Posted by & filed under Special Needs Dentistry.

special needs pedsThe dental office can be a scary place for kids. For those with special needs, it can be terrifying. As a parent, you never want your child to go through anything that makes them feel scared or nervous, but you do want to do everything you can to keep your child healthy. So what do you do when they’re frightened to go somewhere that’s necessary for their wellbeing? Our pediatric dental office in Long Island can help you make the right decision for your child’s oral health care.

What is Special Needs Pediatric Dentistry?

Before we can cover how to make sure a special needs child is getting the dental care she deserves, it’s important to define what special needs dentistry means. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), special needs pediatric dentistry is an appropriate term to describe a special kind of dentistry designed for anyone with the following types of needs:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Developmental
  • Cognitive
  • Sensory/Mental Impairment

Choosing a Special Needs Dentist in Long Island

Children with special health care needs (SHCN) need to see a dentist just as regularly as everyone else. But in order to get the best, most appropriate care possible, they should go to a dentist that’s trained to meet their advanced needs.

Pediatric dentists in specific are required to complete two or more years of additional education beyond dental school to learn advanced techniques on the differences between treating adolescent patients and adult patients. They’re also trained in behavior management and sedation to help get children the care they need. Often this training includes how to treat those with special needs.

Ideally your child will see one of those dentists that has advanced education and experience on working with special needs children. You should look for a dentist that specifically says they’re trained to treat SHCN patients. Most importantly, you should choose one who makes your child feel as comfortable as possible, and who makes you comfortable too.

At our Long Island pediatric dental office, we’re here to take care of little smiles of all kind, including our most special patients. If you’re looking for a dentist who can help your child with special needs get and keep a healthy mouth, give us a call to schedule an appointment.

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

Posted by & filed under Dental Emergency.

toothacheAlmost all of us have experienced a toothache, so we know how uncomfortable the pain can be for adults. But when a toothache happens to a child, it’s a different story. The parent side of us wants to make the pain go away as soon possible and tries to make our children understand. But it’s not always an easy thing to do. At our Long Island pediatric dental office, we’re always happy to help relieve toothache pain. But if your child gets a toothache when we aren’t open or even while you’re away on vacation, there are some tips you can try to help ease the pain.

  • Salt Water: If your child is old enough, have him rinse with warm salt water Mix a cup of warm water with a tablespoon of salt and have him swish it around in his mouth. The mixture can actually pull the fluid away from the affected area and reduce pressure on the nerve endings. Stress to him to spit it out and not to swallow it. You can repeat as needed.
  • Cold Compress: Gently holding a mushy cold compress to the outside of the mouth where it hurts can also relieve swelling. Do not place the cold pack directly on the skin. Instead, wrap it in a towel.
  • Anti-Inflammatories: Giving your child an age-appropriate anti-inflammatory medicine may also help him feel a bit better. Clove oil may also work. Clove oil is a natural analgesic and has antimicrobial properties. All you need to do is soak a cotton swab with 2-3 drops and gently dab it on the area that hurts.

Avoid it in the First Place

Oftentimes toothaches are caused by a cavity or infection. While we can’t guarantee these won’t happen to your child, we can tell you with absolute certainty that regular pediatric dental cleanings and exams can help minimize the risk. Pair appointments at least every six months with proper at-home oral hygiene of brushing twice a day for at least two minutes and flossing once a day for best defense against toothaches.

Although these few tricks may help ease your child’s pain, it’s important to know that a toothache is the mouth’s way of saying that something isn’t right. It’s never wise to assume that easing the pain is enough. In its early stages, a toothache could be the result of a minor dental problem that’s easily fixed by your Long Island pediatric dentist. If let go, a simple problem can turn into something more severe.

If your child complains of tooth pain, don’t assume that it’s not a big deal and please don’t let it go. Call our pediatric dental office in Long Island as soon as you can. We can help you determine what’s causing the pain and get it fixed for a healthy, pain-free smile.

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

Posted by & filed under Health, Oral Care.

importanceDentistry is important for everyone, especially kids. But why? Besides keeping smiles and mouths healthy with protective sealants, fluoride treatments and cleanings, those regular dental visits with your child’s Long Island pediatric dentist can set her on a path towards a lifetime of good oral and overall health.

Baby Teeth Are Important

One of the common misconceptions about baby teeth is that since they’re going to fall out anyway, who cares when it actually happens. This is a particular concern for everyone at our Long Island pediatric dental office. Even though these precious, tiny teeth will fall out sooner or later, it’s important to keep them healthy so they don’t fall out too soon.

Save Us a Spot!

Baby teeth, also known as primary teeth, are placeholders for permanent, adult teeth. By keeping them healthy and in place, they’re reserving just the right amount of space for the adult teeth that are developing under the gums. If baby teeth fall out too soon due to decay or other reasons, the gaps left behind allow the remaining healthy teeth to shift, throwing off the natural positioning for both baby teeth and future adult teeth.

Look Who’s Talking!

Primary teeth also help children develop proper speech and pronunciation as they learn how to talk. As they pop through the gums, teeth are in position to help transform ‘baby talk’ into words others can start to clearly understand. If these important teeth are lost too soon, speech may be affected.

Let’s Eat!

One of the main purposes of all teeth is to help us chew so we can swallow and digest food easily. As children transition from soft foods to ones that require chewing, teeth become important to overall nutrition. Those children whose teeth may fall out sooner than they should often have nutritional deficiencies, can be underweight, or even malnourished.

At our pediatric dental office in Long Island, we stress the importance of visiting us at least every six months because we know how crucial early prevention can be. Many dental problems can be treated easily and successfully with early diagnosis, so seeing us regularly is crucial for even the tiniest grins.

If it’s time for your child to start seeing the dentist (usually within 6 months of the first tooth’s exposure), we encourage you to give us a call to schedule an appointment. We’ll make sure to explain everything in detail and work to keep her teeth in the best, healthiest state possible.

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

Posted by & filed under Oral Care.

cavitiesThe second most common disease in the United States is tooth decay. The first is the common cold. Of course we all know that kids can easily catch a cold, but cavities? Sounds pretty far fetched. But guess what everyone at our Long Island pediatric dental office knows? Catching a cavity is totally possible — technically.

Say What?!

While your child may not be able to catch the actual cavity, he can definitely exchange bacteria with another person, even you. Kids have a habit of putting almost anything their mouths, and if any one of those things was previously in the mouth of someone who doesn’t have great oral hygiene, there’s a good chance germs are transferred from one mouth to another.  

The Trouble with Germs

Germs like to spread, and along with germs usually comes bacteria. Bacteria is the main cavity culprit as it eats away at the protective enamel on teeth, causing decay. Every time your child is exposed to someone else’s saliva, he’s exposed to their bacteria too. Gross, right?  Some common ways bacteria is transferred from one person to another include:

  • Sharing a spoon, fork, or straw
  • Biting off the same food
  • Kissing (yes, those tender kisses can contribute to decay)
  • Using someone else’s toothbrush
  • Pacifiers that were cleaned in a mouth

Regular Appointments Help

Children and people with compromised immune systems are especially susceptible to infection and cavities from bad oral bacteria. But by keeping regular appointments with your child’s Long Island pediatric dentist, you can help protect that precious smile from the dangers of bacteria.

If it’s more than six months since your child’s last visit to our Long Island pediatric dental office, it’s time to schedule an appointment. We won’t just get his smile sparkling clean with a professional cleaning, we’ll also check him out for any possible signs of decay. If we happen to find anything, there are several preventive measures we can take to further protect tiny teeth such as fluoride treatments and protective sealants.

Don’t allow decay to take away from your little one’s grin, call us today to schedule an appointment.

Serving patients from Long Island, Westbury, and all of Nassau County.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles.

DairyWe know dairy is a necessary part everyone’s diet, and we know it can even help ward off osteoporosis in older adults. But what about in kids? Dairy, and especially its calcium content, helps children build strong bones and yes, strong teeth. At our pediatric dental office in Long Island, we’d like to share a bit of information about how important dairy is for your kid’s smile.

What Exactly Does Calcium Do?

Teeth and bones store up to 99% of the body’s calcium, so getting enough of it is pretty important for the entire body. Calcium can also fight off tooth decay…and dairy products are the best way to get it. Milk and cheese, for example, contain calcium, phosphorous, and proteins called caseins. When combined together, these ingredients actually create a protective layer that keeps acid and bacteria off the enamel, decreasing the likelihood of cavities. However, calcium is only half of what’s necessary for strong bones and teeth. In order for the calcium to be absorbed and used properly, you also need vitamin D.  

How Much Calcium Does Your Child Need?

There are some basic calcium intake recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences, and they are definitely dependent on age. Follow the guidelines below to determine how much calcium your child, and you, should have everyday.

  • 1-3 Years: 500 milligrams
  • 4-8 Years: 800 milligrams
  • 9-18 Years: 1,300 milligrams
  • 19-50 Years: 1,000 milligrams
  • 51+ Years: 1,200 milligrams

Allergies

Some people have an allergy or sensitivity to dairy. If this is the case, it’s important to receive adequate amounts of calcium from other sources. Leafy, green vegetables like broccoli are high in calcium. There are also several types of fish, such as sardines and salmon, that can help provide the calcium needed for healthy teeth and bones. Can’t get your child to eat fish? That’s ok, use a calcium fortified cereal instead.

Brushing is Still #1

Even if your child is getting the recommended amount of calcium, it’s still incredibly necessary to maintain good oral hygiene habits. We recommend brushing twice a day and flossing once a day, everyday. It’s also crucial for your child to visit a pediatric dentist in Long Island regularly. Appointments at least every six months allow your child’s teeth to be even more protected against decay and cavities through the use of fluoride, sealants, and professional cleanings.

If it’s time for your little one to see a dentist, give our Long Island pediatric dental office a call to schedule an appointment today.

asthma

Posted by & filed under Health, Oral Care.

Asthma is the most chronic disease in children and affects nearly 24 million Americans, of which about 6 million are under 18. Asthma is a serious medical condition that, if not treated proactively, can lead to trouble breathing, wheezing, and sometimes, even death. But at our Long Island pediatric dental office, we also know it may have a negative effect on kids’ oral health.

What Research Says About Asthma and Oral Health

There’s been a long-standing belief that those with asthma have an increased risk for oral health problems, including cavities. Since many asthma sufferers tend to also be mouth breathers, the chance for dry mouth is greater. Dry mouth is a concern for many pediatric dentists. When saliva production decreases, its ability to properly rinse away germs and bacteria diminishes, and the likelihood of developing cavities goes up. Even if mouth breathing isn’t a factor, common asthma medications can also dry out the mouth and decrease saliva flow.

However, recent studies suggest that perhaps there may not be a link between asthma and oral health concerns. Research conducted by the Indiana University School of Dentistry argues that while many children with asthma also have cavities, there are also many who do not. After compiling years of data, the head research doctor concluded that while there’s been a long history of supporting the belief that asthma sufferers are at increased risk for decay and cavities, there may too many variables to concretely conclude a correlation.

What Can You Do?

Whether the connection between asthma and cavities is true or not, there are some simple things you can do for your child to ward off any negative side effects of asthma or asthma treatments.

  • Drink Water. And lots of it. Water helps stimulate saliva flow and keeps the mouth hydrated. The more moist the mouth, the more effective it is at keeping damaging decay-causing bacteria away.
  • Rinse with Water. After using an asthma treatment like an inhaler, have your child rinse his mouth out with water. Any drying ingredients in the medication won’t have the chance to linger in the mouth.
  • Tell Your Long Island Pediatric Dentist. Your child’s dentist should know if he has asthma, as well as any medication he uses to control it so the dental team can be aware of any potential negative side effects.

As always, the best way to prevent cavities is to encourage your child to brush twice a day, floss once a day, and see their pediatric dentist regularly. We’re always accepting new patients at our Long Island pediatric dental office, so if it’s time for your little one’s checkup, give us a call to schedule an appointment.

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

kids flossing

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

Flossing may seem like a tedious, boring, and difficult task, especially for kids. But if they don’t floss, about 35% of each tooth is left uncleaned, leaving them more susceptible to decay and cavities. At our Long Island pediatric dental office, we know getting your child to follow good oral health habits can be a challenge, but don’t worry, we’re here to help.

Why is Flossing so Important?

Besides hitting the tough-to-reach areas that a toothbrush alone can’t clean, flossing can polish tooth surfaces by removing buildup and debris. It also eliminates plaque and bacteria that get wedged in between teeth which helps fight off bad breath. Overall, flossing should always be paired with brushing for a healthy mouth.

When Should Kids Start to Floss?

Good oral health habits start early, and flossing is no exception. Usually kids should start flossing between ages two and three. However, they may need help from a parent until about eight or ten to ensure they’re doing it correctly and for long enough to be beneficial.

What’s the Best Way to Floss?

There’s not one way to floss that’s better than another. What’s important is that you find the one that your child is comfortable with so they’re more likely to floss properly and regularly. Some flossing methods include:

  • The Finger Wrap. This method takes a string of floss about 18-20 inches long and two fingers. Take the ends of the floss and wrap it around each middle finger a couple times and pull it to make it taut. Take the floss that’s between the fingers and wiggle it between each tooth in an up and down motion, getting under the gums and curved around the tooth.
  • The Loop Method. Start again with about 18 inches of floss, but this time, tie the ends together to form a circle. Place all fingers except the thumbs inside the circle and use the pointer fingers to work the floss in between the lower teeth, and the thumbs for the upper. Again, get under the gum line and curve around each tooth.
  • A Floss Pick. Some people find a floss pick or similar tool easier to use. This can be especially true for young kids or older adults who have limited dexterity. Use the same up and down, below the gums movement as the other methods.

Looking for more flossing tips? Call our Long Island pediatric dental office to schedule an appointment. We can help you and your child find the method that works best for an optimal clean and lifetime of healthy smiles.

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

toddler tips

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

You can usually expect to see your child’s first tooth around six months old, and as soon as it pops through, it’s at risk for decay. The older your child gets, the more teeth you’ll see, and the greater chance there is for cavities. At our Long Island pediatric dental office, we’ve got some tips to help keep your little one’s smile not only cuter than ever, but also healthy.

  • Watch the Bottle. It’s completely common for a toddler to want to go to bed with a bottle to soothe and help them sleep. But putting anything in the bottle besides water can greatly increase the risk for decay and cavities. Avoid putting your child down for a nap or to bed with juice, milk, or formula.

 

  • Start Good Habits Early. Good oral health habits start even before the first tooth can be seen. Prior to any teeth erupting, you can take a wet cloth and rub down the gums. Once teeth start to appear, use a soft, wet toothbrush to gently scrub the surfaces. Don’t use any fluoride toothpaste until age three.

 

  • Pass on the Pacifier. We know a pacifier can be soothing. But we also know it can cause some serious damage to developing teeth. Pacifiers can cause teeth to shift and even change the shape of the mouth. All of this can lead to problems with the bite and additional concerns. Try to stop the habit by age two or three.

 

  • Make Dental Care Fun. When it’s time for your toddler to start brushing and flossing on her own, make it as fun as possible. Reward her with stickers, brush with her and show her that it’s enjoyable, or brush to music.

 

  • See a Pediatric Dentist. Regular visits to the dentist are important for your kids, and for you. However, a pediatric dentist has specific training on kids’ dental health and calming nervous patients. Most even have additional education that trains them how to work with those with special needs.

 

If your baby is starting to sprout her own little grin, it’s time to schedule her first dental visit. We welcome you give our Long Island pediatric dental office a call to set up that important very first appointment.

 

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

Posted by & filed under Oral Care.

enamelProtecting children’s teeth from cavities is important for overall oral health. Baby teeth and permanent teeth can get cavities, and preventing the decay in the first place is important for both. While baby teeth are only around for a short period of time, they do serve as a placeholder for permanent, adult teeth. This makes keeping them healthy really important. At our Long Island  pediatric dental office, we want you give you some steps to protect the first line of defense against cavities — the enamel.

Enamel is pretty thin, yet incredibly strong. In fact, it’s the hardest part of the human body. But that doesn’t mean it can’t sustain chips or cracks, leaving the tooth exposed to bacteria and increased risk for decay. So while we all know it’s important to brush and floss regularly to prevent cavities, there are additional steps you can take to keep the protective enamel in tip-top shape.

  • Fluoride. If your child is three or older, you should be using a toothpaste with fluoride. Fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel both in the baby teeth and the unerupted adult teeth. Your pediatric dentist may also recommend an in-office fluoride treatment to further protect teeth from decay.
  • Sealants. This protective measure is applied by a dentist at routine appointments. Sealants are a thin coating applied to the teeth to keep bacteria out. Using them is a successful way to keep enamel strong and teeth cavity-free.
  • Diet. Sugary and starchy foods are dangerous to enamel and are some of the biggest culprits of cavities. Avoid too many sugar-filled treats, and be cautious even with some healthy sugary foods like fruit. Try to also limit the amount of starch-packed snacks such as chips.
  • Water. Water is pretty powerful not only for oral health, but for overall health too. Water is naturally sugar-free and helps rinse away food particles and bacteria in the mouth. Encourage your child to drink more of it, especially after eating.
  • Regular Visits. One of the most important things you can do to help protect your child against enamel erosion and cavities is to visit their Long Island pediatric dentist regularly. Checkups at least every six months are a great way to get the preventive treatments of fluoride and sealants, and to diagnose and treat any problems early.

Little smiles are precious, and we want to do everything we can to keep them healthy. If your child is in need of a dentist, give our Long Island pediatric dental office a call to schedule his appointment today.

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

gummy vitamins

Posted by & filed under Health.

Just like you, everyone at our Long Island pediatric dental office wants to do everything we can to keep kids healthy. We serve them well-balanced meals, encourage them to get active, and wash their hands often. But even if you follow these basic rules, there may still be some crucial things missing. We’re talking about vitamins and minerals.

They Aren’t So Easy to Get

Vitamins and minerals are received through the foods we eat. If every meal is balanced to include dairy, fruits, veggies, lean meats, and whole grains, chances are your kids are getting their vitamins. But as busy parents, we know sometimes eating the best isn’t always the easiest. Between soccer practice, play rehearsal, and piano lessons, sometimes a homemade, optimally healthy meal just isn’t in the cards. And that’s ok! But it’s important to know when kids don’t receive all the necessary nutrients from wholesome food, there’s a chance they may not be getting enough vitamins and minerals to keep them healthy. That’s where supplemental vitamins come into play.

An Attempt at Yummy Vitamins

Gummy vitamins have been on the market for over 10 years. They were created to make taking vitamins fun and tasty. Traditionally they taste better than other chewable vitamins and can even be viewed as candy to some kids. And what kid doesn’t like taking a daily dose of candy? While they’re successful at making it easier for kids to take vitamins, they don’t come without risks.  

The Problem?

Gummy vitamins are similar to gummy candy. And that’s a concern for your pediatric dentist in Long Island. Most gummy vitamins are made with citric acid and sugar. The problem with both ingredients is they can cause some serious tooth damage. Citric acid eats away at tooth enamel, softening it and making it more susceptible to decay. Cue the sugar and you’ve got double trouble. Bacteria feed on sugar and produce even more acid as a result. More acid equals more softening, and the risk of decay and cavities increases. Gummies are also exactly that — gummy. They stick to teeth and coat enamel with the damage-causing ingredients. The longer sugar and citric acid are on teeth, more chance for damage.

Besides maintaining a well-balanced diet and only using vitamin supplements when necessary, (ideally not in a gummy format) keeping regular appointments at our Long Island pediatric dental office is crucial for optimal dental health. These appointments allow us to catch problems early and give us a chance to further protect teeth with sealants and fluoride. If you’re looking for a pediatric dentist, give us a call today!

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