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.

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.

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 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 VA Pediatric Dentist | To Floss or Not To Floss?

Winchester, VA Dentist

Dentist WinchesterBy now, you have likely seen news reports questioning whether flossing is necessary for your oral health.

We want to answer your question right away with an absolute YES. Cleaning between your teeth is an essential part of caring for your teeth and gums.

Whether you use traditional string dental floss, a water flosser, an interdental (between teeth) brush, or other form of interdental cleaning, it is important that you clean between your teeth correctly and on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, in the quest for catchy headlines, many news agencies have been providing a great deal of incomplete and inaccurate information.

Here’s the truth: Plaque and bacteria can be prevented from building up between teeth when flossing is done correctly on a daily basis.

Why does that matter? Build-up of plaque and bacteria between teeth is one of the leading causes of periodontal disease, a condition which not only affects your mouth, teeth, and gums, but has been linked to complications with diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other systemic health issues.

The next time you visit our office, ask your hygienist to show you the most effective way to clean between your teeth. For more information on flossing and interdental cleaning or to schedule an appointment, contact us.

Pediatric Dentist in Winchester VA | Say Cheese!

Pediatric Dentist in Winchester

Winchester VA DentistIt has long been known that dairy products contain high amounts of calcium, which is important for developing and maintaining strong teeth and bones. However, not all dairy works in the same ways. Did you know that a recent study has found that cheese can actually help protect teeth against cavities?

How does cheese prevent cavities?

Eating cheese helps stimulate the production of saliva in your child’s mouth, which washes away sugars, acids, and bacteria on their teeth. Additionally, cheese is a great source of both calcium and phosphorous, which can help strengthen tooth enamel. What’s more, the scientists who performed the study found that some of the other compounds found in cheese seem to adhere to tooth enamel, further protecting the teeth from acids in the mouth.

Are all cheeses the same?

No, some cheeses are healthier for your family than others. To get the greatest benefit from your child’s cheese intake, stick with real cheese varieties, rather than processed cheeses. American cheese, cheese dips, and pre-packaged cheese products, such as those found in jars or spray cans, have added sugars to enhance their flavor. These sugars can be harmful to teeth, rather than protecting them. In addition, these types of cheese products contain a significantly reduced amount of actual cheese content. These processed cheeses can even wear down tooth enamel, increasing risk of decay.

What kinds of cheese should I give my child?

There are hundreds of types of real cheese available, which are packed with calcium and great for tooth protection. If your child enjoys aged cheeses, Cheddar, Swiss, Monterey jack are all tasty options. If he or she prefers softer cheeses, Mozzarella, Brie, or Camembert may be a great way to make your child smile. Gorgonzola, Roquefort, and other similar cheeses have much to offer for a child with a more expansive palate.

What if we’re on a low-fat diet?

Good news! The fat content of your cheese choices do not affect its ability to protect your child’s teeth. The low-fat or non-fat versions of your child’s favorite varieties of cheese contain just as much calcium, phosphorous, and other tooth-protecting compounds as the full-fat varieties.

With so many great options to choose from, consider offering your child cheese instead of sugary or starchy options for a snack or end of meal treat. Cheese tastes great and is healthy for your child and their teeth. For more ideas for healthy snacking, contact our pediatric dental office.

Winchester Pediatric Dentist | Are Your Medications Damaging Your Oral Health?

Pediatric Dentist in Winchester

Dentist in WinchesterAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of all Americans are currently taking prescription medications and more than half take vitamins or other dietary supplements. Even when used as directed and under medical supervision, you may experience medication side effects that can impact your oral health. Always let us know if you are taking any medicines or supplements and if those have changed since your last visit.

Here are some common side effects of medications that can impact your oral health:

Abnormal Bleeding

Blood thinning and reduced clotting accompany the use of some medications. This can cause problems with excessive bleeding during treatments for periodontal disease or oral surgery. Your dentist needs to know if you are taking any medications or supplements before scheduling any treatment that may involve bleeding.

Dry Mouth

Many medications can cause reduced saliva production. When your mouth does not produce enough saliva, it is more susceptible to inflammation and infection, tooth decay, and other oral health problems.

Fungal Infection

Oral Candidiasis is an oral fungal infection that can affect those who use oral inhalers for asthma and other breathing conditions. We encourage patients with inhalers to rinse their mouth thoroughly with water after using their inhaler.

Gum Tissue Enlargement

Overgrowth or enlargement of gum tissue may occur as a side effect of certain medications. Patients with this condition need to give special attention to keeping teeth and gums clean to prevent inflammation or decay.

Soft Tissue Reactions

Inflammation, oral sores, or discoloration of soft tissues can occur as a side effect of some medications. If you experience this type of reaction, we may be able to prescribe a special oral hygiene regimen that can alleviate your discomfort.

Tooth Decay

While tooth decay is not directly a side effect of medication, several types of medicines use sugar to improve the flavor, especially those in liquid, chewable, and lozenge forms. When these are taken over a period of time, the sugars left on the teeth can make the patient more likely to develop tooth decay. When possible, select sugar-free versions of medications, take with meals, or rinse your mouth after taking a sugared medicine.

If you are experiencing any of these side effects or have concerns about any medications you are taking, contact our office.