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The Right Time For A Child To See An Orthodontist

Parents often ask the question – ‘when should children see an orthodontist?’. In fact, according to Canadian and American Association of Orthodontists, children as young as seven years old are recommended to see an orthodontist for a checkup. In some cases, earlier than seven years old is acceptable, if their condition warrants an orthodontic checkup.

Sometimes, a child’s teeth may appear to be straight but there could be underlying problems that are not easily detectable. Only a professional can properly assess and examine to see if orthodontic treatment is needed. These underlying problems can affect the way permanent teeth erupt. Thumb sucking problems, tooth crowding, a misaligned bite, and jaw problems are some of the cases that if not checked could result in future permanent teeth problems. An orthodontist can carefully pinpoint the dental problems related to malocclusion or misalignment. They are experts in their field of study, and they help prevent potential problems for future adult teeth.

Around the age of seven years old, most of the permanent teeth have erupted, or most children have a combination of temporary and permanent teeth. During this period, an orthodontist can detect problems related to the jaw and permanent teeth growth.

It is easier to correct orthodontic issues when spotted early because the facial and jawbones are still growing. Unlike with adults, a child’s jaw position and width can be guided by orthodontists more easily. Adults have hardened jawbones, and this means orthodontic treatment can be more complex than for a child who is still developing.

If you think your child may need to see an orthodontist, contact us at Kids Dental Group. Our offices are located in Stouffville, Richmond Hill, and Markham. We would love to check in on your child’s smile to keep them healthy!

-The Kids Dental Group Team


Dental Care for Children with Cleft Lip/Palate

Optimum oral care is essential for all children, but it is particularly important for kids with a cleft lip or palate because they are at a higher risk of having tooth and gum problems. Young children with cleft lip or palate have narrow arches, so cleaning their mouth and teeth can be a more difficult task. Parents should take extra time and care to ensure proper care is given for their child’s mouth.

Here are some dental care tips for parents to help make the job easier:

Proper Dental Hygiene Routine

Children with or without this condition should follow a proper oral routine. Clean teeth with a small soft bristle toothbrush as soon as teeth grow. Brush twice daily or after every meal if possible. Don’t forget to use fluoride toothpaste when brushing!

Dental Checkup

Schedule your child a visit to the dentist as early as one year of age. You can proactively schedule an appointment earlier if your child needs special dental care. Early dental evaluation is necessary to determine the course of treatment for children with a cleft lip/palate. Treatment management depends on the severity of their condition. Some need preventative care; others may require surgery or additional procedures.

Orthodontic Evaluation and Management

Early orthodontic evaluation is also necessary for children with cleft lip or palate. Orthodontists need to assess the facial, bone and jaw growth of your child. When teeth start to grow, your child’s orthodontist will plan a course of action for your child’s dental needs. Short-term and long-term treatment will be expected, as well as monitoring of your child’s jaw growth and oral development.

Collaborative Management with a Dental Surgeon

When your child needs a restorative operation or any dental extraction, the general dentist and orthodontist will have to collaborate with an oral surgeon to determine the best course of action.

Several procedures are needed in managing children with cleft lip or palate. To learn more about pediatric dentistry, contact us at Kids Dental Group. We have three dental offices – you can find us in Stouffville, Richmond Hill, and Markham. Contact us to take care of your child’s dental health today!

-The Kids Dental Group Team


Why Brush Your Child’s Tongue?

Brushing twice a day and flossing at least once is not enough to remove the harmful bacteria from your child’s mouth. Cleaning their tongue is an essential part of every child’s routine dental care.

The tongue acts like a sponge, which can hold the majority of bacteria found in the mouth. Bacteria can adhere on the rough surface of the tongue. Although the tongue doesn’t decay like teeth can, it can allow bacteria to proliferate causing dental cavities and tooth decay. With proper technique, tongue brushing can remove bacteria, prevent dental cavities and gum disease, as well as relieve bad breath.

When cleaning the tongue, children can use their toothbrush to brush it gently. A thin mucus layer keeps food residues and bacteria trapped in the nooks and crannies of the tongue. Therefore, we advise using a little bit of toothpaste when brushing your child’s tongue. Start brushing at the back of the tongue, working forward. Include the top of the tongue when brushing and then after cleaning the tongue, rinse with water to flush away residues.

Children can also use a tongue scraper. A tongue scraper is good for cleaning the tongue thoroughly. It is made of soft, flexible plastic that can gently scrape away the mucus-based layer of food residue and bacteria from your child’s tongue.

Brushing the tongue should be done at least twice a day, in the morning and at night before going to sleep. Make sure your children adhere to this routine so they can form a healthy dental habit that they will remember into adulthood.

If you have questions regarding tongue cleaning for children, contact us at Kids Dental Group in Markham, Richmond Hill or Stouffville. Our pediatric dental team will help your child keep a healthy and beautiful smile!

– The Kids Dental Group Team


Why Choose a Pediatric Dentist?

 

We know the health and well-being of your child is of the utmost importance to you! That’s why when it comes to their first dental appointment, you may wonder if you should bring them to a pediatric dentist or a regular practitioner? At Kids Dental Group, we’re here to help explain the difference! 
 
A pediatric dentist is a specialist in treating the unique needs of a child’s dental care. As a specialist, it is required to complete two to three years of additional training after dental school. This additional training includes education in child psychology and behaviours, pharmacology and up to date training on technology, including patient care. 
 
Our pediatric team also takes the time to explain preventative dental care for your child, hygiene tips and potential treatment options in an easy to understand way! No confusing terminology, just easy communication! 
 
In addition to our team’s experience, we’re prepared for your little ones too! From specialized equipment to interactive toys and prizes – your little ones will feel they are receiving the star treatment! 
 
Another benefit of visiting a pediatric dentist is the focus on preventative care. This article identifies that “pediatric dentists focus on prevention” – and they couldn’t be more right! At Kids Dental Group, we look at your child’s long-term oral health right from their first appointment. We start by helping children to develop healthy oral habits and look to prevent any potential dental problems. Our positive approach to early treatment helps us identify problems before they happen! This helps parents to be proactive about their child’s dental health! Remember, it’s better to be proactive than have to wait for a problem and spend the money and time to fix it! pediatric
 
It can be overwhelming to make decisions about your child’s health care. At Kids Dental Group, we make it simple! Keeping the priority on your child’s health in a safe, experienced and comfortable environment! You can learn about what your child’s first dental visit will be like here. Be sure to book your child’s dental appointment with us in Richmond Hill, Stouffville or Markham today! 
 
– The Kids Dental Group Team 

Should I Worry About my Child’s Bleeding Gums?

Adults are not the only ones who experience bleeding gums. Children may also be affected. And there are several possible reasons for bleeding gums in children and adults alike:

Childs-Bleeding-Gums

  1. Gingivitis

The most serious cause of bleeding gums is gingivitis, the initial stage of gum disease. And it can affect kids, too—particularly older children. Hormones triggered by puberty can make gum tissue prone to swelling and sensitivity. Keeping up good hygiene habits is critical at this stage. Signs that your child has gum disease include redness, swelling, tenderness, a receding gum line and bad breath.

If your child experiences any of these symptoms, be sure to check in with their dentist so gum disease can be detected—and treated—early on, as the effects of gingivitis can prove hard to reverse.

  1. Flossing

A regular flossing routine is the best way to maintain healthy gums and avoid the buildup of plaque. If your child skips flossing for a few days, they may experience bleeding until resuming the routine again. Until your child is around 10 years old, you may wish to assist with flossing to ensure it is done correctly. Any mild bleeding of the gums from flossing should subside after a few days, once the gums become less sensitive. If bleeding persists beyond a week, or if gums become red or irritated, contact your child’s dentist to check for signs of gingivitis.

  1. Toothbrush Type

When your child uses a new toothbrush for the first time, the bristles may be quite firm and abrasive to gums. We recommend always buying brushes with soft bristles, which are gentler on gums and no less effective at cleaning.

  1. Medications

A side effect of some medications is inflamed and bleeding gums. If your child has just started taking a new medication, monitor the appearance of gums. Ensure your child uses a soft toothbrush and sticks to their brushing and flossing routine. If bleeding persists for more than a week, consult your child’s doctor.

  1. Brushing Technique

When kids are first learning to brush their teeth, they often use more force and pressure than necessary. Over time, vigorous brushing can irritate gum tissue and cause bleeding. Model for your child a gentle brushing motion that reaches every tooth, and if necessary, assist your child with brushing until they can do it themselves.

If your child experiences frequent or persistent bleeding gums (lasting beyond a week), get in touch with Kids Dental Group. Call or visit us at one of our convenient locations in Markham (905 294 0995), Richmond Hill (905 709 3888) or Stouffville (905 642 3642).


What is Dental Sedation and is it Safe for Kids?

Sometimes children require dental sedation while undergoing certain long or complex procedures, depending on their age or special needs.

oral-sedation-dentistry

There are three kinds of sedation available, and your pediatric dentists will decide which type is best on a case-by-case basis:

1. Oral sedation

Oral sedation is given by mouth or through the nose and can take around 20 minutes to work. While this form of sedation doesn’t put the child to sleep, it helps them relax.

2. Nitrous oxide

Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, helps kids stay calm while remaining conscious. A mix of nitrous oxide and oxygen is administered through a breathing mask and allows the child to relax within five minutes. At the end of the procedure, the dentist may pump pure oxygen through the mask in order to clear out any remaining nitrous oxide. There are no lasting effects from the gas.

3. General anesthesia

General anesthetic is given through a needle on the back of your child’s hand. Often anesthesiologists will use nitrous oxide to relax the child to sleep before the needle is given, then a tube is inserted into their throat to aid breathing.

Preparing your Child for Sedation

It’s important to follow any guidelines provided by your dentist. Provide a full medical history ahead of time and be sure to note any breathing issues or allergies, as well as any drugs or supplements your child is currently taking. Notify the dentist if your child has a fever, ear infection or cold.

Avoid giving your child any food for at least six hours, and only water up to two hours before sedation to prevent the risk of vomiting. Dressing your child in loose-fitting clothing will enable dental staff to attach and access any monitors to track blood oxygen level, blood pressure, temperature and heart rate during the procedure. Make sure your child uses the bathroom before the procedure for obvious reasons!

During sedation

It’s a good idea to stay with your child and provide comfort by holding their hand, by talking or singing quietly, or bringing along their favourite stuffed animal. If possible, find alternative care for siblings so that you can focus your full attention on the child having the procedure.

After Sedation

When your child wakes after sedation, they may feel nauseous, confused and fussy. As the effects of sedation gradually wear off, your child will likely be clumsy, dizzy and sleepy so they should spend the day recovering at home rather than at school or daycare.

Encourage your child to drink sips of water to avoid dehydration. For the first few hours following the procedure, feed your child soft foods and monitor your child closely. If they experience vomiting, fever, severe pain or bleeding, you should contact your dentist immediately.

Sedation remains a safe and common practice. If you have any questions or concerns about sedation, Kids Dental Group would be happy to help. Contact Us or visit one of our convenient locations in Markham (905 294 0995), Richmond Hill (905 709 3888) or Stouffville (905 642 3642).


Are Baby Teeth Important?

Many people assume that primary or baby teeth don’t matter since they fall out when your child is around five or six years old. But that’s a myth. In fact, baby teeth are just as important as permanent teeth and play a crucial role in your child’s oral health.

importance_baby_teeth

Not only do they hold space for the permanent teeth that will eventually replace them, primary teeth help your child chew solid food and affect your child’s speech development. Losing a primary tooth too early can cause permanent damage to adult teeth.

Oral care should therefore start early—even before the first tooth appears at around six months of age. Here are some simple steps you can take to keep your child’s developing teeth healthy

Discolouration

Since tetracycline is known to cause tooth discoloration, nursing mothers are advised to avoid taking this common antibiotic during the last half their pregnancy.

Bottle Decay

Tooth decay occurs when liquids containing sugars sit on your baby’s teeth for prolonged periods. Cavities can develop in the front teeth. In severe cases, baby teeth will need to be extracted until permanent teeth grow in. Signs of bottle decay include pitted, pocked or discoloured front teeth.

Obviously fruit juices contain sugars, but so do breast milk and infant formula. Tempting as it may be, it is important not to let your baby fall asleep at night or naptime with a bottle. If you are breastfeeding, avoid letting the infant nurse continuously. If your baby is used to falling asleep sucking, try filling a bottle with water or giving your baby a pacifier recommended by Kids Dental. After each feed, use a clean, damp washcloth to gently rub residual sugars and bacteria from your baby’s teeth and gums.

Once your baby over six months old, they can switch from a bottle to a sippy cup (see our recommendations) to reduce the risk of bottle decay.

Fluoride

Even before teeth appear, your child needs to consume fluoride to strengthen the developing enamel. In most countries, municipal water supplies contain enough fluoride to help teeth develop. If you are unsure about fluoride levels, contact your local water district to find out if your tap water contains fluoride. If you regularly use bottled water for drinking and cooking, or have inadequate levels of fluoride in your water, you may want to consult your pediatrician or dentist. Your baby may need a prescription for fluoride supplements.

 

How to Care for Your Baby’s Teeth

Once primary teeth come in, you can begin brushing with a small, soft bristle brush especially for babies. Use a tiny amount of training toothpaste (without fluoride) that is safe to swallow. The earlier your child gets used to the sensation of a toothbrush in their mouth, the better.

Within six months of getting their first tooth, arrange for your child’s first visit to a pediatric dentist. Initial visits will help acclimatize your child to the dentist. Afterward, your child should see the dentist every 4-6 months. At Kids Dental Group, we take a proactive approach to deal with any developmental concerns or treatments.

If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s teeth, get in touch with Kids Dental Group at one of our convenient locations in Markham, Stouffville and Richmond Hill.


How to Overcome Some Common Issues with Braces

Overcome Some Common Issues with Braces

Having orthodontic treatment can seem like a long and painful process. But it doesn’t have to be. Fortunately there are easy fixes for some common complications with braces:

  1. Sensitivity

Your teeth and gums may become more sensitive to touch and temperature whenever your braces are adjusted. It is common to experience some discomfort while teeth are shifting. It may be helpful to take a mild painkiller or to apply a numbing ointment to areas of the gums that are tender.

  1. Sores

The archwire of the braces or the brackets that hold it in place may rub against your gums. If you develop cuts on the inside of your cheeks or lips, apply a small ball of orthodontic wax to the chaffed area. Rinse out your mouth with warm salt water or an antiseptic mouthwash to avoid sores becoming infected.

  1. Chapped lips

Wearing braces or a retainer may cause your lips to dry out as they stretch wider over teeth. A lip balm or petroleum jelly can help soothe dry or chapped lips. If you find that your braces are chaffing or rubbing uncomfortably against your lips, consult your dentist.

  1. Tongue issues

As your tongue adjusts to the feeling of braces, it may catch on the brackets or get poked by the wire. In time you will learn to adapt the way you eat and speak. But if your tongue gets cut or irritated, rinse with a warm salt water or an antiseptic mouthwash.

  1. Broken Archwire or Loose Brackets

Through the force of regular adjustments, the archwire may eventually snap or bend, and the brackets that hold it in place may become loosened. If there is any damage to your braces at any point, consult your dentist right away to avoid injury or delayed treatment.

  1. Ligatures

Ligatures and bands are the tiny elastics and other parts connected to the braces. If possible, save a dislodged band for repair. If you accidentally swallow a ligature, do not panic. Be sure to contact your our office as soon as possible to have any parts of your braces secured or replaced.

  1. Inflamed gums

While you undergo orthodontics, your bones and gums are moving. It is normal for gums to become irritated and inflamed as a result of this movement. But gums that become too inflamed or receded can actually impede treatment. In some cases your dentist will need to treat your gums before continuing with orthodontic treatment.

  1. Speech impediments

Orthodontic treatment may affect the way you speak. Such speech impediments are usually only temporary. Your pronunciation will most likely adapt as you adjust to the sensation of braces or a retainer. In some cases, your speech may be affected for the duration of your treatment, so be patient with yourself.

  1. Jaw pain

Jaw pain is common at the onset of orthodontic treatment as the bones are being manipulated. If the discomfort is more pronounced or prolonged, speak to your orthodontist.

  1. Mobile teeth

Following treatment, your teeth will remain susceptible to movement for a time. This is why wearing a retainer is so important. While you wear braces, take care not to eat hard foods such as corn on the cob, nuts, carrots and apples, as well as sticky food like bubble gum, and until your teeth have fully set into their new position.

The Silver Lining

Braces aren’t forever. Keep in mind the beautiful, healthy smile awaiting you at the end of orthodontic treatment. In the meantime, why not have fun decorating your brackets with colourful “elastics” for holidays ,special occasions, such as red and pink for Valentine’s Day or green for St Patrick’s or just because!!

If you have any questions about braces or would like to arrange for a consultation, contact Kids Dental Group today or visit us at one of our locations in Markham, Stouffville and Richmond Hill.


Why Should You Wear a Mouth Guard?

A mouth guard is generally considered only necessary for children and adults who play contact sports such as football or hockey. But the reality is, dental injuries can occur with any form of exercise. They can happen anytime and anywhere—at the gym, while eating an apple, or even having your glass bumped at a party.

Why_Wear_Mouth_Guard

The simple fact is that wearing a mouth guard—particularly during physical or sporting activities—can prevent a multitude of injuries, from chipped or broken teeth, fractured crowns or bridgework, lip and cheek injuries, root damage to the teeth, to fractured jaws.

Bear in mind that once a permanent tooth has been knocked out, it’s gone for good. There is no substitute for real teeth, so we should do our utmost to protect them and never take them for granted. After all, veneers, bonding, root canals, and fillings are costly and often do not last a lifetime.

Given the risks, it makes a lot of sense to wear a mouth guard when playing any form of exercise or sport, including gymnastics, ice skating, and skiing.

How a Mouth Guard Works

Mouth guards work by absorbing and evenly distributing the force of contact, thereby protecting the teeth, mouth, cheeks, tongue and jaw. For example, when a child falls off his bike, the jaw automatically clenches, causing one tooth to strike another.

While mouth guards are not mandatory in organized sports, the vast majority of dental and facial injuries are sports-related and could be easily avoided by using a mouth guard, which has been likened to an “airbag for teeth.”

The jury is still out as to whether mouth guards offer protection against concussion. But it stands to reason that extra padding between the mandible and the maxilla softens the blow of the mandible against the skull upon impact.

Types of Mouth guard

Made of a soft plastic or laminate that covers the upper teeth, mouth guards typically come in two types and vary according to quality and cost:

Generic

  • Convenient and inexpensive to purchase
  • Available at many pharmacies and sporting goods stores
  • Can be bulky, poorly fitting and uncomfortable to wear
  • Offer less protection than custom guards
  • Inhibits speech and breathing
  • Prone to being chewed on (so less effective)

Custom-fitted

  • More expensive since it is custom made
  • Available from your dentist or orthodontist
  • Made from an “impression” or exact mould of your teeth
  • Thin and snug fit, comfortable to wear
  • Ability to talk and breathe
  • Most effective protection against injuries to the teeth and jaws

How to Care For Your Mouth Guard

Like any retainer or appliance, a mouth guard will last longer if you take care to store and clean it well:

  • Gently scrub with a toothbrush and toothpaste after each use
  • Store in a protective case
  • Keep away from hot water or sun
  • Do not chew on it
  • Replace every season
  • Discard if improper fit

If you have any questions or concerns about your mouth guard, or to schedule an appointment to have one custom made, contact Kids Dental Group today at one of our convenient locations in Stouffville, Richmond Hill, and Markham.


5 Tips to Ease Teething Pains

Teething is a painful process—for parents and babies alike! With 20 primary teeth in total, arguably the first ones hurt the most. Your child’s teeth may start coming in anywhere between 5-12 months, yet signs of discomfort may show even earlier than 6 months as the jagged edges of teeth start to push against the gums.

Ease Teething Pains

The first teeth to cut through are typically the two bottom fronts (central incisors), then the four upper teeth (central and lateral incisors). The (back) molars usually show up shortly after the baby’s first birthday, followed by the pointed teeth between the molars and incisors (canines). The second set of molars arrives behind the first set at around age 2. Sometimes there is no clear teething pattern, with teeth appearing in ‘batches,’ and there is rarely cause for concern.

While your baby is teething you can expect plenty of irritability, drooling, and swollen gums. Your child will begin mouthing any object in sight, so be sure to keep any dangerous items well out of reach. It may be helpful to keep a bib on your child during the day to soak up all that saliva. You may also notice a rash around the mouth at this stage. Pat the area around the mouth to keep it as dry as possible.

During this time, babies may experience a loss in appetite and have trouble sleeping. Some parents even report ear pain, diarrhea, and low-grade fever in their teething infant. Be mindful, a fever that is persistent or above 101 degrees will requires a visit to your child’s doctor, as the cause is unlikely to be related to teething.

Teething TLC

  1. Massage

Gently rub your child’s gums with a clean finger or a wet cloth. Light pressure feels good and soothes sore gums.

  1. Chill

A cold compress helps reduce inflammation. Try having your baby suck on a chilled, twisted cloth or teething ring. Bear in mind that chilled items will only stay cool for around 20 minutes, so you may wish to keep, and rotate, a few teething rings in the fridge.

  1. Gnaw

Opt for ridged or bumped rubber instead of liquid-filled teething rings, which can puncture after repeated chewing. Hard vegetables, such as peeled and chilled carrots or cucumbers, can double as homemade teethers. But make sure to supervise your child closely since such items could pose a choking hazard.

  1. Medicate

Many parents swear by liquid Tylenol for pain relief if the pain gets too much. Follow dosage instructions carefully, though, because too much Tylenol, too often can be harmful to your child. And always consult your child’s doctor if the pain persists beyond a few consecutive days.

  1. Distract

Sometimes affection and distraction are the only remedies for fussy babies. If nothing else, rocking and hugging your child may bring them momentary comfort.

For more advice about teething stages and relief, Kids Dental Group would happy to help. Contact us at any of our convenient locations in Stouffville, Richmond Hill, and Markham.


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