Dr. Josh and Dr. Brik have been trained to care for the oral health of children before they have teeth up until they are ready for college.
Trained as both an orthodontist and a pediatric dentist, they can identify orthodontic growth and developmental problems early and create life-long, healthy, beautiful, confident smiles for our patients. Our mission is our way of life… Dr. Josh, Dr. Brik and our highly trained staff members treat all patients and parents as they’d like to be treated and as they’d like their children treated. We believe in providing a “solid gold” experience for every family.
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions patients have about dentistry and oral health issues. If you have any other questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, we would love to hear from you. Click on a question below to see the answer.
Primary teeth or baby teeth are important for three reasons:
- They promote proper chewing and eating
- They provide space for the permanent teeth and guide them into the correct position
- They permit normal development of speech and add to an attractive appearance
Primary front teeth are replaced at an early age 6-8 years. The back teeth cuspids and molars aren’t replaced until age 10-13. It is very important to maintain the health of the primary teeth. Neglected cavities can and frequently do lead to problems, which affect developing permanent teeth.
Begin brushing your child’s first teeth as soon as they erupt. Avoid fluoride toothpaste until your child can spit and clear his/her mouth – usually around age 2 or 3. You can use a wet wash cloth or a special finger tooth brush for the first few months. You should brush your child’s teeth for them one time a day until age 7 or 8. Give your child a turn and then follow up afterwards. This will help maintain good oral hygiene and positively reinforce the importance of good oral home care. Children often do not have the skill level to brush adequately until they can write their name in cursive. Supervision and occasional brushing of older children’s teeth is also recommended. The doctors can help you determine whether your child has the skill level to brush properly.
Flossing removes plaque between the teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach. Flossing should begin when any two teeth touch. You should floss your child’s teeth until he or she can do it alone. We will review proper brushing and flossing techniques at your child’s cleaning visits.
Pediatric dentistry is a dental specialty that focuses on the oral health of young people. Following dental school, a pediatric dentist has two to three years of additional specialty training in the unique needs of infants, children and adolescents, including those with special health needs. A pediatric dentist is the dental equivalent of a pediatrician in the medical community. Pediatric dentists see only children and are prepared to treat their special dental needs.
Healthy eating habits lead to healthy teeth. Children should eat a variety of foods from the five major food groups. Most snacks that children eat can lead to cavity formation. Frequency and duration of snacking play a role in tooth decay. Children who drink constantly from a sippy cup or who snack frequently have a greater chance for developing cavities. Bacteria in dental plaque eat simple sugars and produce acids, which attack tooth enamel. When a child is constantly drinking or eating, the attack on their enamel is continuous and will lead to significant tooth decay. Offer your child snacks of nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables, low-fat yogurt, and low-fat cheese, which are healthier and better for your child’s teeth.
Radiographs (X-Rays) are a vital and necessary part of your child’s dental diagnostic process. Without them, certain dental conditions can and will be missed.
Radiographs detect much more than cavities. For example, radiographs are taken to evaluate erupting teeth, evaluate the results of an injury, diagnose bone diseases, or plan orthodontic treatment. Radiographs allow the dentist to diagnose and treat health conditions that cannot be detected during a clinical examination. If dental problems are found and treated early, dental care is more comfortable for your child and more affordable for you.
At Erickson Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics we follow the ADA (American Dental Association) and AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) recommendations for taking radiographs. Children with a high cavity risk should have radiographs every six months. Children with moderate to low caries risk, radiographs are recommended approximately once a year. A panoramic radiograph is recommended every three years starting at age 5 to 6 years old. This special film helps us monitor the growth and development of your child’s teeth and bones.
Exposure to radiation is always a concern. At Erickson Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics we have the newest in digital radiographic equipment. With digital radiographs the radiation exposure is extremely small. The risk is negligible. In fact, the dental radiographs represent a far smaller risk than an undetected and untreated dental problem.
Proper brushing and flossing removes bacteria and the left-over food particles that combine to create cavities. For infants, use a clean washcloth to wipe the plaque from teeth and gums. Avoid putting your child to bed with a bottle filled with anything other than water. See “early childhood caries” for more information.
For older children, you should brush their teeth at least twice a day. Also, watch the number of snacks containing sugar that you give your children.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that your child’s first visit to the dentist be within 6 months of their first tooth erupting or by their first birthday. Routine visits will start your child on a lifetime of good dental health.
We may also recommend protective sealants or home fluoride treatments for your child. Sealants can be applied to your child’s molars to prevent decay on hard to clean surfaces.
A sealant is a clear or shaded white plastic material that is applied to the chewing surfaces (grooves) of the back teeth (premolars and molars), where 80% of decay happens on adult teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier to food, plaque and acid, thus protecting the decay-prone areas of the teeth. Studies have shown that sealants can reduce tooth decay by as much as 90%.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that sealants be placed as soon as the first adult molars come in at age 6 or 7. Sealants should continue to be used as each adult molar tooth appears the mouth.
One serious form of decay among young children is Early Childhood Caries (Baby Bottle Tooth Decay). This condition is caused by frequent and long exposures of an infant’s teeth to liquids that contain sugar. Milk (including breast milk), formula, fruit juice and other sweetened drinks are some these liquids.
Putting a baby to bed for a nap or at night with a bottle filled with anything other than water can cause serious and rapid tooth decay. Sweet liquids pool around the child’s teeth giving the bacteria in plaque an opportunity to produce acids that dissolve tooth enamel. If you must give the baby a bottle as a comforter at bedtime, it should contain only water. If your child won’t fall asleep without the bottle and the usual beverage, gradually dilute the bottle’s contents with water over a period of two to three weeks.
After each feeding, wipe your baby’s gums and teeth with a damp washcloth to remove plaque. Place the child in your lap or on the floor so you can easily see into their mouth.
Taking your baby off of the breast when he/she falls asleep can prevent baby tooth decay. Hold your baby while bottle-feeding. Always take a bottle filled with milk or juice away from the sleeping child.
If your child requires a bottle at bedtime provide a bottle filled with water. Instead of a bottle, try comforting your child with a pacifier or a favorite toy or blanket.
Brush your baby’s teeth with a soft toothbrush daily.
Importance of a Smile
Having a straighter, brighter smile is important for looks, but there are many benefits to having a great smile that is also psychological and physical. Orthodontics is so much more than just fixing crooked teeth. The effects extend to psychological and quality of life too as the confidence and abilities you gain from a more attractive smile.
Treating imperfections in your smile is an investment in your health, future, confidence and general well-being.
People who are not happy with their smiles don’t tend to smile as often and are not as confident. Confident people attract others. Rather than trying to hide from the attention, people who are confident in their looks socialize more in general. Having a more pleasant smile also changes the way people perceive you. A great smile gives an impression of success, happiness, health, and overall attractiveness. The way people behave toward you and around you will change for the better.
Professionally speaking, confidence can open many doors. Companies struggle to hire people who are withdrawn for certain positions especially those that require face- to-face contact. Showing a great smile that exudes confidence is beneficial in job interviews because you seem friendly and more willing and capable of handling the job.
Also, keep in mind that with today’s orthodontic treatment options you have the ability to show off your smile while you are being treated without visible braces.
There are many physical health benefits that come with correcting orthodontic issues. For example, straight teeth are easier to clean as they are easier than crowded teeth to floss and therefore plaque buildup and tooth decay are more easily prevented.
Also, when teeth are too widely spaced or crowded, gums can become inflamed and red. These characteristics make a smile unappealing and are also a sign of periodontal disease. Straightening your teeth creates the strongest defense against periodontal disease by allowing the gums to fit more securely around the teeth.
Fixing crowded bottom teeth also prevents abnormal tooth wear as it prevents bottom teeth from rubbing against the upper teeth, therefore, preventing inefficient chewing which can cause undue wear to tooth enamel. In addition, crowded and or protruding upper teeth are more likely to be broken in the event of an accident. Crooked teeth cause excessive stress on the gums and bone that support the teeth. Over time, this can lead to chronic headaches, as well as face and neck pain if left untreated.