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.

Pediatric Dentist Winchester VA | Healthy Teeth for Sick Kids

Pediatric Dentist Winchester

Winchester Pediatric DentistAlong with cooler weather and the end of year school break, winter brings the return of cold and flu season. When you are focused on a child with a fever, cough, or vomiting, it can be easy to question getting them out of the sickbed to brush their teeth. However, keeping mouths clean and teeth healthy can be even more important during illness. Here are some useful tips for protecting your child’s oral health when they’re sick.

Brush and floss

Brushing and flossing helps prevent build-up of harmful germs and bacteria in your child’s mouth. This helps keep their immune system focused on fighting the cold or flu virus. If your child’s illness includes vomiting, their teeth are exposed to acids that can weaken teeth. Help them rinse thoroughly and brush their teeth to avoid damage.

Hydrate

When your child is sick, they need plenty of water to stay hydrated, soothe a sore throat, and keep sinuses moist. In addition, dry mouth can occur during illness and increase risk of tooth decay. Drinking water helps combat dry mouth and congestion.

Watch out for sugars

Cough drops and cough syrups can contain high amounts of sugar to improve the medicine flavor. However, this can leave sugary residue on the teeth. Look for sugar-free options when possible and rinse well after any medicine with sugar.

Disinfect dental appliances

If your child has a dental appliance, such as a retainer, athletic mouth guard, or night guard, be sure it is cleaned thoroughly between uses. Contact our office for information on the type of cleanser that is appropriate for your child’s device.

Follow-up

When your child is well again, replace their toothbrush. Even a clean toothbrush may retain some bacteria or germs following use. To help protect your child from reinfection, discard the used toothbrush in favor of a new one.

For more tips on keeping teeth healthy through an illness, contact our office.

Winchester Pediatric Dentist | Keep Kids’ Teeth Safe and Healthy This Winter

Pediatric Dentist in Winchester, VA

Winchester Pediatric DentistAs a parent, you want to keep your child’s teeth safe and healthy all year long. Brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits are great ways to prevent tooth decay. What you may not realize is that the colder weather of the holiday season brings its own challenges to bear. Here are some ways to help protect your child’s oral health this winter.

Encourage Water

While you may think of summer as having dangers of dehydration, winter play holds similar risks for children. The air is drier during this season than in the spring or fall. Activities such as sledding and snowball fighting can lead to sweating out fluids. Have your child sip water throughout the day. This can keep them hydrated and prevent dry mouth, which can raise risk of tooth decay.

Mouth Guard

Whether your child enjoys skiing, sledding, skating, or snowball fights, winter brings increased risks of falls and injuries to both mouth and face. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), up to 40% of kids’ dental injuries occur during sports. Having your child wear a mouth guard during these activities can greatly reduce their risk of damaging teeth or gums.

Strong Hygiene

Regular brushing and flossing are crucial to keeping teeth healthy. If your child becomes ill with a cold or flu virus, continuing dental hygiene can help their immune system concentrate on getting well. If your child vomits, have them rinse their mouth with water right away to avoid leaving acids on their teeth. Discard and replace your child’s toothbrush once they are well to prevent re-infection.

Limit Sugar

Cold weather can lead to sniffles and coughs. Avoid bathing your child’s teeth in sugar from cough drops. Choose sugar-free options to soothe sore throats. Limit juice and cocoa that have high sugar content. Monitor your child’s candy intake through the holidays and ensure they brush after indulging.

Don’t Share

While sharing toys and books is a habit to encourage, sharing cups or silverware is not. Tooth decay, cold sores, and other oral ailments can be spread through saliva. Make sure each family member is using their own drink, spoon, and fork.

For more ways you can keep your child’s teeth safe through the winter season, contact our office.

Pediatric Dentist Winchester | Effective Prevention for Healthier Smiles

Pediatric Dentist in Winchester

Pediatric Dentist Winchester

Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease for children and adolescents. About ¼ of children and more than half of teens currently have this illness. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 90% of adults over age 20 have some amount of tooth-root decay. However, tooth decay is highly preventable. By providing effective dental care during childhood, better long-term oral health may be achieved.

Here are some practices that can help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues at every age:

Hygiene

Brush teeth twice each day with a soft-bristled brush. Clean your tongue gently with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper. Use fluoride toothpaste to help strengthen enamel. Children should use only toothpastes designed for kids’ use. Replace toothbrushes every 2-3 months.

Clean between teeth daily. Use dental floss or another interdental cleaner. Talk to your hygienist for a recommendation and instructions for effective use.

Diet

Eat healthy foods and limit sugary and acidic foods. Drink plenty of water.

Sealants

A recent study on the effectiveness of sealants was published jointly by the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). They found that sealants can prevent up to 80% of tooth decay in permanent molars when used for children and teens. Adults may see similar benefits from use, as well. Additionally, no adverse effects have been reported with use of sealants on patients of any age. Talk to our dentist about whether dental sealants may help you prevent tooth decay.

Fluoride

Fluoridation of public water has been listed by the CDC as one of the great achievements in public health in the 20th century. Studies have shown tooth decay in children who have fluoridated water sources is reduced by up to 40%. If you have concerns about tooth enamel weakness or if you live in an area without fluoridated water, ask our dentist whether supplemental fluoride may be right for you.

Dental Care

Visit our office for a professional cleaning and thorough exam at least twice each year, or as instructed. Seek treatment right away if issues are identified.

Effective preventive care saves time and money and can help ensure a lifetime of healthy, beautiful smiles. For more information about tooth decay prevention, contact our office.