Tips for Parents: Dental Anxiety Edition | Hoboken Dentist

Believe it or not, but dental anxiety is a real issue. In fact, it is so real that people have now been diagnose with dental anxiety when they have a legitimate fear of going to the dentist. As adults, we can rationalize the need to go to the dentist with the continuation of good dental health. As a child, these types of fears are real and scary and difficult to shake.

It is estimated that over 50 percent of dental predicaments occur because children refuse to see the dentist due to fear and anxiety. And since 50 percent of these dental predicaments can easily be solved, so when you are preparing your tiny human for their first dental visit, think about these simple suggestions to make visiting the dentist something silly to fear:

Avoid a late start. Ideally, your child should be visiting a pediatric dentist after the eruption of their first tooth, which usually appears at the age of one. Schedule appointments as soon as possible so that your little one is comfortable with a dental office. Avoid bringing your child at a later age, as this could lead to a fear of a dental office.

Keep procedures simple. Do not start the first dental visit with extensive procedures. Dental examinations and teeth cleaning are perfect for the first couple visits to a pediatric office.

Frequent visits. We encourage parents to regularly visit our office not only to ensure that your child has good oral health, but to alleviate any fears of the dentist.

To learn more about pediatric dentistry, call Dr. David Musarra at Dental Associates of Hoboken at 201-795-2111. Also visit the website at www.hobokenpediatricdentistry.com.

Dr. David Musarra proudly accepts patients from Hoboken and all surrounding areas.

Take Care of Your Tiny Human’s Teeth | Hoboken Dentist

Our child’s mouths are very busy places from ages 6-12. They will shed twenty baby teeth, which they acquired by age three, en route to building a finished, full set of 28 adult teeth. Their jawbones and new teeth grow while their baby teeth fall out to make room. It’s a wonderful process to witness, and to celebrate with visits from the Tooth Fairy.

However, most children’s teeth do not come in perfectly straight. It’s very common to see new adult teeth crowded by other teeth, especially in a still-growing jaw. Bite misalignments may appear that cause awkward chewing and even jaw pain or teeth damage. Early intervention with orthodontics is a great way to stay ahead of problems and make the transition to permanent teeth a happy one.

In the past, dentists typically waited for patients to enter adolescence before intervention, but today’s technology allows pre-emptive treatment in children as young as six or seven. When the first signs of crowding appear, dentists can proactively help incoming adult teeth emerge into better positions in the mouth and sometimes even avoid pulling teeth. Children with crossbites, protruding teeth and small dental arches are good candidates and work done earlier may shorten the treatment term. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that kids be screened for problems at age seven.

Of course, orthodontics provides cosmetic enhancement as well as medical benefits, and avoiding braces during the sensitive high school years is an added bonus. With early intervention, your child could have their beautiful smile completed ahead of schedule.

To learn more about pediatric dentistry, call Dr. David Musarra at Dental Associates of Hoboken at 201-795-2111. Also visit the website at www.hobokenpediatricdentistry.com.

Dr. David Musarra proudly accepts patients from Hoboken, Weehawken, Jersey City, Union City, North Bergen, Newark and all surrounding areas.

Don’t Give Your Little One Too Much of a Good Thing | Hoboken Dentist

You would be hard-pressed to find a baby without the cutest smile imaginable. And when you become a parent, the desire to keep that smile the brightest and healthiest it can be is incredibly important to every parent. And when it comes to dental health, it has been ingrained in our minds that fluoride is important to protecting your teeth from future dental issues. Even though fluoride is necessary to prevent tooth decay, dental professionals will not deny that giving your little one too much fluoride can begin to develop a condition known as Fluorosis.

Fluorosis is a harmless dental condition which is characterized by brown, mottled or discolored areas on your tiny human’s tooth enamel. But how it develops might surprise you. As we know, most breast milk and ready-to-feed formulas contain infant-safe levels of fluoride because it is important to your child’s dental development. What we don’t consider is the fact that formulas that require water can increase this level of fluoride since community or well sources usually contain the highest amount of fluoride proven to be beneficial in preventing tooth decay. So instead of giving your tiny human the necessary amount of fluoride to protect their teeth, the added dose of it produces adverse effects after time.

So, what do we do as parents? When using formula that requires water, use bottled water that is low in fluoride, fluoride-free or filtrated tap water. If fluorosis is corrected in primary teeth, fluorosis will not likely be a problem when permanent teeth surface.

To learn more about fluorosis, call Dr. David Musarra at Dental Associates of Hoboken at 201-795-2111. Also visit the website at www.hobokenpediatricdentistry.com.

Dr. David Musarra proudly accepts patients from Hoboken, Weehawken, Jersey City, Union City, North Bergen, Newark and all surrounding areas.

Protect Your Little One’s Teeth | Hoboken Dentist

thumb suckingAccidents happen, especially when children are involved. And as parents, we try to do our best to protect our little human’s bumps and bruises. Sometimes you can slap a bandage on a “booboo”, but if it’s a dental accident, it’s a little bit tougher to know what to do in a pinch. Because knowing what to do when one occurs could be the difference between saving and losing a tooth. Preventative measures are always best to avoid the potential for accidental tooth damage, such as having your child wear a mouth guard when playing sports and avoid chewing hard candy. If your child does end up with a dental emergency here are a few tips to help you:

Broken tooth. Rinse mouth with warm water and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling. Call your dentist immediately.

Knocked out baby teeth. If it seems to be more serious than a knocked-out tooth, consider going to the hospital. If the injury looks like just a knocked-out tooth, call your dentist.

Knocked loose baby teeth. If a tooth is knocked loose, call your dentist for advice on how to proceed. He or she will likely advise a soft diet for the next few days to allow the tooth to re-implant into the jawbone.

Knocked out permanent teeth. Call your dentist immediately for an emergency appointment. It is critical to get your child and his or her tooth to the dentist within 30 minutes of the accident, as it may be possible to successfully re-implant the tooth. Keeping the tooth in good condition and receiving care immediately make the odds of successful re-implantation much higher.

To learn more about dental emergencies, call Dr. David Musarra at Dental Associates of Hoboken at 201-795-2111. Also visit the website at www.hobokenpediatricdentistry.com.

Dr. David Musarra proudly accepts patients from Hoboken, Weehawken, Jersey City, Union City, North Bergen, Newark and all surrounding areas

Should My Little One Use Mouthwash? | Hoboken Dentist

Instilling good dental hygiene habits is important for every new parent to know. The sooner you teach them, the easier it will be for them to take those lessons throughout life. But what about mouthwash? Is it safe for a little human to use mouthwash? According to the American Dental Association (ADA), children younger than six shouldn’t use mouthwash that contains fluoride. Better yet, they shouldn’t use mouthwash at all, unless advised by the dentist. This is because children that young tend to swallow when rinsing and may end up ingesting too much fluoride. While small amounts of fluoride help keep teeth strong and free of cavities, large amounts can lead to what’s known as fluorosis, or enamel discoloration.

When choosing a mouthwash for your kid, try to stay away from adult mouthwashes because most contain alcohol. Instead, choose a mouthwash that doesn’t contain alcohol. It’s a big plus if it’s specifically targeted towards children. Once you’ve chosen the right kind of mouthwash, it’s important to keep in mind these two tips:

Supervise your child. If your child is between 6 and 12, or even below 6, make sure that you’re always around while he or she is using mouthwash, so they don’t swallow it or use it as a substitute for brushing and flossing. Once they get the hang of it, you won’t need to monitor them anymore.

Keep mouthwash out of reach of children. Because most mouthwashes are brightly colored and well flavored, it’s best to store them way out of reach of your children.

To learn more about pediatric dental care, call Dr. David Musarra at Dental Associates of Hoboken at 201-795-2111. Also visit the website at http://www.hobokenpediatricdentistry.com.

Dr. David Musarra proudly accepts patients from Hoboken, Weehawken, Jersey City, Union City, North Bergen, Newark and all surrounding areas.

Make Sure Your Little One’s Smile Stays Healthy | Hoboken Dentist

New parents typically have no shortage of questions they must answer when dealing with their child’s “firsts”. Pediatric dentistry is no exception – there are a number of “firsts” for children as it relates to their teeth, and navigating them effectively is key to setting the foundation for good oral health for their children.

The first question for new parents is typically when they should expect the first teeth. The two lower front teeth should erupt around 6 months of age, followed by the two upper center teeth. The remaining will appear in no predictable order – but all 20 baby teeth should be present by 3 years of age.

The next natural question is typically when the parent should schedule their child’s first dentist appointment. You should make sure the first appointment is within 6 months of the first tooth appearing, but definitely before the child’s first birthday. The first visit is typically a checkup to look for signs of decay, check the bite, and look for problems in the gums, jaw, and tissues within the mouth. The dentist will take this opportunity to provide guidance on topics such as brushing, fluoride, teething, and problems like thumb sucking.

Just like adults need to brush twice a day, parents also need to brush the teeth of young children. Your child’s first toothbrush should be a soft-bristled brush with a small head (age appropriate size). As an infant, you should clean the gums with a soft brush and water. Once teeth appear, start brushing twice a day with non-fluoride toothpaste; once your child can spit, you can transition to fluoride toothpaste.

To learn more about pediatric dentistry, call Dr. Flynne Weingarten at Dental Associates of Hoboken at 201-795-2111. Also visit the website at http://www.hobokenpediatricdentistry.com.

X-rays: Aids to Your Child’s Dental Health | Hoboken Dentistry

X-rays are valuable diagnostic tools dentists may use to help evaluate your child’s teeth. There is no official standard time in which your child’s mouth should be x-rayed, as this varies with the child’s development and dental health. If your child has had many x-rays, your dentist may suggest getting one done every six months in order to track progress. There are five types of x-rays that your dentist may use for your child depending on the goal:

Bitewing x-rays (also called cavity-detecting x-rays). These x-rays are used to view the areas between teeth that cannot be seen directly to check for cavities, but needed only after the teeth in the back of the mouth are contacting each other.

Periapical x-rays. The x-rays also will show the supporting bone structure of the teeth. This type of X-ray lets the dentist see a child’s permanent teeth growing below the baby teeth, and to look for abscesses and gum disease.

Panoramic x-rays. These x-rays are used to view all of the teeth on one film, used if a child has hurt his or her face, has orthodontic problems, or is mentally or physically disabled. Also helpful for children who gag easily or who have small mouths.

Occlusal x-rays. These are used to view most of the upper or lower teeth on one film. This is useful when the dentist does not have a panoramic x-ray machine.

Orthodontic x-rays (also called cephalometric or lateral skull). This type of x-ray is used to evaluate growth of the jaws and the relationship of bones in the skull to make an accurate diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.

 

Don’t Let Halloween Ruin Your Child’s Smile | Hoboken Dentist

We all know there’s no competing with Santa, but Halloween is the one day of the year that everyone can be anyone or anything they want to be. And above all that, there’s candy. Lots of candy given simply by saying those three magic words: trick or treat. No need to be good in order to dodge the coal in the stocking. In fact, the ‘trick’ in trick or treat almost praises bad kid behavior if candy ISN’T received. But as your children are scouring the neighborhood for a larger haul than the year before, ask yourself – how can I monitor my child’s oral health during this sugar-infused time of year?

Here are some pediatric dental tips to keep in mind when going through your little monsters’ stash:

Tiny humans live for this day. Depriving them of what some would call a major part of the holiday will not only make your child upset, but won’t make life at home very peaceful. So instead of denying them the sweets, have them choose a set number of candies they want the most and let them have them.

In addition to the limitation of sweet treats, set up a time of day that your child will be able to eat that candy. Similar to snack time at school, having a time when your little one knows a snack is allowed teaches them that snacking isn’t an all-day event, making them less inclined to crave sweets all day.

To learn more about toothaches, call Dr. Flynne Weingarten at Dental Associates of Hoboken at 201-795-2111. Also visit the website at http://www.hobokenpediatricdentistry.com.

The Effects of Thumb Sucking On Children’s Mouths | Hoboken Pediatric Dentist

thumb sucking

 Thumb sucking is something many parents worry about as their babies grow up and become toddlers. Parents often wonder whether to let the habit be, or if they should do something to stop it.

Is It Normal?

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), thumb sucking or finger sucking is a natural reflex that’s seen even during an infant’s development in the womb. This said reflex can be soothing and may help your child feel secure and happy. The habit may also help to induce sleep. As such, it’s not unusual for toddlers and infants to suck their thumbs in the evening before going to sleep.

Until When Is It Considered Normal?

The ADA recommends that the best time to start discouraging thumb sucking behavior in children is by the age of four. Around this time, prolonged sucking could affect your child’s developing jaw and teeth, and cause permanent teeth to become misaligned.

If the habit continues well beyond the age of five or six, the constant pressure of the sucking motion will begin to have an effect on the mouth and teeth. The front teeth, for example, may protrude, leading to what’s commonly known as ‘buck teeth’. The child’s bite may also become open, a dental disorder where the upper and lower front teeth cannot touch. Even worse, thumb sucking will begin to have an effect on the alignment of not only the permanent teeth, but also the secondary ones.

In these cases, a general dentist will usually provide a referral to an orthodontist or pediatric dentist. If necessary, the dental professional may prescribe a crib, which is a dental appliance placed in the roof of the mouth to help discourage thumb sucking. The bite will then eventually correct itself if the habit is stopped in time.

Discouraging The Habit

More often than not, the best way to discourage thumb sucking is to ignore the behavior. Once they’re exposed to various social situations, children eventually figure out on their own that this behavior is not ‘normal’.

If, however, the habit persists beyond kindergarten or the age of four, it’s time to intervene.

  • Have your child use a pacifier instead. Sucking on pacifiers is easier to discourage and are also easier to take away.
  • Create a chart and reward system to help keep track of your child’s progress for quitting.
  • Encourage and praise your child once you see them make an effort to stop.
  • You may also want to schedule a consultation with your child’s dentist.

Whatever you choose to do to discourage thumb sucking in your child, always remember to use positive reinforcement. It’s been proven that children are more likely to respond to positivity, praise and encouragement. Resorting to criticism and nagging may cause your child to become anxious and worsen the problem.

For more information on thumb sucking or to make an appointment for your child contact Dr. Flynee Weingarten at Hoboken Pediatric Dentistry. Call 201-795-2111 or visit the website at www.hobokenpediatricdentistr.com.

Great Nutrition, Great Oral Health | Hoboken Dentist

teeth-whitening (2)Having a proper dental routine is definitely going to help keep your smile bright and pretty, but is there anything else you can do to perpetuate that grin down to your little ones? You can.

I’m talking about your diet. And I don’t just mean your personal diet. Your entire family should be aware of the good things that happen from eating well. Sure, we all know that eating well is good for us, but did you know that putting more of these foods into your diet can work wonders on not only your health, but also on your teeth? You heard it right…there are some foods that also excellent for your smile. So, you ready to get your shopping list ready? Let’s go!

We’re going to start with the obvious…milk. Milk is extremely good for your teeth because of a little chemical called calcium. Calcium is one of the main elements that make up your teeth so of course drinking plenty of the stuff is quite necessary. Not only does drinking a glass make your teeth stronger but milk actually helps neutralize the plaque bacteria in your mouth too. But don’t think any kind of milk will do. Unfortunately for the little ones, cereal milk becomes sugar milk once it hits the bowl. Not the same as drinking a glass. Sorry kids, cereal milk is not good for you; it’s just delicious. But honestly, all dairy foods are great for you in moderation. It’s the calcium that is doing the work.

The next in line would have to be fruits and vegetables. Yes, this one is even tougher to convince little ones to get into. We all know eating these types of food are great for our overall health, but they are also great for keeping your teeth strong, even whiter between whitening appointments! A great way to talk your little ones into it? Tell them to think of celery and broccoli and natures toothbrush and floss. Lots of crunchy fruits are great for your health, not only because of all those vitamins, but because these crunchy foods are also producing saliva and saliva is our mouth’s first line of defense against cavity-causing bacteria so munch away. Just keep in mind that these sweet treats are still sugary so try not to overindulge in these thinking you are helping your smile. They are good for you in moderation.

Finally, if you have a family of meat-eaters, you will be pleased to know that similar to the crunchy foods mentioned in the prior paragraph, this protein-packed food also produces saliva because of all the chewing. The more you and your family are keeping your teeth clean and healthy, your overall health will reflect this. And twice a year, take the family to visit the dentist to make sure you are doing everything you can to keep your smiles bright and healthy.

For more information on proper daily dental care, contact Dental Associates of Hoboken at 201-795-2111. Learn more about their practice by visiting www.dentalassociatesofhoboken.com.

Accepting patients from Hoboken, Weehawken, Jersey City, Union City, North Bergen, Newark and all surrounding areas.