Smilestones : 3-5 Years Old

Nervous child at pediatric dentists office

Nervous Child? We Can Help!

Got a nervous child on the day of your appointment? Don't worry. Children's moods can change constantly. And that's ok!

Pediatric Dentists

As pediatric dentists, we receive extensive training in creating an atmosphere where your child can comfortably receive treatment. Because of our training, we are able to choose the right techniques to appropriately manage each child’s behavior. For an especially worried child, we offer in-office sedation, including oral sedation protocols. We also use a nurse anesthetist for more complicated cases. For patients with special healthcare needs and very young children, we offer general anesthesia in a hospital setting. Our goal is the same for each child; a successful outcome in a safe environment.

Sugar and Tooth Decay

Diet and Dental Habits

Can too much sugar in your child’s diet cause tooth decay? Definitely! The foods your child eats and poor oral hygiene habits are directly related to cavity causing tooth decay! Every second, bacteria feed on the sugars in your child’s mouth. When kids eat starchy food or simple sugars, like candy or soda, sugar is left behind on their teeth. And bacteria—like us—love to eat sugar. Unfortunately, as bacteria eat, they create an acidic waste. Once the bacteria take over and feed on sugars in your child’s mouth, they can produce enough acid to cause tooth decay. Left untreated, tooth decay can continue to wear down the tooth, resulting in the need for a filling, root canal, and other unpleasant dental treatment.

Daily Dental Hygiene

So how can you prevent decay and avoid a root canal for your child? Basically, the less sugar and starch you allow your child to eat, the less likely bacteria can thrive, grow, and produce decay causing acids. Plus, when you brush and floss your child’s teeth every day, you are interrupting the bacteria’s feast! Simple dental hygiene removes the colonizing bacteria, making them incapable of producing enough acid to cause havoc in your child's mouth.

Diet: Can It Affect Your Child’s Teeth?

You already know that diet can have a huge impact on your child’s overall health. Eating the right foods can nourish the body, help maintain a healthy weight, and keep disease at bay. But can your child’s diet also impact the teeth? Absolutely! The sugar from food and drinks creates a breeding ground of bacteria in your child’s mouth. Bacteria then produce acids that break down tooth enamel, which leads to tooth decay and cavities. With simple teeth cleanings and dental fillings, we can stop cavities from becoming worse. But if left untreated, your child may require more serious treatment, like a pulpectomy or tooth extraction. During a pulpectomy, we will remove the diseased pulp tissue and disinfect the remaining nerve tissue.

Avoiding a Pulpectomy

Beyond dental treatment, you can help ensure your child’s mouth stays healthy. It all starts with a good diet full of fresh fruits and veggies and less sugar. Avoid sugar in the form of soda, juice, and sports drinks, and help your child eat fewer starchy snacks, like crackers and potato chips. These snacks stick to teeth, producing more sugar in the mouth. Try snacks such as fresh fruit, veggie sticks, yogurt, or cheese. You can also try pure chocolate if your child wants something sweet. It does not stick to the teeth but melts off of the grooves. If your child does eat chips or desserts, make sure they drink water to wash food particles off of their teeth. To read more on your child’s diet and oral health, click here.

Why Pediatric Dentistry?

What is Pediatric Dentistry?

Pediatric dentistry is a type of dentistry that focuses on the overall oral health in kids. From infants and toddlers to older children and teens, our doctors are trained to give your three to five year old the right dental care in a comfortable environment.

What is a Pediatric Dentist?

A pediatric dentist is similar to a pediatrician, but with focus on your child’s teeth. Pediatric dentists must undergo additional training to understand the best ways to protect your child’s oral health. They also stay current on the latest technology and practices. All dentists must attend four years of college and four years of general dental school. However, only pediatric dentists receive two to three additional years of training in both children’s hospitals and dental schools.

What is a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist?

Board certified dentists choose to take extra steps to learn how to provide a higher level of care. To become certified, they must complete additional courses to stay current in the latest advancements in pediatric dentistry. All of our dentists are board certified or are board eligible, which means they are awaiting their final certification. At the Smile Shoppe Pediatric Dentistry, our pediatric dentists are specially trained to give your children the customized care they need. We love working with kids to create healthy dental habits for life. Why go anywhere else? For more information, click here.

Brushing and floss for dental cleanings

About Brushing and Flossing

Brushing Right

When it comes to brushing and flossing, your child’s hands and mouth are different than yours. Hence, kids need toothbrushes that are designed to fit inside their smaller mouths and tiny hands. Of course, everyone should purchase a brush with soft, round bristles to ensure gentle cleaning. Also, remember to buy a new brush approximately every three months.

Dental Cleaning for Kids

Dental hygiene is important to keep your child’s teeth healthy and cavity free. Now that your child has grown out of the toddler stage, they are probably brushing on their own. However, we recommend you still help brush your child’s teeth until age 6 or 7 to keep the hard-to-reach areas clean. To ensure proper teeth cleaning and reduce plaque:
  • Hold your child’s brush at a 45-degree angle facing the teeth
  • Brushing in small, gentle circles about half a tooth wide.
  • Brush the inner and outer surface of each tooth
  • Brush the chewing surfaces of each tooth, holding the brush flat on top of the teeth
  • Gently brush the tongue to remove food particles
  • Floss gently between teeth every day

Sealants and dental fillings

Sealant: Protecting Against Plaque

What is a Sealant?

A sealant is a great way to protect against decay and cavities for years to come. So what is a sealant? Sealants are plastic resins that bond and harden onto tiny grooves on the tooth’s surface, creating a barrier against plaque and bacteria.

How Can Sealants Help?

Tooth decay is often the worst on the tops of the back teeth. After we seal your child’s tooth, the small grooves on the teeth become smooth and are less likely to harbor plaque, making brushing easier and more effective against tooth decay for up to three to five years. With sealants, your child is more likely to stay cavity free and avoid dental fillings. If your child is prone to cavities, contact us to learn more about sealants!

thumb sucking and pacifier

Thumb Sucking Can Be Bad

Is thumb sucking harmful after a certain age? In short, the answer is yes. It is normal for infants to suck their fingers or thumbs, and many babies use pacifiers without problems! So why is it bad? Prolonged thumb or finger sucking and pacifier use that spans into the 3-5 year old range can cause teeth to come in crooked or bite problems. If your child continues these habits past age 3, we recommend a professional evaluation. At Smile Shoppe Pediatric Dentistry, we will be glad to suggest ways to address a prolonged thumb sucking, finger sucking, or pacifier habit.

Break the Thumb Sucking, Finger Sucking, and Pacifier Habit:

  • Find a good time when your child is happy and not stressed. Timing is everything. If your child is already in a bad mood, they won’t be as receptive to behavior changes.
  • Encourage your child with positive reinforcement. Praise your child when they are not sucking their thumb, finger, or pacifier.
  • Create a rewards system with small incentives to encourage your child to stick with it!
If you think your child may have bite problems, we also offer orthodontics services.

Cavities: Contagious?

Can you “catch” a cavity?

In a way, you can catch cavities! But regular teeth cleanings can help. You can prevent cavities from even forming! At Smile Shoppe Pediatric Dentistry, we believe you should bring your child in early. We like to see children for a cleaning six months after the first tooth erupts and every six months after that. This is so we can ensure your child’s permanent teeth come in correctly and remain cavity-free later on.

Preventing cavities

A cavity needs a vulnerable tooth, sugar, and bacteria. We all have some bacteria in our mouths. But some of us have more cavity causing bacteria than others. Anyone who has a cavity in their mouth has a higher level of bacteria that produce cavities.

When people share food, drinks, utensils, toothbrushes, and other items, they can pass bacteria on to others. Children do not have this bacteria when they are born. But they can get it from a parent, caregiver, or even another child. We can find signs of cavity producing bacteria at our office before the child’s first birthday! With a simple teeth cleaning, we can remove plaque, provide dental fillings, and help to reduce cavity causing bacteria.

To read more on how to avoid cavities, go here.