Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, General Dentistry.

tooth fairy dayEvery year, the Tooth Fairy gets a day dedicated all to herself. In fact, she’s so great at her job, she gets two days of celebration, once on August 22 and once on February 28. At our pediatric dental office in Long Island, the legend of the Tooth Fairy is near to our hearts, so to help celebrate her, we wanted to share some fun facts about our favorite little tooth collector.

  • She’s not always a fairy in a pretty dress. Worldwide, the Tooth Fairy varies in appearance. Here in the U.S. we usually picture her as a dainty girl that gently flutters under the pillow. In places like France, Belgium, and many Spanish-speaking countries, the Tooth Fairy is a friendly, furry mouse.
  • She’s 109 years old! The first known mention of the Tooth Fairy was in the Chicago Daily Tribune in 1908.
  • She’s adjusted her rate over the years. Back in 2004, the going rate for a tooth was about $1.78. Nowadays a tooth is worth, on average, $4.66!
  • Her rates even fluctuate with the market. Dental insurance company Delta Dental has been researching the Tooth Fairy for years. They have found a correlation between the stock market and how much cash she was handing out. Who knew the Tooth Fairy followed the S&P 500 so closely?!
  • The Tooth Fairy had her own museum. Located in a split level home in Deerfield, IL, the Tooth Fairy Museum showcased art, books, dolls, and other Tooth Fairy memorabilia.
  • She collects A LOT of teeth. The Tooth Fairy collects about 300,000 teeth from children all over the world every night.
  • So, what does she do with all those teeth? It’s believed that the Tooth Fairy uses these teeth to help build the fairy community where she lives. Other times she will make jewelry for herself and her friends.
  • How she sneaks under the pillow is still a mystery. The Tooth Fairy is really great at her job. So good that we never even know she’s been there.
  • She visits each child around 20 times! Children have 20 baby teeth that will fall out over the span of a few years. As long as each tooth is left under the pillow, the Tooth Fairy will find it!
  • No Tooth? No Problem! Sometimes our baby teeth fall out and we don’t even realize it. By the time we notice, we can’t find it! But don’t worry, even if you can’t find your tooth once it falls out, she will still visit.

Whether your child is experiencing his first loose tooth, or he’s nearing the end of his Tooth Fairy days, we do know that the Tooth Fairy prefers healthy, cavity-free teeth. To help ensure your child receives a maximum trade for his pearly whites, visit his pediatric dentist in Long Island at least twice a year.

Searching for a pediatric dentist for your little one? We always love new patients and welcome you to call our Long Island pediatric dental office to schedule a visit today.   

Posted by & filed under General Dentistry, Prevention.

young girl in dental chair gives dentist high fiveYou may have heard us talk about your child’s occlusion at her visits to our pediatric dental office in Long Island. Or perhaps your dentist has mentioned your own occlusion at your regular appointments. But what exactly are we talking about when we speak about occlusion? Is it something you should worried about? Let’s take a closer look at what occlusion means and examine a few concerns that are related to it.

What is Occlusion?

Occlusion is just a fancy, scientific name dentists use to describe the bite, or how the upper teeth match up against the lower teeth when the mouth is closed or while chewing. You may have heard several ways we tend to classify a “bad bite” including crossbite, overbite, or underbite. All of these types of occlusion can lead to unique problems that should be corrected by a dental professional.

In More Detail: Crossbites, Overbites, and Underbites

There are a variety of bite problems that happen, but in this blog we’re going to examine the three most common in children.

  • Crossbite
    • Signs: A crossbite is usually suspected when one or more of the upper teeth fall behind the lower teeth when the mouth is closed.
    • If left untreated: Crossbites can lead to premature wear and tear of the teeth, gum disease, bone loss, asymmetrical jaw development, and jaw problems (known as TMJ or TMD).
  • Overbite
    • Signs: When the mouth is closed and the molars are touching, if the front top teeth cover the bottom front teeth, there’s a good chance an overbite is to be blamed.
    • If left untreated: An untreated overbite can inhibit teeth from functioning properly, leave the person at increased risk for gum disease and other gum problems, and wear down the front teeth.
  • Underbite
    • Signs: Opposite of an overbite, an underbite is when the lower teeth fall in front of the top teeth when biting.
    • If left untreated: Underbites usually result from either undergrowth of the upper jaw, overgrowth of the lower jaw, or both. If not corrected, teeth may not be able to function properly and can lead to painful TMJ/TMD issues.

If you suspect any potential issues with your child’s bite, we welcome you to call our Long Island pediatric dental office to schedule an appointment. We would be happy to see your child and work with you both to determine what, if any, treatment would be appropriate to correct the bite for a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Care.

woman and toddler brushing teeth togetherWhen it comes to choosing the right toothpaste, the number of options can be intimidating. There are various flavors, different formulas for different needs, and even some labeled specifically for kids. But is there really a difference between kids toothpaste and adult toothpaste besides the fun colors and characters on the packaging? Our pediatric dental office in Long Island knows the truth.

Fluoride Content

The main difference between adult toothpaste and toothpaste designed just for kids is the amount of fluoride they contain. Fluoride is found naturally in many foods and is often added to public water sources. It’s also one of the best ways to protect both permanent and baby teeth from decay. Children’s toothpastes typically have less fluoride to help kids from getting too much of it. When kids are exposed to too much fluoride, their teeth may form little white spots known as fluorosis.

More About Fluorosis

Fluorosis occurs while teeth are still forming below the gumline, so it’s important to monitor the amount of fluoride your child is getting to help avoid getting those white, streaky spots. Even if fluorosis does occur, don’t panic. It’s not usually harmful and can be treated.

When to Start Using Toothpaste

Taking care of your child’s oral health can and should begin early. But the use of toothpaste should wait until his tiny teeth start to erupt. Until then, gently rubbing his gums with a wet, soft cloth will work well.

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), you can start using fluoride on teeth as soon as they start to appear. However, your adult toothpaste probably has too much fluoride, so make sure you choose a toothpaste that is designed for kids. Use a tiny smear of a low fluoride toothpaste in kids under 2 with a toothbrush sized appropriately for tinier mouths.

As kids get older, you can start to increase the amount of toothpaste they use. Between ages 2 and 5, a pea sized amount of kids toothpaste is appropriate. Remember, your child will still need your help brushing properly and spitting the leftover paste instead of swallowing. Around age 6, talk with your pediatric dentist in Long Island to see if it’s time to switch your child to an adult toothpaste.

No matter how old your child is or what toothpaste they’re using, it’s always important to brush twice a day, early and night, to ensure a healthy mouth. Also, don’t forget to visit the dentist at least twice a year for regular checkups.

If you’re little one needs a dentist, we’d be happy to see him at our Long Island pediatric dental office. Give us a call to schedule his visit today!

Posted by & filed under General Dentistry, Oral Care.

young girl smiling in dental chairDid you know that teeth have deep crevices and grooves that are extremely susceptible to cavities and decay? This is especially true for kids. As a matter of fact, the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) estimates that a whopping 9 out of 10 cavities in school-aged kids form in these specific areas. Since the 1960s, dentists have been using sealants to protect young teeth from bad bacteria. Our pediatric dental office in Long Island is here to help you understand how sealants can protect your kid’s smile and your budget!

What Exactly Are Dental Sealants?

Sealants are simply liquid-thin coatings of clear, non-harmful plastic that bond to the teeth to easily fill and adhere to all teeth, especially the molars where cavities like to take shape. Permanent molars located near the back of the mouth are excellent candidates for sealants, however, the AAPD says all other non-molar baby and permanent teeth will also benefit from treatment.

Should My Kid Have Sealants?

One of the biggest benefits of sealants is that they can actually save you some cash in the long run with their super protective capabilities. Your pediatric dentist in Long Island believes that sealants are the best way to keep young teeth safe from harmful bacteria that cause cavities, plaque, and tooth decay. Coupled with good at-home hygiene and regular checkups, sealants can dramatically decrease your child’s risk of damaging tooth decay.

What Age Should Dental Sealants Be Applied?

Did you know that both kids and their parents can get sealants? Any age is a good age to have sealants applied but earlier is always better. For most children, molars begin to appear around the age of 6 with the second molars poking through somewhere around age 12. It’s important to seal these teeth as soon as they erupt because they’re more prone to cavities. If you take the steps to keep them free from harmful bacteria you have a better chance of steering clear of cavities and fillings in the future. This saves you and your family both money and time!

For most people, sealants will do their job for several years. They can always be reapplied if needed. We may also apply sealants to teeth that are showing signs of early decay. This helps to prevent any further deterioration of the tooth. Thankfully, sealants are clear so our Long Island pediatric dental office is able to monitor your teeth to ensure the sealants are providing the proper protection. If you have any questions about sealants or if you would like to find out if your kiddo would benefit from them, please call us or ask about them at your next visit!

Posted by & filed under Health, Oral Care.

rows of bottled waterThese days you can’t go very far without seeing bottled water, whether you’re scanning the aisles at your favorite supermarket, cheering on your kids at their latest sporting event, or perhaps packing for a trip to your favorite vacation destination. Our pediatric dental office in Long Island wants you and your family to stay healthy and hydrated, which may mean drinking more bottled water. There are some extremely excellent benefits to bottled H20 but did you know there are also some cons too, especially for kids?

Pros of Bottled H20: The Good News!

  1. Conveniently Hydrated on The Go

Bottled water is an excellent solution for having delicious drinking water anytime, anywhere. It’s portable and travels easily in briefcases, purses, gym bags, backpacks, and more. It’s helpful when you’re venturing to different places where potable drinking water may not be readily available. Sometimes, given your surroundings (i.e. camping or in a foreign country) it’s easier to have a bottle of water with you. It’s also able to be purchased conveniently.

  1. Storage and Taste

In the event of a disaster or other emergency, having bottled water on hand is definitely helpful and it can be a lifesaver depending on the circumstances. Because bottled water does not expire, it’s always a good idea to keep some stored away, just in case. Depending on the condition of your tap water, bottled H20 also tends to taste better too. This usually due, in part, to the purification process certain types of bottle water must undergo during the preparation process.

Cons: What’s Bad About Bottled Water?

  1. Comparing The Costs

Because there are so many additional necessary steps to ensure bottled water is safe to drink (purification, packaging, transporting, marketing, etc.), it can tend to be a bit more pricey than the water flowing from your tap.

  1. Considering The Risks

Your pediatric dentist in Long Island wants you to know about the possible health risks associated with bottled water. Did you know commercially produced bottled water does not contain fluoride, while tap water does? Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps keep teeth strong and healthy. It’s especially important that kids get enough fluoride for their growing teeth. Some plastic bottles also contain the chemical bisphenol A(BPA) which can seep into the water before you drink it. This risk increases significantly if your water is stored somewhere hot in direct sunlight.

  1. Telling The Difference

Did you know that in some cases bottled water is just filtered tap water? It’s really no different than what’s coming out of your faucet! Some of the most popular brands of bottled water come from the same factories that produces soft drinks who simply bottle up that water. It’s not from a special source or a spring, it’s origins start in a factory. Sometimes it just makes more sense to fill your own water bottle from a source that you know is clean. It also helps cut down on waste created by the huge percentage of plastic bottles that end up in our nation’s landfills.

We hope you learned a little bit about some of the benefits and some of the potential downfalls to drinking bottled H20! Our Long Island pediatric dental office knows how important it is that you and your family stay healthy and hydrated. That’s why we’re here to help. If you have any questions about what we discussed here today, please don’t hesitate to give us a call! We look forward to seeing you and your family at your next dental visit.

Posted by & filed under General Dentistry.

child in dental chair getting dental fillingYour child goes in for his routine cleaning and exam and his pediatric dentist in Long Island ends up finding a cavity that needs a filling (oh, no!). Now you’re faced with a decision — restore the tooth with a silver metal filling, or a tooth-colored composite on? It will probably help to understand the difference between the two first. We’re here to do just that.

Understanding Each Type of Filling

Before we dive into the pros and cons of both silver and tooth-colored fillings, let’s talk a bit about what’s in each type. Silver fillings are also known as amalgam fillings and are made from a mixture of silver (hence the color), tin, copper, and mercury. Tooth-colored fillings, or composite fillings, are made from ceramic and plastic resins that can be color-matched to other teeth.

Compare the Pros

While our pediatric dental office in Long Island prefers using composite fillings, there are a few benefits to both kinds of restorations.

Amalgam – Silver-colored fillings are incredibly strong and are sometimes preferred for back teeth. These fillings also tend to be less expensive than their tooth-colored counterparts.

Composite – Other than the obvious positive of basically being camouflaged in the mouth, composite fillings are also pretty strong. Additionally, the procedure for a composite filling requires less drilling.  

Check out the Cons

Just as each option has positives, they both have some negatives that are worth mentioning so you can choose the best solution for your child.

Amalgam – The most commonly talked about negative with amalgam fillings is the color. They’re easily seen in the mouth and can create a smile that appears dark. In addition, the mercury component has been in the limelight lately. Despite the fact that agencies including the FDA, CDA, and WHO have found no evidence of harm, there continues to be concerns about its safety.

Composite – Tooth-colored fillings are typically more expensive than a silver filling because of both the materials used as well as the time it takes to complete the restoration. There’s also a higher chance of these fillings needing replacement earlier than amalgam.

If it’s been awhile since your child has been to the dentist, we welcome you to call our Long Island pediatric dental office to schedule an appointment today, especially if you suspect a cavity.

Accepting patients from all areas of Long Island.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Care.

male dentist looking at dental x-ray with little girlWe get asked a lot of questions at our pediatric dental office in Long Island, and we don’t mind answering them one bit! We believe that the more our patients’ parents know, the healthier their children’s smiles will be. One thing we hear quite often is wanting to know more about dental x-rays and the different types, why we use them, and if they’re safe.

The 4 Most Common Types of Dental X-Rays

There are several different types of x-rays that your pediatric dentist in Long Island may use to look at various parts of the mouth’s anatomy. Each type is used for a different reason and can show different problems. Let’s take a look at each one.

  • Bitewing X-rays. These x-rays are helpful in catching cavities early on and allow the dentist to see places in between teeth not visible with the naked eye. Sometimes, your child won’t have this type of x-ray until they have their first permanent molar, or until their back teeth touch each other.
  • Panoramic X-rays. Panoramic x-rays show the entire set of teeth, both top and bottom and from front to back, in one photo. They can also display the jaw joints (TMJ) as well as the top sinuses. While no film inside the mouth is need with these, a patient does need to stand still for up to 18 seconds.
  • Periapical X-rays. This type of x-ray is pretty cool and can show the permanent teeth before they erupt through the gums. They’re also used to check the bone structure, for gum disease, or abscesses.
  • Orthodontic X-rays. Orthodontic x-rays actually look at both the teeth as well as the head. Taken from the side, the images produced from the x-ray can help a dentist or orthodontist create an accurate treatment plan.

Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

Safety is our top priority with everything we do, including x-rays. Advancements in technology have helped the x-rays perform faster, meaning less exposure to the already low amount of radiation. Dental x-rays emit minimal radiation and are very safe for both children and adults.

We recommend that your child visits our Long Island pediatric dental office at least once every six months, but she may not need to have x-rays at every appointment. Some children don’t need x-rays as often as others. Your pediatric dentist will look at your child’s oral health and development to determine how often she should have x-rays taken. If there’s been a history of cavities or a higher risk of decay, we’ll probably follow the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry guideline of taking x-rays twice a year.

Accepting new patients from all around Long Island and the surrounding areas.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Care, Prevention.

young woman asking questionThere are times when the team at our pediatric dental office in Long Island may recommend a frenectomy for a patient. But we understand that many patients’ parents aren’t exactly sure what a frenectomy is and why one may be needed. So we decided that we should cover the basics to help all of our patients (and their parents) stay properly informed.

A Little About Anatomy

Before we can dive into the treatment itself, we need to talk a bit about the mouth’s anatomy. The mouth has two thin muscular attachments called frenum that can inhibit normal function of the mouth. One of these is the tight muscle found under the tongue that connects the tongue to the lower part of the mouth (called the lingual frenum). The other connects the top lip to the gum tissue above the top teeth (called the maxillary labial frenum). When either one of these effects tongue function or proper tooth placement, a frenectomy may be appropriate.

What’s a Frenectomy?

Simply put, a frenectomy is the removal or shortening of a frenum. A frenectomy is usually recommended if the frenum is clearly causing pain or hindering proper function.

Why Are Frenectomies Important?

The benefits behind a frenectomy depends on which frenum needs treatment.

Lingual Frenum Frenectomy  – When the lingual frenum is too long and extends to the tip of the tongue, it can directly affect tongue function. Most common in children, a lingual frenum frenectomy can help restore proper tongue function and can make swallowing, eating, and talking easier.

Maxillary Labial Frenum Frenectomy – A large maxillary labial frenum or one that attaches close to the teeth can create a gap in between the two front teeth. Usually, your Long Island pediatric dentist will recommend holding off treatment until permanent adult teeth are in place unless it’s causing pain.

How is a Frenectomy Performed?

We understand that the procedure may sound scary, but it’s actually quite simple. Treatment always begins by numbing the area. Then the frenum is cut away from the either the floor of the mouth or the gum line. Following a few stitches, the treatment is complete.

If you’ve been told your child needs a frenectomy and you have questions, give our Long Island pediatric dental office a call. We’re always happy to help.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles.

Easter candyThis time of the year, it’s nearly impossible to avoid the pastel packages of chocolate bunnies, gooey marshmallow chicks, and sugary sweet treats of all kinds. At our pediatric dental office in Long Island, we know how difficult it can be to limit your child’s intake of candy, especially during holidays when it’s a common gift. But we’re hoping this year we’ll able to talk a bit about which candies are the worst for teeth so you’ll able to make a smarter choice.

What to Avoid

  • Pure Sugar. Any type of candy that’s simply powdery sugar is bad news for teeth. The reason why is pretty straightforward. It’s just sugar. That’s it. And as anyone knows, sugar causes decay. A straight shot of it to the teeth can definitely increase the likelihood of cavities.
  • Anything Sticky. Caramels, gummy animals, and taffy are notorious for getting stuck in the grooves of teeth. The longer these sugar-packed treats are left behind, the more likely it is for bacteria to start eating away at the tooth’s enamel. A special note to parents with kids in braces: sticky foods can cause damage to the brackets and wires and require repairs. It’s best to avoid it.  
  • Super Sour Stuff. Another cavity-causing culprit is acid, and sour candies are loaded with it. Acid erodes the teeth’s protective layer of enamel, making it easier for bacteria to get in the hard-to-reach places, leading to cavities.
  • Hard Candies & Lollipops. There are a few reasons these tough little candies cause problems. First, they’re hard, and if someone bites on them too quickly it could result in a chipped or cracked tooth. What also makes your Long Island pediatric dentist cringe is that they usually take quite awhile to eat, which means teeth are being soaked in sugar that whole time.

Choose Something Smarter

We know we’ve eliminated some of the most popular types of candy in our list, but there are other options that are just as tasty and a lot less damaging. When searching for sweets any time of the year, look for:

  • Dark Chocolates (bonus if it’s hollow!)
  • Sugar-Free Snacks
  • Bars Packed with Nuts

A sugary snack is alright every now and then, just try to not over due it. And always remember to guide your little one with regular brushing, flossing, and visits to our Long Island pediatric dental office at least every six months.

Posted by & filed under Dental Emergency, Prevention.

dental emergencyNo parent ever wants their child to experience an emergency of any kind, and dental emergencies can be particularly concerning and confusing. What’s the right thing to do? What shouldn’t you do? Don’t worry, our pediatric dental office in Long Island is here to help.

Different Emergencies Require Different Care

Not all dental emergencies should be handled the same way, so we’ve outlined some of the most common emergencies and what you can do if they happen to your child.

Chipped or Broken Tooth – First, rinse the mouth and any broken pieces you happen to find with warm water. If your child is bleeding, apply gauze and a bit of pressure to help stop it. Swelling and pain can be reduced with a cold compress.

Knocked Out Tooth – It’s important to realize that baby teeth are important and are placeholders for permanent, adult teeth. If one is lost before it falls out naturally, dental problems down the road can arise so it should be treated quickly. The key to saving a knocked out tooth is to find it as quickly as possible. Once you do, make sure to only touch the tooth crown, not the roots. You can then try to replace the tooth into the socket. If that’s not working, place the tooth in a glass of milk and get to a dentist. Your tooth has the best chance of survival if it’s returned to the socket within an hour.

Toothache – A toothache is typically a sign of a bigger problem and shouldn’t be ignored. Get to your child’s dentist as soon as you can. In the meantime, relieve pain with a cold compress and some medicine. A quick rinse with warm salt water can help too. Whatever you do, do NOT place aspirin directly on the gums as it can cause tissue damage.

Something’s Stuck Between TeethWhen a pesky food particle or something else gets wedged between teeth, there could be pain and it’s best to get it out. Avoid using anything sharp to pick it out. Choose floss instead.

No matter what type of emergency your little one has, a good rule of thumb is to call your Long Island pediatric dentist as soon as you can.

At our Long Island pediatric dental office, we’re in the business of keeping little smiles healthy, and we never want one of our patients to have a dental emergency. But the truth is, emergencies happen. When they do, we welcome you to call our office for help.

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