When arriving for your first dental appointment at Alvin Smiles, you and your child are greeted with the friendliest and most casual of welcomes; setting a warm tone for the professional relationship that lasts for decades, even a lifetime. This visit, like subsequent ones, will be focused on providing holistic dental health care for your child— homecare tips and instructions, growth and development evaluations, nutritional and dietary recommendations, orthodontic evaluations and comprehensive examinations.
You will be required to fill a few registration forms for proper documentation. Also, our staff will file an electronic claim on your behalf, when you provide your dental insurance information. After this routine requirement, you and your child become a part of our big family, treated with professionalism and care that goes above and beyond.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry both recommend that a child see a pediatric dentist within six months of teething (when the first teeth appear), and no later than their first birthday. Starting this early not only reduces the chances of developing dental deformities that may last into childhood and adulthood, but your child can also develop a good relationship with his or her dentist from an early age.
Your kids’ dentist, from early childhood, understands and has knowledge of your child’s dental records; what diet they are on, what medication they react to, and what conditions they are at risk of getting. Dental diseases are also caught early on before they can develop into a something more serious. Plans can be made to remedy dental defects; braces may be recommended, or procedures like root canals, depending on the situation.
Our team at Alvin Smiles Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry, is open to children of all ages, from infancy through adolescence.
There is a saying that goes: “you are what you eat”. When it comes to your child’s teeth, it is very literal. A child who is taught to maintain a healthy, balanced diet is guaranteed to have beautiful dentition.
A balanced diet is essential! Meals should cut across the five major classes of food. Also, snacking on junk food or sweets is detrimental to the proper growth and formation of a child’s growing teeth. Candy and desserts, which are typically sought after by kids, increases the risk of tooth decay and cavity formation.
Provide your kids with healthier snacks, like vegetables, low-fat yogurt, and low-fat cheese, which are healthy alternatives! More importantly, these foods safeguard a child’s dental health.
From the moment your child grows his/her first tooth, their lifelong dental care routine begins. Brushing should be done daily, and when the child is old enough not to swallow toothpaste, a tiny squeeze of fluoride toothpaste should be used.
Children around the age of four to five can brush their teeth by themselves, although some adult supervision is needed to ensure it is thoroughly done. At the age of seven, however, your child should be able to brush their teeth properly, twice daily properly. Despite these expectations, every child is different, with different levels of skill— a dentist can evaluate whether or not a child is ready to brush unaided.
Proper brushing clears plaque which as accumulated in the inner, outer and chewing surfaces of the teeth. When brushing, an adequate form has to be maintained for maximum efficiency. Angle the toothbrush at a 45° angle and, with a soft bristle brush, start circular motions from the gum-line. Begin with the outer surface of the teeth, one by one, both upper and lower, then apply the same circular motion to the inner surfaces and chewing area of each tooth. Do not neglect to brush the tongue. Cleaning the tongue rids it of leftover food particles as well as bacteria that cause bad breath; leaving your child with cool, fresh breath.
Flossing is yet another element of dental hygiene, going hand in hand with brushing. Flossing removes plaque and little bits of food that have crept into areas of your teeth your brush may not necessarily reach. Begin flossing as soon as any two tooth touch, and should be done by parents until the child is old enough to do it safely.
Use about 18 inches of floss at a time, winding the bulk of it on both middle fingers. With your thumb and forefingers, guide about 1-2 inches of floss in between the teeth using an up-and-down motion. Curve the floss into a C-shape, and slide it into the space between the child’s gum and tooth until you feel a little resistance, and scrape the side of each tooth. As you move from tooth to tooth, make sure you use only unused portions of the floss in hand.
Cavities are caused by bacteria and little pieces of leftover food caught in the teeth. With proper dental hygiene, you can prevent dental cavities in children, from infancy to adolescence. To care for an infant, use a wet gauze or a clean washcloth to wipe plaque from the teeth and gums. When trying to put your babies to sleep avoid giving them bottles with anything other than water, to prevent ‘baby bottle’ decay.
Older kids should brush a minimum of two times daily; preferably, morning and at night before sleeping. Sugary foods and snacks should also be cut down drastically, to reduce plaque formation.
Regular visits to a dentist are also crucial to preventing cavity formation. A visit to the pediatric dentist is recommended every six months, starting from the child’s first birthday, by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists.
In addition to preventative measures like brushing and flossing, a dentist may provide protective sealants and fluoride treatments that, when applied to a child’s molars, prevent breakdowns and decay.
Fissure sealants, transparent or colored plastic coverings applied to the grooves of molars and premolars, actively protects against decay—shielding the teeth from plaque formation and acid. Sealants are particularly useful since they are placed on the back teeth which are 80% more likely to develop cavities and decay.
Fluoride as a dental care product should be applied in moderation—avoid excessive or sparse use. An absence of fluoride will expose them to tooth decay and cavity formation, while excessive use of fluoride for toddlers or little children leads to dental fluorosis, a condition that causes browning or chalky white coloration of the teeth.
Adults must monitor the use of fluoride toothpaste as little children are prone to swallow while brushing. There are little to no benefits from ingesting fluoride; it is meant solely for topical application, i.e., use solely on teeth and spit out. Fluoride strengthens the teeth, essentially acting as a calcium supplement and prevents tooth weakening and calcium loss.
Fluoride can be accessed from fluoridated water, toothpaste, tablets, gels, rinses, clinical application at a dental clinic.
Fluoridated water is available only in limited quantity, and in just a few areas in Fresno County. Please consult with your pediatric dentist for recommendations on providing your child with as much fluoride as he requires.
Xylitol is a sweet-tasting substance that reduces the level of tooth-degrading bacteria in the saliva. It reduces acid levels in the mouth and actively prevents tooth decay. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) has acknowledged the benefits of xylitol in the dental care of infants, children, adolescents, and people with special needs. Xylitol is available in gums, mouthwashes, breath mints, and even jellies.
There are studies which show that the use of Xylitol gum mothers starting three months after delivery till the child is two years old reduces the presence of cavity-causing bacteria by as much as 70%.
Xylitol, when used as part of an oral health treatment or as a healthier alternative for sugar, has significantly halted tooth decay, and reversed preexisting dental cavities in patients.
The recommended xylitol intake is a total of 4-10 grams daily divided into 3-7 different consumption periods. When searching for xylitol products, it is essential to ensure it is pure xylitol, not mixed with dangerous additives.
As your children grow and develop physically they will begin to engage in recreational and sporting activities that can be quite tasking on the body. Preventing injuries to any part of the body is every parent’s primary concern, and the teeth are no exception.
A mouth guard ensures your child does not lose their smile after a day of rough play at the park. If your child is in the wrestling team, or any other extracurricular activity that may leave their faces exposed to blows or hits, get them fitted for a protective mouth guard. It is essential to consult with your child’s dentist first, as poorly fitting protective mouthpieces can hinder breathing and talking.
The importance of an orthodontic evaluation for your kids cannot be overstated. This process identifies the growth pattern of a child’s teeth, gum, muscles, and bones. This is valuable information which a dentist uses when drawing out a dental care routine for every child. The American Association for Orthodontists advises that children, at the age of 7, must have an orthodontic evaluation.
Evaluation allows early detection of symptoms and abnormalities, which are then swiftly tackled before ballooning into something much worse. Early detection allows your pediatric dentist make contingency plans to ensure a child grows up with unique dentition.
Pediatric dentists use a stainless steel crown for the restoration and repair of decayed molar in children. These crowns are made from entirely safe materials, are easy to maintain, and are a viable alternative to removing a baby’s molars. Stainless steel crowns are custom made to fit a child’s molar, and also fall off as the child begins to develop permanent teeth.
By their very nature, children can be clumsy and lacking all regard to their well being. They may chip their tooth due to rough play, or in some cases tooth decay. However, there are ways to ensure a child never loses their smile.
Tooth-colored crowns are fitted on the crown of the fractured or decayed tooth to provide the cosmetic effect of complete healthy teeth, and also strengthen and restore the size of the damaged tooth.
Tooth decay in children can sometimes reach the pulp or the nerve of their tooth. A root canal treatment is sometimes vital in removing infected tissue that has affected the nerves that reside inside the pulpal tissue, and save the tooth. When tooth decay enters the pulp, it can cause sensitivity, pain or a widespread infection. Our dentists will consider root canals only if they believe that the infection is beyond the reach of other treatments, and in the best interest of your child.
Alvin Smiles’ goal is to make every child’s dental experience rewarding and fun. Our team wants to make sure that every kid leaves the office feeling like they’ve learned more about their oral hygiene and teeth while spending a great time with us. We think it is so very important to instill a foundation for kids of the next generation to understand just how important proper oral hygiene is! For this reason, we always make it a point at Alvin Smiles to provide our young patients with a comfortable and positive environment, so that they can always learn to put their oral, dental, and physical hygiene first!