Winchester Pediatric Dentist | X-Rays: What You Need to Know When You Visit the Dentist

Pediatric Dentist Winchester

X-rays provide useful visual data for dentists to utilize when treating you. Occasionally, guests to our office ask about the radiation from x-rays and the dangers associated with high-exposure. Rest assured, a dental x-ray is one of the safest medical imaging procedures there is. Here’s what you need to know about getting a dental x-ray.

The Purpose of Oral X-Rays

X-ray imaging of the mouth can show our dental team damage to your teeth as well as disease. They can also show incoming teeth that could be problematic. X-rays allow our team to prevent problems by addressing them early. Rather than wait for excessive tooth damage to become visible, a simple x-ray procedure can identify it before it becomes painful.

Dangers of X-Ray Radiation

Excessive radiation exposure has been linked to increasing the risk of cancer. However, not all radiation sources are the same. It matters greatly where the radiation is coming from, how much you are exposed to, and for what length of time. X-rays have not been shown to present a significant increase in cancer development.

Comparing X-Ray Radiation

Dental x-rays are among the lowest dose of radiation producing procedures in medical imaging. It would take roughly 1,200 panoramic x-rays of your mouth to equal one CT Scan. Did you know that when you fly in an airplane you are exposed to a small amount of radiation? A panoramic x-ray of your mouth is only half of the radiation you’re exposed to on a 7-hour plane ride. The amount of radiation is even lower for a routine x-ray exam. A routine procedure including 4 intraoral images is about the same dose of radiation from a 1-2 hour plane ride. A dental x-ray provides less than the amount of radiation you are exposed to in the average day from natural radiation.

Safety First

Even though dental x-rays are safe and expose you to a small amount of radiation, our office takes additional measures to keep you safe. First, state laws and regulations set the limit of radiation patients can be exposed to. We never exceed these restrictions. Our experienced team is also trained to use the x-ray equipment. Visitors are provided with a shield or bib that provides additional protection.

What You Can Do

Communication is key. If you are a new patient, please provide us with your medical records so that our team knows about any previous medical imaging you have had. Talk to our dentist about your concerns. Together we’ll work with you to ensure you are treated in a safe environment.

Dental x-rays are a safe and incredibly helpful procedure. They allow our dentist to detect problems and develop solutions specific to your mouth. Dental x-rays provide a significantly lower dose of radiation than other safe medical imaging methods. We strive to create an atmosphere where our guests are comfortable. If you have any concerns, please let us know.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule your next examination, please contact our office.

Winchester Pediatric Dentist | The One Piece of Gear Every Athlete Needs

Winchester Pediatric Dentist

An injury to your mouth can be a painful, expensive experience. For athletes, mouth and tooth injuries pose a very real risk. Mouthguards are an excellent tool for protecting your mouth from injury and harm. Our team can help you find a solution that protects your teeth.

Why Wear a Mouthguard?

Mouthguards protect your teeth. For athletes who play contact sports, injuries to the mouth can cause cracked teeth, or even worse, missing teeth. Mouthguards defend your teeth against such injuries. But mouthguards aren’t only for teeth. Your mouth is mostly made up of soft tissues, such as your tongue, inside cheeks, and lips. These areas can become injured or pierced when playing sports.

Do All Athletes Need a Mouthguard?

High-contact sports such as hockey, wrestling, football, and boxing pose the greatest risk for mouth injuries. But all athletes can benefit from being cautious. Gymnasts should consider wearing one to protect their mouth in the event of a fall. Baseball and basketball players should also wear one to protect themselves from being injured by a ball or collision with another player. Mouthguards should be treated as a necessary piece of your athletic gear.

Which Mouthguard Is the Most Effective?

Our team can help you find the best mouthguard during your next visit to our office. There are a number of options available ranging from store-bought ones to custom-fitted mouthguards. We will work with you to determine which type of mouthguard is best for you. It is important that any guard fits properly. We can also work with you if you are currently undergoing orthodontic treatment and are wearing braces. Braces can puncture your mouth if impacted, particularly during sports. Our team will help you find a solution that works.

Your mouth should be protected while participating in athletic activities. Oral injuries can make eating, drinking, and talking difficult. Protect yourself from an injury before one happens. Contact our office and ask about finding a mouthguard that is right for you.

Pediatric Dentist in Winchester | 5 Fun Teeth Facts

Pediatric Dentist Winchester

Test your child’s (and maybe your own) knowledge with these five fun facts about teeth and brushing. How many do you know without checking?

  1. What color is your toothbrush? The most common color is blue, followed by red. If you will be spending the night somewhere or are going camping, take a toothbrush that isn’t blue to avoid confusion!
  1. It’s a commonly repeated story that George Washington had wooden teeth, but this is not the case. In fact, his dentures were made from bone, brass, gold, and ivory. Washington suffered from extensive dental problems his entire life, and only had one tooth left by the time he became president.
  1. Do you know how many teeth you have? Kids have up to 20 teeth and a full adult set has 32. Luckily, you don’t have as many teeth as some armadillo species, which can have more than 100 teeth!
  1. The tooth fairy’s pay rate has increased over time. In 1950, the average pay for a tooth was 25 cents. By 1988, the tooth fairy was paying $1 per tooth, and in 2015 that number jumped to an average of $3.19.
  1. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body. 96% of enamel is made of minerals.

Brushing twice each day for two minutes, and flossing regularly is the key to keeping your enamel free from decay.

How many of these fun teeth facts did you already know? The most important fact to know about your teeth is that taking care of them is essential to your health. Make sure your child is keeping up with their oral hygiene routine, as well as visiting us for a regular examination.

For more tips on keeping your child’s teeth healthy or to schedule your child’s next visit to our office, please contact us. We look forward to seeing you!

Pediatric Dentist Winchester | Why You Should Avoid the Emergency Room for Dental Work

Winchester Pediatric Dentist

Pediatric dentist Winchester VAYou want to save time and money, so you take your child to the emergency room for a dental problem. It’s a growing trend especially among parents, but you should generally avoid using the emergency room when dental problems occur. We understand you want your child to receive the best available care in the quickest manner possible. However, it is important to know the best place to seek out for dental issues is often our office.

How Common is it?

Over the past several years there has been a noticeable increase in the number of patients admitted to the emergency room because of a dental issue. The American Dental Association estimates that emergency room visits for dental issues occur roughly every 15 seconds, for a total of 2.2 million patients per year.

When You Should Visit the Emergency Room

If your child has a broken jaw or severe bleeding from the mouth, then an emergency room visit is in order. However, when it comes to severe discomfort from a toothache, broken teeth, or extensive decay, our dental office is a much better option to help treat you. Our office is equipped with a knowledgeable team that specializes in dental care. Our dentist also uses special tools that an emergency room would not be equipped with.

Why People Choose the Emergency Room Instead

When it comes to children, many parents take their kids to the emergency room because of insurance. You might think it will be easier and cheaper but the reality is often the opposite. Those lacking dental insurance seek out the hospital as a cheaper alternative, only instead to be billed excessively for what is likely considered a “non-emergency.” Also, emergency room wait times can often be extensive so it is usually not a quick alternative.

Our office works hard to ensure visitors receive excellent, affordable care in the quickest manner possible. Talk to us about your own situation so that we can reach a solution.

Regular Visits Are Your Best Defense

A visit to the emergency room is costly. Instead, your best defense in keeping a healthy mouth is by setting up regular visits to our office. Many who seek dental care in the emergency room do so because they neglected to act sooner, but our professional dental team can assist you. Tackling dental care early is your best defense.

When it comes to receiving dental care, our office has the knowledge and experience to best serve you. Our dentist has the necessary tools to treat patients. We strive to see our patients in a timely manner, so call our office to schedule your next visit.

If you have any questions about keeping your smile healthy, please contact our office.

Winchester Pediatric Dentist | Sports Drinks and Energy Drinks

Pediatric Dentist in Winchester

Pediatric Dentist Winchester VAAthletes often drink sports drinks during exercise, so it can be easy to believe that these drinks provide important nutrients to help keep you healthy and active. Young adults frequently consume energy drinks to help them stay awake and active for school, work, or play. However, both sports drinks and energy drinks can have profoundly negative impacts on your teeth and your health.

With so many different beverages on the market, it can be difficult to know what classifies a one as a sports drink or energy drink.

Sports drinks, like Gatorade and similar products, were originally created for high-performing athletes. They provide sugar for quick energy and sodium and electrolytes to help stave off dehydration that can occur with intense physical activity. This can be highly useful in the short term, but do not provide any significant health benefit outside this very narrow window of intended use. Even highly active adults are better served by drinking water instead of sugary, acidic sports drinks.

Energy drinks are beverages which generally contain higher levels of caffeine than other sodas. Popular brands such as Monster, Red Bull, and Rockstar fall into this category. Energy drinks can lead to increased heart rate and stress on the nervous system. This makes them potentially dangerous in combination with exercise, particularly for those with heart conditions. In addition to the added sugars and acids they contain, Caffeine is also a natural diuretic, so can lead to dehydration, dry mouth, and other complications

The danger to both children and adults in sports drinks and energy drinks comes not only from the sugar content but also from the acidity. These types of drinks contain a significant amount of acid that they begin destroying teeth in as little as five days. Energy and sports drinks can damage tooth enamel, increasing the risk of cavities and tooth decay. These drinks erode or thin out the enamel of the teeth, leaving them more susceptible to decay and sensitivity. Athletes drink these beverages to remain hydrated and sip them frequently during exercise. This increases the time that teeth are exposed to the acidity and high sugar content of sports drinks, leaving them vulnerable to decay.

More than one third of adolescents, or children between grades 6 and 12, drink a sports drink each week. As a comparison, nearly 15% of children in the same age group drink at least one energy drink each week. Considering their widespread and growing consumption, it is important to take notice on the negative effects these drinks can have on teeth.

While sports drinks and energy drinks can be an alternative to water, there are ways to promote great oral health. The best way to promote oral health is to keep yourself hydrated with water to prevent the negative effects that sports and energy drinks bring. If you feel that you must use sports drinks, rinse your mouth with water afterwards and avoid brushing your teeth right after you have consumed a sports drink. Also, read the ingredient labels before you consume drinks. Avoid high amounts of acid and sugar, especially if you already have teeth problems such as sensitivity or frequent cavities, as sugar and acid can make these issues worse.

Exercising is great for your body and your mouth, but sports and energy drinks are not a necessary part of well-being. There are many alternatives, it’s just a matter of finding what works best for you. When it comes to energy drinks, it is best to avoid or limit your consumption of them all together. Limiting your exposure to sports and energy drinks is one step you can take to improve your oral health. Talk to us about further preventative care for your oral health.

For more helpful tips about keeping your teeth healthy, contact our office.

Pediatric Dentist in Winchester | One Simple Treatment Can Save Your Child’s Smile

Pediatric Dentist in Winchester, VA

Winchester Pediatric DentistOur dentist might suggest dental sealants for your child during a visit to our office. Sealants are a way to protect your teeth against decay. With any dental treatment, it helps to understand the procedure and how it can impact your child’s oral health.

Why Get Sealants?

Sealants help to prevent tooth decay. Sealants are applied on the back teeth, where decay is most likely to develop. Our dentist will often recommend sealants for children and teens, but adults may benefit from sealants, as well.

The further your teeth are in the back of your mouth, the more difficult it can be to maintain the proper hygiene needed to keep them healthy. Sealants can prevent up to 80% of decay within the first two years alone. After 4 years, sealants continue to prevent as much as 50% of decay. Children without sealants are more than three times as likely to develop tooth decay than those with sealants.

When Should You Get Them?

Your child’s first molars usually become visible around age 6, with the second set around age 12. You will want to talk to us about the best course of action for keeping molars healthy. Sealants are most effective when they are done as soon as the molars break through. Regular examinations with our dentist will determine the best time to have sealants applied.

What Should I Expect?

Sealants are one of the simplest treatments we perform in our office. There is generally no discomfort associated with this process. We will first thoroughly clean your child’s teeth, and then use a special gel. The gel is then cleaned off before the sealant is applied. A small blue light is used to harden the sealant in a matter of moments.

What Concerns Should I Have?

There are no side-effects from sealants, and allergic reactions are extremely rare. However, talk to our doctor about any allergies your child has so we can discuss the best possible course of action.

Next Steps

Sealants last for years before needing to be reapplied. It is important to schedule regular visits to our office so that our dentist can check the condition of the sealants and teeth on an ongoing basis. If your child had sealants several years ago and you are unsure if they should be reapplied, schedule an appointment with us.

For more tips on keeping teeth healthy and for questions about dental sealants, contact our office.

Winchester Pediatric Dentist | 4 Ways for Your Child to Have a Successful Dental Examination

Pediatric Dentist Winchester

Juggling your child’s dental appointment between school, sports, and other activities can be a real challenge. Your child can also make it difficult if they are hungry or anxious. Follow these steps to make your child’s next visit to our office a successful and pleasant one.

Feed Your Children

Kids can get irritable and grouchy if they are hungry. Allow your child to have a small snack before their appointment. If they can, they should brush beforehand so that the food they just ate is not still in their mouth when our dentist sees them. Dr. Mary Hayes of the American Dental Association also suggests a small snack if your child gags frequently at the dentist. Swallowing can help your child control gagging.

Schedule Carefully

It can be tempting to schedule your child’s appointment right after school, or jammed between other events. Choose a time of day when your child will be ready and not rushed. This is especially important if you know that the visit will include more than a standard dental examination.

Keep Your Anxiety in Check

Anxiety can be a significant deterrent for certain children visiting the dentist. Our office works hard to create a welcoming, safe, and comfortable environment for all children and their families. Your child will take behavioral cues from you, so keep your own stress level and anxiety in check. Remaining in control is one way you can help your child remain confident during a visit.

Watch Your Child Throughout the Year

To make sure your child’s next visit is successful, make sure they are keeping up with their oral health year-round. For young children, supervise them to make certain their brushing habits are correct. As your child grows and adds teeth, they can miss areas they aren’t used to brushing. If they practice good brushing and flossing habits throughout the year, they decrease their risk of developing decay, making their next visit to our office easier and less time-consuming.

It can be challenging to ensure your child has a positive dental examination, but follow these steps to make sure your next visit is simple and successful. A hungry child can make for a difficult guest, so be sure to have a snack. Don’t forget to keep your own feelings and behavior positive to give your child confidence. Emphasize good brushing and flossing habits at home, and your next visit will reflect that. We look forward to seeing you and your child at their next visit.

Pediatric Dentist in Winchester | How Can I Keep My Kids Interested in Brushing Their Teeth?

Pediatric Dentist in Winchester

Winchester VA Pediatric DentistAs a parent, you want to instill good habits into your children. One essential routine they must practice is twice-daily brushing. Sometimes it can be hard to keep your child interested or motivated when brushing their teeth. The below tips will help to keep brushing fun.

Give Them Choices

Take your child with you to pick out a toothbrush and toothpaste. Having a favorite character or color on their toothbrush might help to keep their interest. Look for fun flavors of fluoride toothpaste. Whatever they decide on, we recommend making them part of the process.

Make it Rewarding & Fun

Creating a fun chart for keeping track of morning and nighttime brushing can be fun. Offer a sticker after each time your child brushes. Consider using small rewards early on to boost little ones’ motivation. When establishing a brushing routine, keep track of progress in a measureable way. Just like choosing a brush and toothpaste, involve your child in the process of keeping track.

Watch the Time

Make sure your child is brushing for a full two minutes. The American Dental Association suggests parents use videos and music to keep their child entertained while brushing. Try reading a short story to them. Whichever way works best for your child, get them in the habit of brushing twice daily for two minutes each.

Learning by Example

Your child learns through imitation. Show your child how you brush and make it a task you do together. Stay consistent with your own routine while making sure your child sticks to his or hers. Don’t allow your family to take a day off from brushing.

Fun Flossers

While it is important for your child to learn how to brush their teeth, don’t forget about teaching them to floss. We recommend buying fun colored or shaped kids’ flossers. These are easier for kids to hold, and it gets them used to using dental floss. Again, make your child a part of the decision and let them pick out what they would like to use.

Keeping your child interested in brushing can be difficult. Stick to a routine and lead by example. Always make your child part of the decision process in choosing styles and flavors of brushes, toothpastes, and floss. Make sure your child is receiving regular examinations in our office. Doing so will set them on track for a lifetime of smart dental choices.

For more tips on your child’s dental health or to schedule your next visit, please contact our office.

Pediatric Dentist in Winchester VA | Root Canal Therapy for Children

Winchester, VA Pediatric Dentist

 Pediatric Dentist WinchesteRPrimary (or baby) teeth play a vital role in the proper growth and development of your child’s permanent teeth. This is the reason why we may recommend root canal therapy for your child, rather than simply extracting a severely decayed baby tooth. Please review the information below to learn more about what symptoms may indicate the need for root canal treatment and how to prevent tooth decay in baby teeth.

In early stages, your child may not experience pain or discomfort from tooth decay. However, if your child suddenly develops sensitivity to hold, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and drinks, this could be a sign of decay. Other signs your child could need root canal therapy can include pain or throbbing in a tooth, which may indicate pulp damage or infection. This is most common when a tooth has been previously chipped or cracked and exposed the pulp within. We may recommend diagnostic x-rays to determine the extent of the damage or infection before advising treatment.

Root canal treatment for children proceeds in similar fashion to the adult experience. Local anesthetic medication is generally used to ensure comfort throughout. In most cases, your child’s root canal therapy will be a pulpotomy – removal of infected pulp only. Since less structure is affected by this treatment, it usually requires less time and discomfort to complete and to heal.

After your child’s root canal therapy, a dental crown will be fabricated and placed on the tooth to protect the remaining tooth structure from further damage. This crown will be strong and designed to perfectly fit within your child’s mouth. When the baby tooth falls out, the crown will go with it, allowing the permanent tooth to move into place normally.

There are actions you can take to help protect your child from tooth decay requiring root canal therapy. Some of these include:

  • Start twice yearly dental visits by age 1
  • Brush your child’s teeth until they are old enough to take over
  • Teach your child how to brush and floss correctly
  • Practice healthy nutrition in your home
  • Talk to your child about the value of healthy teeth and gums

For more information about childhood root canal therapy, contact our office.

Pediatric Dentist in Winchester | A Parent’s Guide to Teething

Pediatric Dentist Winchester

Winchester Pediatric DentistTeething is a natural and necessary part of your child’s growth. However, knowing that doesn’t make it any easier to handle. If your baby has started teething, or if you are trying to prepare for the onset of this stage, review the information below. Consult your child’s dentist for more information about your child’s specific needs.

Symptoms of Teething

Misinformation about teething is common. Understanding what you should expect can help you know when you need to contact a doctor or dentist for your child.

Normal symptoms include: irritability, difficulty sleeping, fussiness, excessive drooling, loss of appetite, chewing on fingers.

Call your doctor if your baby has fever, rash, diarrhea, or if their gums have severe swelling, redness, or bleeding.

Treatment for Teething

Soothing a distressed, teething baby can be difficult. With sore, inflamed gums, your baby may respond to a chilled pacifier or teething ring. You may also try rubbing their gums gently with a clean finger or damp gauze.

It is best not to medicate your child during teething, as this can mask symptoms of a potential illness. Follow the recommendations of your child’s doctor or dentist.

Do not use topical pain relievers, which can be dangerous for young children. Homeopathic teething gels and tablets have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for their safety.

Dental Care for New Teeth

As soon as your baby’s first tooth emerges, dental care is needed. Gently wipe your baby’s tooth and gums with a damp washcloth at least twice a day and before bed. Once your child has two teeth that touch, begin cleaning between teeth daily using floss or an interdental brush.

Your child should have their first dental visit by age 1 or within 6 months of their first tooth. Stay positive when telling your child about the dentist. We will check their teeth and ensure a comfortable first visit. Contact our office to schedule an appointment.