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What are dental sealants and why does my child need them?

We all know that brushing and flossing are the best ways to prevent cavities, but sometimes we can’t reach every surface of our teeth with a toothbrush. Unlike other teeth in your mouth, your molar and premolar teeth have especially deep grooves and fissures. The food and bacteria that accumulate in these difficult spots can cause tooth decay and poor oral health. This is why dental sealants are crucial.

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What are dental sealants?

Plastic coating placed on the occlusal (chewing surface) of the back teeth is called dental sealant. Dental sealants protect your teeth by creating a smooth surface over the pitted, gritty areas of each tooth vulnerable to decay. This sheer, protective coating adheres to the chewing surface of your teeth to block food bits that would otherwise sink into the fissures of your molar and premolar teeth and to stop acid and bacteria from settling.

When should dental sealants be applied?

The earlier your child gets dental sealants, the better. Most children’s first molars appear around the age of 6, and the second molars around the age of 12. If your child receives dental sealants as soon as their molars erupt beyond the gums, their teeth will be protected through the cavity-prone years.

Luckily, dental sealants will benefit your child’s oral health for several years –sometimes lasting until adulthood before they need to be reapplied!

On that note, we offer dental sealants for our adult patients as well! However, it is less common for adults to have dental sealants applied.

How are dental sealants applied?

Your child’s pediatric dentist will follow a number of simple steps to apply dental sealants (not to worry, they are all completely painless!):

  1. First, your dentist will clean and dry the tooth to prepare it for the plastic coating.
  2. An acidic gel will be placed on each affected tooth to create a grainy surface. This gel makes the surface of the teeth rough, so the sealant will adhere to the surface effortlessly.
  3. After a few moments, your dentists will rinse off the gel and dry the tooth again. Your dentist will then apply the sealant onto the grooves of the tooth and use a special blue light to harden the sealant.

Although they are no substitute for daily oral hygiene, sealants can prevent early stages of decay from growing into full cavities.

Consider dental sealants for your child now to save time later!

Contact us at our Markham, Richmond Hill or Stouffville location now!

Markham (905 294 0995) | Richmond Hill (905 709 3888) | Stouffville (905 642 3642)


Benefits Of A Dual-Specialty Practice

We love watching our little patients grow and develop into teenagers. But as they grow, they have different needs and require different services. As a dual-specialty practice in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics, we cater to all of your child’s oral health needs and support them along their journey.

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Here are three ways you and your child will benefit from our dual-specialty practice:

  1. Dentistry is a multifaceted discipline with many different aspects and concerns. In our office, our orthodontists and pediatric dentists understand the complexity of dental and orthodontic treatment. Having your pediatric dentist and orthodontist in the same office allows them to get a comprehensive look at all of your child’s dental concerns and put together a customized dental plan that works seamlessly. A dual-specialty office is the only way that your child’s dentist and orthodontist will get a full scope of their needs and work side-by-side to deliver an excellent patient experience.
  2. At Kids Dental Group, your child can go straight from their favourite pediatric dentist to an orthodontist that is also familiar with their concerns. We pride ourselves on creating a welcoming, caring environment that embraces your child and eases any worries they may have about their treatments. In our office, this experience doesn’t end with just one treatment. The same dentists and orthodontists will support your child for years to come. From their first visit to the dentist at 12 months to orthodontic treatment in their teenage years, your child will be greeted by the same caring, familiar faces every time they walk through our doors.
  3. Between picking the kids up from school, taking them to extra-curricular activities, and all of the other responsibilities of a parent, it can be difficult to schedule several different appointments in multiple locations. Our dual-specialty practice minimizes time and the pressure of making it to multiple appointments. We know that parents are ladened with over packed schedules and limitless concerns. When you bring your child into one of our offices, you can finally relax and be sure that they are in good hands.

Contact Us at the location most convenient for you to schedule your initial consultation!

Markham (905 294 0995) | Richmond Hill (905 709 3888) | Stouffville (905 642 3642)


Did You Know That Bad Oral Hygiene Could Affect Your Overall Health?

Most people know that good oral hygiene is an important factor for a healthy mouth and great smile. But did you know that poor oral hygiene can harm your body? Pay special attention to tooth and gum care or you may endanger your overall health.

oral-hygiene

The mouth is the “gateway to the body. It is the portal through which you nourish and care for your body, so it is not surprising that lack of oral heath can affect your whole body.

Basic oral hygiene includes:

  • Brushing teeth at least twice a day
  • Flossing everyday
  • Avoiding sugary, cavity-causing food
  • Avoiding tobacco products
  • Visiting your dentist regularly

Failure to do any of the things above can lead to several heath consequences:

Plaque:

Every time we eat, we build a layer of bacteria over our teeth called dental plaque. When teeth are not cleaned, more bacteria forms on top of the plaque already present, which could result in cavities. When plaque builds under your gums, infections can occur that are dangerous to the health of your gums and the bones that support your teeth.

Cardio Vascular Disease:

People that neglect oral hygiene are proven to be more likely to develop heart disease. A build up of bacteria in the mouth can enter into your blood stream, narrowing your arteries. The clot-promoting protein in plaque can clog arteries and cause serious heart damage.

Respiratory Infections:

The Journal of Periodontology found that gum disease from lack of oral hygiene can cause infections in your lungs, including pneumonia! Breathing bacteria from infected teeth and gums over a long period of time will contaminate your lungs, leading to disease.

Great oral care is the first and easiest step to a healthy mouth and body.

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Contact our Markham, Stouffville, or Richmond Hill office to book a consultation now.


How Can Orthodontic Treatment Boost My Confidence As An Adult?

Straight teeth can boost self-confidence. Kids Dental Group offers several orthodontic treatments, some of which are virtually invisible to the eye such as Invisalign and clear braces. We will deliver the most discreet, painless treatment possible to give you a perfect smile.

Most adults agree that misaligned teeth can affect your self-esteem and damage your self-image. Damaged teeth can make you appear older than you are and distract from positive features of your face. For example, spaces in teeth can cause cheeks to sink into the mouth, leading to premature wrinkles and hallow cheeks.

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Your teeth are one of the first things others see when meeting you and one of the things that they will remember from their first impression of you. Like make-up and hygiene, a great smile can give you the extra confidence boost you need to command attention, go after your goals and reach your full potential.

Embarrassment and awareness of the social stigma of bad teeth can have serious psychological repercussions on your well-being. Many people come up with ‘bandaid’ solutions for dealing with these issues. For example, you may cover your mouth with your hands or avoid eye contact with the person you are speaking with. These methods make you appear timid and uncomfortable.

Misaligned teeth can also make it difficult to pronounce certain words and sounds. You deserve to feel confident enough to communicate clearly with anybody. A bright, corrected smile will show the world that you care about your health and appearance.

A straight smile can better your health as well! Aligned teeth allow your jaw to rest in a comfortable and permanent position, preventing conditions such as grinding or temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ). It is easier to clean straight teeth because you can access all of the surfaces and spaces between your teeth with brushing and flossing.

Our adult patients comment on how much more confident they feel taking part in their social interactions following orthodontic treatment. They are happy to laugh freely, have their pictures taken, and eat and speak with others.

Yes, At Kids Dental Group, we treat the big kids too too!

Don’t hesitate any longer. Book your consultation

at our Markham, Stouffville, or Richmond Hill location today!


What is enamel erosion and how can I prevent it for my child?

Enamel-Erosion-Prevention

What is enamel?

Enamel is a clear, hard layer of mineral that coats teeth to protect them from daily damage. Because of enamel, our teeth are not easily damaged from chewing and grinding. It prevents tooth pain by shielding your child’s teeth from hot or cold drinks and food.

What is enamel erosion?

Enamel erosion occurs when acid damages the protectant layers of enamel. Every time your child drinks or eats something acidic, the enamel becomes a bit softer and losses some of its mineral content. Saliva usually helps to break down harmful acid and bacteria that cause erosion. However, if your child eats too many acidic foods on a daily basis, the saliva in their mouth will not have enough time to do its job and small pieces of enamel will be brushed away.

What causes enamel erosion?

There are two main causes : acidic and sugary foods.

The worst culprit in children’s diets is soft drinks or juice with a high sugar content. The sugars in these drinks are destructive to your child’s teeth and will contribute to erosion and decay. Beware of the several different names for sugar – all of which are damaging to the teeth. Some examples are fructose, honey, glucose and corn syrup.

Some babies may experience it if their mother had a poor diet during pregnancy or because of other genetic reasons.

The following symptoms may be warning signs of enamel erosion:

  • Pain when eating hot, cold or sweet food and drink
  • Rough or uneven edges of the teeth (which may be prone to crack or chip)
  • Discoloration and thinning
  • Dulling of the teeth
  • Hollows on the tooth surface and biting edges
  • Exposed dentine (the darker, yellow colour under the enamel)

 

How can I prevent enamel erosion for my child?

The most important rule to prevent enamel erosion is to feed your child a healthy and balanced diet with minimal sugary/acidic drinks and foods. If you give your child a sugary drink or food, serve it with a meal and encourage them to rinse their mouth after eating. Drinking through a straw is also helpful because liquid will be pushed to the back of the mouth, minimizing contact with the teeth and reducing possible damage.

Plain non-carbonated water or milk are best for enamel health. Milk and other dairy products form a sticky film over teeth to counteract acid in our mouths.

You may consider asking one of our dentists if they would recommend a fluoride treatment. This painless treatment will help your child build stronger teeth.

Is enamel erosion repairable?

No. Enamel is a mineral, meaning the body cannot grow it back. Once it has been damaged through erosion, that loss is permanent. Remember, prevention is always better than correction.

Are you worried your child may be experiencing enamel erosion? Book an appointment with our pediatric dental specialists at one of our three locations:

Markham 905.294.0995 | Richmond Hill 905.709.3888 | Stouffville 905.642.3642


Kids Dental Group orthodontists explains why we need retainers after braces

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Wearing a retainer at night and between meals allows your teeth to hold their new form as they naturally try to shift over time.

Like any part of your body, your teeth will consistently change as you age. Contrary to popular belief, teeth are not permanently anchored down after they are corrected. The process of depositing new bone to stabilize your teeth after they are in the perfect position can take up to a year. After your braces are removed there is a chance your teeth will shift. Your retainer will allow the bones and tissue around your teeth to adapt and hold their new position after your braces are taken off.

How long do I have to wear my retainer?

Dr. Lee or Dr. Antoniazzi will tell you how long you will need to wear your retainer after braces are removed. Your orthodontist may recommend you wear your retainer for one year up to the rest of your life!

Which Type of retainer is right for me?

Our orthodontists will decide which type is best for you; either removable or fixed. Each retainer is a custom made tool that is fabricated by your orthodontist. It is meant to ensure your teeth stay perfect for the rest of your life. The type of retainer you get depends on your clinical needs and desires.

Removable:

Removable retainers can be easily removed when you eat or brush your teeth. If you are instructed to wear your retainer for the rest of your life, you will need to replace it several times. An old retainer will not keep your smile as perfect as it was when you got your braces removed.

Your retainer should be kept in a box when you are not wearing it. Do not wrap it in a tissue or paper towel because it can easily get thrown out by accident.

We recommend you soak your retainer in denture cleaning tablets or vinegar and water. Regular tooth paste is not a good way to clean your retainer because it can encourage bacteria growth and erode the acrylic surface.

Fixed:

Fixed retainers are cemented to the back of your teeth and are typically in place for years. Your orthodontist will advise when to remove your retainer.

Your fixed retainer cannot be removed easily, so you must take great care of your mouth in order for it to stay clean. You will need to spend more time than usual brushing the back of your teeth. Brush all around the wire to make sure calculus does not form. A floss threader can be used to access the small spaces between your teeth.

It is essential you come in for regular check ups with your dentist to make sure there is no tartar or plaque build up around your retainer.

Do you have any more questions about your retainer?

Book your No Obligation Braces Consultation today
Three Locations: Stoufville | Richmond Hill | Markham
 

Feel free to send any quick questions to our Kids Dental live specialists! They would love to chat with you


Ease Your Child Off The Pacifier

techniques for easing your child away from the pacifier

A pacifier is a quick fix for a crying baby. However, parents should know when and how to break their child’s pacifier habits.

When Should You Take The Pacifier Away?

Some experts say parents should take the pacifier away when their child turns one, while others suggest that children can use it up to the age of four without negative consequences.

You should be aware that the longer a pacifier is a part of your child’s daily routine, the more difficult it will be to separate them from it. Take it away sooner rather than later to minimize difficulty.

Here are some techniques for easing your child away from the pacifier:

The Gradual Approach:

Remove the pacifier when your child is in a non-stressful situation, such as when they are playing at home. Once your child has adapted to being without the pacifier at home, you can encourage them not to use the pacifier outside of the house. From then on, only allow the pacifier in the crib or around bedtime. If your child is old enough you can explain to them that they no longer need the pacifier for bedtime, as they are too old to sleep with it.

Cold Turkey:

Be prepared to deal with nights of crying and tantrums if you suddenly take away your child’s soother. Remember to be persistent and not to give in. If you hand your child the pacifier after they’ve thrown a tantrum, they will learn that they can get what they want by putting up a fight.

Prepare your child by letting them know ahead of time that their pacifier will be taken away on a certain date or event. Using a line such as, “Your birthday will be your last day with your binky”, will prepare them and minimize kickback.

Make It Taste Bad:

Sprinkling a safe but bad tasting food (not hot sauce) on your child’s pacifier will deter them from reaching for it next time. After a while, you will find that they don’t want their soother anymore.

Story Time:

Assist your child in the process of removing their pacifier by reading to them about other children doing the same. There are a number of books on the market that are written for this purpose.

The most popular books include:

Bye-Bye Binky by Maria van Lieshout

Binky by Leslie Patricelli

Pacifiers are not Forever by Elizabeth Verdick and Marieka Heinlen

 

If these techniques do not work for your child, please contact our office to book a consultation with a Kids Dental Group pediatric specialist.


The First Facility Dog Working In A Dental Setting In Ontario

Mango – The ‘tail’ of a dog who loves to make you smile

 

Kids_Dental_Therapy_DogThe friendliest, and funniest, member at Kids Dental Group isn’t a doctor, hygienist, assistant or receptionist. She’s furry, soft and four years old. Meet National Service Dog (NSD) Mango, our very own Facility Dog. Here’s Mango’s story.

When Mango was born on April 4th, 2012, the National Service Dogs Association knew she was special. As a puppy, it was clear that Mango knew what she wanted to be when she grew up. A dog that loves to make people smile. To achieve this goal, Mango went through some pretty amazing training. She was specially trained and placed by professionals for her high level of obedience, great temperament and unique skills. Thanks to her training, Mango knows how to provide therapy to kids, specifically in a dental setting.

After anxiously waiting for a year for the right facility dog for our clinic, National Service Dogs found the perfect fit for Kids Dental Group! Mango came to visit our office and waggled her tail during the whole visit. She chose us as her home and we couldn’t be more excited. Today, Kids Dental Group is very proud to have NSD Mango as the first Facility Dog working in a dental setting in Ontario!

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Mango’s work is magic. She can instantly stop tears, fears and any jitters that you might have coming to the dentist. Most kids love when she sits on dental chairs with them – some kids even rest their legs on her during a checkup! This really helps to alleviate any anxiety and even to create some smiles. Here are some other neat facts about NSD Mango:

What type of dog is she? Black Labrador

Where does she live? Mango lives at Dr. Zee’s house. Dr. Zee is her foster mom

What is Mango’s favourite birthday gift? Anything squeaky

Does she get her teeth cleaned too? Absolutely! Mango sits still while the team cleans her teeth

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Mango is very clean and well behaved. She knows to come to you only when she is needed. When Mango is wearing her national service dog coat she is “working.” Mango is so well trained that when she’s working, she walks slowly, doesn’t bark or jump to help everyone feel calm. If you want to meet her, just let her know. She loves to shake a paw.

If you can’t find Mango, don’t worry. She’ll be back soon. Mango is likely outside ‘doing her business’ or just taking a lunchtime walk. If not, Mango could be in the backroom snacking on her favourite food – fruit! (We like to think that’s how she got her name).

If your child would like to spend time with Mango during the next orthodontic or pediatric appointment, please call our Richmond Hill, Markham or Stouffville office to inform the receptionist.


Cavities in Kids: Is my child at risk?

kids cavitiesCavities, or tooth decay, is one of the most common childhood diseases. It can happen when bacteria in mouths react with carbohydrates left on teeth and producing acid. These acids dissolve the tooth enamel over time and leads to cavities.

How do I know if my child has cavities?

Did you know that cavities grow a lot faster in children, and can form in just a few months, that’s why it is so important to take your children for regular dental checkups. When cavities are small, they do not cause any symptoms. But left untreated, it will hurt. Your child may complain of discomfort while chewing, and sensitivity to cold and hot foods. Some children may have a hard time verbalizing their discomfort, so instead of informing their parents of toothache, they may choose to eat softer foods, which irritates the teeth less.

 

Here are some main risk factors for cavities in children:

  • Falling asleep with a baby bottle

This is one of the most common reasons for tooth decay that we see here at Kids Dental Group. When a child falls asleep with their baby bottle, whatever they drank will remain on teeth for hours while your baby sleeps, providing food source for acid-producing bacteria. One of the most common complaints we hear from parents is that “my baby will only sleep if I give him/her their bottle”. We understand how hard it is, and at your child’s dental checkup, we can provide helpful tips to avoid the habit of night-time bottle feeding.

  • Breast-feeding on demand

Don’t get us wrong – we are huge fans of breast-feeding. Although breast milk alone does not cause tooth decay, breast milk in conjunction with other carbohydrate containing foods can cause cavities, especially when feeding is frequent.

  • Inadequate brushing and flossing

Your children may not be old enough to do their own brushing and flossing, and they may be missing the hard to reach locations. As a result, plaque remains on the teeth, which can lead to tooth decay.

  • Not getting enough fluoride.

Fluoride helps prevent cavities, and sometimes, it can even reverse the earliest stages of acid damage to teeth. In City of Toronto, Richmond Hill and Markham, fluoride is added to the public water supply. However, fluoride isn’t added to public drinking water in Stouffville. Bottled water and water from reverse osmosis water filters, also do not have adequate levels of fluoride. During your child’s dental cleaning at Kids Dental Group, we apply topical fluoride treatment, which strengthens their enamel to help fight against cavities.

  • Frequent snacking and juice intake

When a child is constantly snacking or drinking juice, the bacteria in their mouth is getting a steady supply of fuel to produce acid that wears away at their teeth. Imagine your child’s teeth bathed in acid all through the day, this surely will increase the chance of them developing cavities.

  • Anatomy and shape of the teeth

Some kids naturally have teeth that have lots of pits and grooves on them. Some grooves and pits are so deep, that they can collect food, making them very hard to clean. Fortunately, there is a solution for that. At our clinic, many patients have sealants, a protective layer over the grooves, placed on their teeth by our experienced staff. Sealants can decrease the rate of cavities on these teeth significantly.

 

Let’s help your child fight tooth decay together with a few simple steps:

As we mentioned before, your child may not be old enough to brush and floss on their own. Here are some helpful hints to get them started (link to dr. Heder’s blog for 2 for 2 is what we do and why floss)

  • Help your child cut down on snacks and juice

Everything in moderation! We are not saying no treats at all, but a treat is no longer a treat if a child gets it anytime they want.

  • Take your child to their pediatrics dentist every 6 months for cleaning and checkups

Because prevention is the best medicine and your pediatric dentist can help detect cavities before they start hurting your child, and give you helpful individualized tips on how to take care of your child’s teeth. We are happy to have you as part of our Kids Dental Group home.

 


Does My Child Need to See a Pediatric Dentist?

pediatric dentistWhen you’re taking your toddler to the dentist for the first time, you might wonder if you should visit your general dentist or find a pediatric provider.


What is a Pediatric Dentist?

Pediatric dentists are dentists with an additional 2-3 years of formal education in children’s care techniques. Their training focuses on child-specific treatment methods for infants through adolescents. As such, they’re better equipped to handle conditions such as:

• Behavioural techniques to limit anxiety or fear of the dentist
• Special health concerns in children (such as Down’s syndrome, ADHD, or Autism)
• Interceptive treatments, like space maintainers or help with thumb sucking
• Developmental and restorative concerns of primary (baby) teeth
• Sedation techniques for younger patients

Most family dentists may not have the additional training required to treat children at a young age and restore baby teeth, especially if the child is nervous. Therefore it’s recommended that your child see a pediatric specialist for their care.

Something Your Child Can Look Forward To

Our pediatric dental office is set up in a way that is actually fun for your child to visit. We tailor everything to your child’s comfort level, and use age-appropriate communication to educate your child on caring for his or her smile.

Plus, our office is designed to fit smaller bodies comfortably in our chairs, with plenty of room for mom, dad, and even a stroller.

Creating a positive outlook on dental care is one of the most important steps in encouraging a healthy smile as your child grows up. When he or she actually enjoys visiting the dentist, they look back fondly on the time they spend with us. This also means they won’t be afraid of seeing someone else when they’re grown.

Something for Every Stage of Growth

Whether your child is just now getting their first tooth, or it’s time for your teenager to get braces – Kids Dental Group has everything you need. From check-ups and cleanings to fillings and orthodontics – we’re your family’s comfortable, convenient choice for pediatric care.

Call Kids Dental today to schedule your family’s first visit with our pediatric and orthodontic specialists. We’ll help your child keep his or her smile healthy for life!

Richmond Hill
905 709 3888

Markham
905 294 0995

Stouffville
905 642 3642


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Kids Dental | Richmond Hill | Markham | Stouffville