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What causes tooth decay?
Four things are necessary for cavities to form — a tooth, bacteria, sugars or other carbohydrates and time. Dental plaque is a thin, sticky, colorless deposit of bacteria that constantly forms on everyone’s teeth. When you eat, the sugars in your food cause the bacteria in plaque to produce acids that attack the tooth enamel. With time and repeated acid attacks, the enamel breaks down and a cavity forms.
If my child gets a cavity in a baby tooth, should it still be filled?
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. Some of them are necessary until a child is 12 years old or longer. Pain, infection of the gums and jaws, impairment of general health and premature loss of teeth are just a few of the problems that can happen when baby teeth are neglected. Also, because tooth decay is really an infection and will spread, decay on baby teeth can cause decay on permanent teeth. Proper care of baby teeth is instrumental in enhancing the health of the your child.
I noticed a space between my child's two upper front teeth. Is this cause for concern?
Usually, the space will close in the next few years as the other front teeth erupt. We can determine whether there is cause for concern.
How can I help my child through the teething stage?
Some, but not all children experience sore gums when their teeth are coming through. This discomfort can often be eased by using teething toys or chilled teething rings. Over-the-counter gels are available in pharmacies to rub onto the gums, but are often ineffective due to the large amounts of saliva produced by teething infants. If symptoms are prolonged or are disturbing sleep then infant Tylenol, Calpol or Advil can be used for relief.
Please note that teething does NOT cause fevers, diarrhoea and vomiting or other various systemic symptoms sometimes mistakenly blamed on teeth. At around the age that the teeth erupt a baby starts to lose the protection of mum's antibodies and is therefore more vulnerable to picking up viral and bacterial infections. If your child has these symptoms you should consult your pediatrician.
What should I do if my child knocks out a permanent tooth?
First of all, remain calm. If possible, find the tooth and hold it by the crown rather than the root. Replace the tooth in the socket and hold it there with clean gauze or a washcloth. If you can’t put the tooth back in the socket, place the tooth in a clean container with milk and take your child and the glass immediately to the pediatric dentist. The faster you act, the better your chances of saving the tooth.
Why Young Smiles?
1. We care about our patients, our top priority is to make all of our patients feel comfortable and relaxed in the dental setting
2. We understand each child is an individual, with different feelings and that often new places can be quite intimidating for young children. We believe in creating a positive experience for each child to promote a life-long positive attitude towards oral health
3. We use the following techniques to help children feel comfortable with a new dental experience:
- "TLC" Tender, loving, care: This includes having a kid friendly environment and team, using terms that are age appropriate such as "shower" to clean a "sugar bug" off their tooth, rather than a "drill to clean a cavity"
- "TSD" Tell-sho-do: First we start off by telling children what are are going to do, showing them the materials we use, and then doing it. This helps decrease the child's fear of the unknown
- "Distraction" through story-telling and listening to their favorite music
- "Positive reinforcement" by verbally praising children for their good behavior, accompanied with a sticker, prize and sugar free lollipop after the treatment is done!
Tip from Dr. Helen Christopher
How do I keep my kids teeth healthy?
- Start good oral habits early. Teach kids to brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and to floss regularly.
- Get enough fluoride. Regular use of fluoride toughens the enamel, making it harder for acid to penetrate.
- Limit or avoid certain foods that contain high amounts of sugar.
- Visit a dentist regularly to maintain and monitor dental hygiene.