germs. Acids are also found in so many of the liquids we drink and foods we eat. Saliva contains helpful molecules called “buffers” that are extremely good at neutralizing acid and its negative impact on teeth.

  1. Power to New Teeth

When babies are teething there is a constant, steady flow of drool. It may be messy, but the saliva is actually working hard to protect the teeth that are preparing to make their entrance into the world. When these baby teeth first show up in the mouth, their protective enamel is not fully developed. Spit can fill the new tooth’s weak spots with calcium, phosphate, and even fluoride. It gives these new teeth a fighting chance against some of our mouth’s worst enemies.

  1. Bye Bye Bacteria

Spit is a powerful antibacterial agent too, with the power to destroy any nasty bacteria that dares to enter its path. This benefits teeth, and the rest of the body too. There’s even evidence of specific spit components that are particularly good at slowing the growth of a cavity-causing bacterial strain. Thank you saliva!

We hope you learned a little bit about the importance of saliva and how it can be a big help to our teeth, and our bodies. It’s always important to keep up with regular checkups at our Long Island pediatric dental office to help keep bad bacteria from doing damage to your little one’s precious smile. Schedule your appointment today!

Accepting new patients from Long Island, Westbury, Nassau County.

Posted by & filed under Sedation Dentistry.

sedationWhen it comes to your little one and dental anxiety, our pediatric dental office in Long Island is ready to go to battle and help conquer their fears to ensure that their visit to our office is always comfortable — never scary. We know children can feel uneasy because of various sounds and sights that come with seeing the dentist. It’s always our mission to make sure kids are treated gently and with compassion.

When Sedation Wins

Our Long Island pediatric dental office knows the importance of helping little ones feel at ease. Very small patients can sometimes have a hard time sitting still during procedures that might be more time consuming and require additional precision. Sedation can help make the visit less stressful for both child and parent, creating a happier visit and a much more pleasant experience. It’s beneficial for patients with special needs too!

Sedation vs. General Anesthesia

While both sedation and general anesthesia have wonderful results at helping children receive the dental care they need, they are actually quite different in both desired effects and administration. General anesthesia is helpful when a youngster must undergo a more in-depth procedure because it relies on a sleepy, unconscious state. But dental sedation is solely intended to reduce anxiety and any addition discomfort during a visit to the dentist’s office. The effects are usually marked drowsiness that ends shortly after treatment is complete.

Safety First

Your pediatric dentist in Long Island is always here to help address your questions and concerns when it comes to helping your youngster have a positive dental experience. We always do our very best to ensure they’re comfortable and feeling safe. Please know that if, for whatever reason, sedation become necessary for your child it can be used safely and effectively following the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. It’s always a good idea to talk to your dentist about what options may work best to suit your child’s needs.

Going to see the dentist should always be a positive experience for everyone. After all, we want to see your little one smile, be happy, and look their very best. No matter what type of treatment your child needs, we never want their experience to be frightening or fearful. Please know that we are always here to help!

Accepting new patients from Long Island, Westbury, and Nassau County.

Posted by & filed under General Dentistry.

halloweenAt our pediatric dental office in Long Island, we know how much fun Halloween can be. The costumes. The parties. The chills. The thrills. It’s also the time of year when an abundance of sweet treats are available and tempting to young teeth.

We want everyone – parents and kids alike – to have a healthy and safe Halloween this year, and every year. Here are some tips to help kids stay free from cavities.

Tip #1: Watch Out For The Ooey & The Gooey

  • Chewy and sticky sweets are very popular, not just at Halloween, but also all year round. They tend to end up in trick-or-treat bags in abundance. We’re talking about things like caramels, taffy, and gooey gummies. They are the real cavity culprits because they’re super good at clinging to teeth, allowing bacteria to thrive. Kids don’t have to avoid them, but it’s definitely a good idea to limit the number of these treats.

Tip #2 When In Doubt, Eat Chocolate

  • Americans eat nearly 600 million pounds of candy every Halloween. That’s a lot of treats! Compared to sticky or hard candies that tend to hang around on teeth long after we’re done chewing, chocolate dissolves more quickly and washes away more easily, so it’s less likely to cause decay.

Tip #3 Everything In Moderation

  • When trick-or-treating leads to heaps of unhealthy candy, it might be a good idea to dole out the treats in moderation. Our Long Island pediatric dental office, recommends that you try limiting your little one with a piece or two with meals, instead of letting them have free reign whenever they want one. Now that’s a sweet idea!

Tip #4 Consider the Alternatives

  • Even though other parents may be handing out loads of sweet treats, set a new trend by offering healthy, non-candy alternatives to trick-or-treaters. Try small bags of pretzels or even apples. You can even hand out small toys or temporary tattoos. Just beware of anything that might pose a choking hazard.

Your Long Island pediatric dentist wants you and your little ones to have a great Halloween. By following some or all of these helpful tips, you can limit the amount of sweet treats your kids eat and reduce the risk of cavities. Always remember to keep little teeth healthy by brushing and flossing each and every day. We hope you have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Accepting new patients from Long Island, Westbury, and Nassau County.

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After School SnackYour kids work hard at school, and a lot of the time they come home hungry. But it’s not quite time for dinner… so you search the pantry for a snack to hold their growling tummies over. Snack options for kids can vary in nutritional quality and not all are created equal when it comes to oral health. Let our Long Island pediatric dental office help making snacking decisions easy with our guide to healthy choices for little smiles.

Questions to Ask

There are a few basic questions you can ask yourself if you’re unsure if a snack is smile safe or not. Before selecting a snack for your child, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is it sticky?
  • Is it sugary?
  • Is it exposed to the mouth for a long period of time?

If the answer is no to all of the above, there’s a good chance it’s a safe bet. Foods that are packed with sugar aren’t the best choice. Those with sugar and a sticky texture are worse. And snacks that are sugary, sticky, and in the mouth for awhile are ones to stay clear of.

Smart Snacks for Smart Kids

Stock up on some of the following foods for happy kids and happy mouths.

  • Cheese – A stick of cheese can lower the mouth’s pH and decrease the chance for decay.
  • Almonds – Packed with calcium, almonds are great for bone health.
  • Apples – Crunchy fruits and veggies can clean teeth in between brushings for an extra level of care
  • Carrots – Like apples, the crunch of carrots helps scrub teeth clean. Carrots are also a great source of fiber and vitamin A.
  • Celery – Another crunchy option, celery provides a healthy combo of vitamin A and C, both of which are antioxidants that can boost health.

Take it One Step Farther

Besides helping your kids make smart choices about their snacks, you can really help keep their mouths healthy by practicing good oral health habits like brushing and flossing daily. Make sure they’re getting a thorough cleaning by setting a timer for two minutes and let them brush until it dings. It’s also important for them to visit their pediatric dentist in Long Island at least twice a year. These visits can catch any problems early and it’s a great time to take advantage of preventive dentistry treatments like sealants and fluoride.

If your child is in need of a dentist, call our pediatric dental office in Long Island to schedule an appointment.

Accepting patients from Long Island, Westbury, and Nassau County.

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glutenEating gluten-free has been increasing in popularity over the past couple of years. Sometimes this dietary change is due to choice. Other times, it’s out of necessity. Those with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance avoid gluten because it makes them very sick. In these individuals, gluten can also cause irreversible tooth damage and other serious oral health concerns.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is basically the proteins found in wheat, rye, and barley. They act like a glue that holds food together and allows foods to keep their shape. Many foods contain gluten, even some that may not suspect, so checking labels carefully is important.

Why is it Bad for Gluten-Sensitive Teeth?

When someone who has celiac disease is exposed to gluten, their immune system reacts negatively and blocks the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals. This includes Vitamin D. Without these vitamins, tooth enamel isn’t protected and begins to erode. In fact, 85% of those with celiac disease have enamel damage. Without the protection of enamel, teeth are left exposed to decay and other oral health problems. But that’s not all. For those who are gluten-sensitive, consuming gluten may also cause:

  • Canker sores
  • Painful, red, swollen gums
  • Tooth discoloration
  • And even pitted teeth

It’s important to note that gluten negatively affects the teeth of those who have celiac disease or other form of gluten sensitivity, but it does not affect those who do not have a gluten sensitivity. Everyone at our pediatric dental office in Long Island encourages you to speak with a physician before switching your child’s diet, or your own.

Protect Your Little One’s Smile

Sometimes signs and symptoms of celiac disease don’t show right away in the gastrointestinal tract, which is usually the norm. Instead, they show in the mouth first. To make sure your child’s teeth are protected,  even he doesn’t have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, it’s important that he visits our Long Island pediatric dental office regularly so we can monitor any potential problems.

If he has been diagnosed with celiac disease, make sure you’re keeping gluten away from him to keep both his mouth and body healthy. Also practice an at-home oral hygiene routine of brushing twice a day for at least two minutes and flossing once a day.

Accepting patients from Long Island, Westbury, and Nassau County.

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gum diseaseGum disease is a serious oral health concern that affects nearly half of all Americans. While it’s typically more common in older adults (as high as 70% in those over 65), at our pediatric dental office in Long Island, we want all of our patients to know that gum disease can also occur in children.

What is Gum Disease?

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is chronic inflammatory disease that affects the gum tissue and the bones around the teeth. It’s a serious problem that, if left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. There’s also research that links gum disease to other whole-body problems such as heart disease.

Signs & Symptoms

There are common signs that should alert you to the possibility that gum disease is lurking in your child’s mouth. They include:

  • Bleeding gums, especially during brushing or flossing. It’s never normal to bleed while cleaning your teeth.
  • Bright red, swollen gums
  • Receding gums
  • Chronic bad breath

If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your pediatric dentist in Long Island as soon as possible to schedule a thorough exam.

What You Can Do

Diagnosing gum disease early is key to a successful treatment and limits the risk for even more damage. That’s why it’s important to make sure your child visits their pediatric dentist at least every six months. But these dental cleanings and checkups are only half of a strong prevention plan. Starting good oral health habits early and ensuring they happen on a daily basis can also help keep gums healthy. Make sure your child brushes twice a day and flosses at least once a day.

If you suspect your child may have gum disease, give our Long Island pediatric dental office a call. We’ll schedule an appointment as soon as possible, perform a comprehensive exam, and discuss any findings with you to determine the best treatment available.  

Welcoming new patients from Long Island, Westbury, Nassau County.