Preventative Dentistry

When kids get introduced to their dentist at an early age, they begin a lifetime of healthy dental practices that are often difficult for parents alone to enforce. It all begins with good preventative dentistry. The experienced pediatric dental team at Tiny Smiles Pediatric Dentistry know how to talk to kids about good oral practices. With offices in Woodbridge, New Jersey, Harlem, NY and the Lower East Side of Manhattan, they reinforce your home teachings and, with regular checkups, ensure no problems interfere with your kids’ healthy dental development.

Why Is Early Preventative Dentistry Important?

In addition to the important education your kids get when they visit a dentist early, the pediatric dentist detects tooth decay early, preventing worse dental problems and more invasive procedures. To make sure that your kids’ first introduction to their dentist goes smoothly, find an experienced pediatric dental team  with a reputation for working well with youngsters.

The staff and dentists at Tiny Smiles Pediatric Dentistry — in Woodbridge, New Jersey, the Lower East Side and Harlem, NY — bring a wealth of experience to the task. They make kids feel comfortable and safe in their chairs. Your kids learn to trust their dentist and may even look forward to the next visit.

What Are Some Pediatric Dental Services?

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Dental Association agree that kids should visit the dentist by the time they start getting their first teeth, between the ages of one and two. Pediatric dental services are just as important as other “well baby” check-ups you schedule.

Your kid’s dentist may see signs that could lead to early tooth decay and other dental problems. These are often symptoms you can avoid by just changing some of the things you do, such as letting your baby fall asleep with a bottle after the first tooth erupts. Other suggestions include:

Nearly 40 percent of kids show signs of tooth decay by the time they start kindergarten — a statistic that changes dramatically with early intervention and preventative dental care for your family. Contact the best pediatric dentists in NYC and NJ at Tiny Smiles Pediatric Dentistry today  for your child’s first appointment.

Why Do Children Grind Their Teeth?

Adults may grind or clench their teeth for stress-related reasons. When teens grind teeth, it may also be related to anxiety, caused by stressors such as overloaded schedules, problems with peers and academic challenges. Other reasons for teens and kids grinding teeth include:

  • An abnormal bite, such as overbite or underbite
  • Missing or crooked teeth
  • Crowded teeth
  • Irregularly shaped teeth
  • Breathing problems from allergies or a stuffy nose

Sleep bruxism sometimes runs in families and may be related to genetics. Bruxism is also related to some health conditions that affect children, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, gastroesophageal reflux disorder, sleep apnea and night terrors.

Should I Worry About Baby Grinding Teeth?

Bruxism affects people of all ages, including babies. Baby’s first teeth create new sensations, and grinding teeth is sometimes a way of coping with the discomfort of erupting teeth. Things you can do to relieve the discomfort of teething include:

  • Cold rubber teething toys
  • Soft teething ring
  • Rubbing your baby’s gums
  • Making baby’s first dental visit soon after the very first tooth erupts

Many children outgrow bruxism when they lose their baby teeth, and treatment of teeth grinding isn’t usually needed until the baby teeth have been lost. If you feel concerned about a baby grinding teeth, check with an experienced pediatric dentist.

What Are Some Complications of Bruxism?

While young children may stop grinding their teeth once erupting teeth come in, when older children or teens continue to clench their jaw or grind their teeth, they may harm their permanent teeth. Possible complications of bruxism include:

  • Tension headaches
  • Damage to teeth, jaw or crowns
  • Lost teeth or fillings
  • Receding gums

The temporomandibular joints connect the jawbone to the skull. The joint provides the movement needed to open and close the mouth. Habitual clenching of the jaw or grinding of the teeth can cause problems with these joints or nearby muscles. This is known as temporomandibular disorders (TMJ) and is characterized by aching pain in the muscles and joints of the jaw, pain while chewing and a clicking or popping sound in the jaw.

What Are Some Teeth Grinding Treatment Options?

Mild bruxism may not need to be treated, but when teeth grinding or clenching is leading to complications, such as tooth damage or headaches, it’s time to explore teeth grinding treatment options. Your pediatric dentist may recommend treatments to reduce teeth grinding that include:

  • Mouth guards. While some mouth guards are sold over-the-counter, the most effective choices for treating bruxism are custom-made through your pediatric dentist. These dental appliances are designed to keep teeth separated and to absorb the force of biting to prevent further damage.
  • Orthodontic care. Braces or Invisalign may be recommended if teeth grinding is related to bite problems or because the teeth and jaw are misaligned.

If grinding teeth is related to stress, learning different forms of stress management may be helpful. Parents may be able to help younger children calm down before bedtime with relaxing habits, such as a story and a warm bath. If your child or teenager complains of tooth or jaw pain, contact Tiny Smiles Pediatric Dentistry at their closest location — in Woodbridge, NJ, Harlem, NY or the Lower East Side of Manhattan — with any concerns about kids grinding teeth or for treatment or prevention of common dental problems.

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