Natural Teething Remedies

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Natural Teething RemediesIs your child having fussy days followed by sleepless nights? Teething can be a stressful time for all and lead to parents scouring the Internet to find a way to combat the teething blues. As the name suggests, teething is the process of a child’s teeth growing through the gums. This can make even the happiest baby a little fussy and cranky. At NoPo Kids, we know that it is not only important to make sure your child is comfortable, but also to ensure that teething remedies are safe. For this reason, we have provided some natural teething remedies that will help to ease the pain for your child while keeping them safe from harmful substances.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF TEETHING

Teething can occur in children anywhere between 4 months old to the age of 2 or 3, and during this time your baby or toddler may become fussy and irritable as their new teeth begin to emerge.
Every child handles teething symptoms differently. Some children may experience little to no symptoms, while others may display the following:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Drooling
  • Gnawing or chewing on things around them
  • Irritability
  • Red and swollen gums
  • **Low grade fever/diarrhea (this one is not supported by current research, HOWEVER we see this in hundreds and hundreds of patients…including own kids!! It is always best to call your pediatrician if a fever or illness develops to rule out other issues). Always confirm with your child’s pediatrician which remedies are safe to use with your child before trying a remedy.

NATURAL REMEDIES

Breastmilk
Freezing breast milk into ice chips/cubes can help soothe and calm your child’s sore gums. Pour the breastmilk into an ice cube tray (silicone is ideal!) and freeze. Once frozen, smash up the ice cubes into smaller bites and offer them in a teething mesh or baby feeder.

Nursing can also offer some relief as the sucking action may relieve pressure on your baby’s gums. Chamomile tea has wonderful properties ideal for reducing the stress and fussiness of teething. Mothers can drink this caffeine-free tea and pass the benefits of the tea along to the baby as well!

Cool or frozen items
Cold or frozen foods such as carrots, bananas, or apples can be safe items for your baby to gum or gnaw on. Foods should be monitored and given in a mesh or silicone teether to prevent larger pieces from getting into your baby’s mouth.
A slightly frozen washcloth is a favorite of many parents. Soak a clean washcloth in water or diluted caffeine-free chamomile tea and freeze it for several minutes. When your baby is showing signs of teething, feel free to offer them the cold cloth to chew on. This can help decrease inflammation and provide a soothing effect.

Massage
As your baby’s teeth emerge, tension can build up along the jaw creating pain that travels from their mouth up to their ears. Giving your baby a gentle facial massage can help reduce pain and irritation often caused by teething.
Begin by massaging with the pads of your fingertips along your baby’s chin or above the top lip. Slowly move your hands to their cheeks and begin to move your fingers in a circular motion. Moving your fingers higher, draw the pads of your thumbs gently across your baby’s eyebrows to remove tension.
This is a great teething remedy that reduces teething symptoms, calms your baby, and is also an excellent bonding opportunity.

Teething toys or rings
Using a safe non-toxic teething ring or toy is a great choice for a teething remedy that allows your baby to chew and relieve pressure. Silicone or rubber are usually safe choices. Another option can be a wooden or bamboo teether, but be sure to use a brand that uses water-based sealants and be aware that some may need to be oiled before use.

For teething toys that can be placed in the freezer or refrigerator, select one that is filled with water in case a seam breaks or a hole develops.

Using a clean finger
Last but not least, one of the best and oldest of natural teething remedies is using a clean finger! Rubbing your finger across your child’s sore gums or allowing them to chew on your finger can help relieve tension and pain.

While there are many teething remedies, always check with your pediatrician for the best advice on how to soothe your child’s teething woes. After approval, try some of these natural teething remedies to help alleviate your child’s symptoms and pain. It generally takes 3-4 days for a tooth to erupt (but some children are slow teethers and it can take longer!) and symptoms to subside–until the next tooth comes in! Han gint here parents…you got this! And remember, teeth allow us to start chewing for better jaw development and opens a whole world of adventurous and nutrient-dense eating opportunities!

For more information on natural teething remedies or to schedule an appointment, please contact NoPo Kids Dentistry today.

Tooth Eruption

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Tooth EruptionAt NoPo Kids, we are dedicated to helping your child achieve and maintain great oral health. This includes empowering caregivers and parents with the proper education and guidance to take care of their child’s teeth.

Primary Tooth Eruption

Tooth eruption refers to the process during tooth development where the teeth emerge through the gums and become visible. Humans have two sets of teeth: their primary teeth and their permanent teeth.

Primary teeth, also known as baby or deciduous teeth, are the first set to arrive. These teeth are noticeably smaller and whiter than permanent, or adult teeth. Infants are born with 20 primary teeth within their gums, and they may begin to erupt as early as 4 months after birth.

Generally, the central teeth of both the upper and lower jaw are the first to appear with the remainder of teeth erupting sequentially in pairs moving to the back of the mouth. However, each child differs in when and what teeth may arrive. By the age of 3 or 4, most children will have a full set of primary teeth.

We encourage parents and caregivers to schedule their child’s first dental appointment after the first tooth arrives so we can begin monitoring growth and setting the foundation for great oral health.

Symptoms of Teething

During this time, your child may have sore or tender gums as their teeth begin to erupt. Common signs of teething include:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Drooling more than usual
  • Crying
  • Fussy behavior
  • Loss of appetite

To alleviate this discomfort, use a clean finger, cool spoon, or cold wet cloth to rub the gums gently. Teething rings can also help to relieve any discomfort of teething. Do not give your child medication to help with teething pain unless directed to by their doctor or dentist.

Care and Management

Although they are “baby” teeth, primary teeth play an important part in your child’s growth and development even beyond their oral health. Primary teeth help to facilitate speech production, proper jaw development, good chewing habits, and the proper spacing and alignment of permanent teeth.

After each feeding, be sure to wipe your child’s gum down with a wet washcloth or gauze pad. As their teeth begin to erupt, you can begin to help them care for their teeth by brushing and flossing properly to avoid tooth decay, cavities, and childhood periodontal disease. Use an ADA approved child toothpaste and an appropriately sized brush to help clean your child’s teeth.

The Eruption of Permanent Teeth

By the time your child is 6 or 7, they may feel their primary teeth beginning to loosen as their permanent teeth begin to erupt. The incisors or front teeth are usually the first to fall out and generally, the rest follow in the order they erupted. This process will continue until the age of 21. Most adults have 28 permanent teeth or 32 if they keep their third molars (also known as wisdom teeth).

The early years of tooth development and care help to set a solid foundation for your child’s oral health. By establishing good habits and educating them as they grow older on proper brushing and flossing techniques, you can ensure the health of their future smile.

For more information on tooth eruption and how we can help, contact NoPo Kids Dentistry today.

How to Prevent Cavities

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How to Prevent CavitiesIt is no secret that many of us can have a sweet tooth, and our children are no exception! While it is fine to indulge in sweet treats every now and then, it is important to take the appropriate preventative measures to keep your child’s teeth healthy and free of cavities. Here at NoPo Kids, we take pride in helping our patients develop healthy habits and hygiene for their teeth, so we have put together a few helpful tips to help combat cavities.

NUTRITION

Eating a healthy diet is an essential part of cavity prevention. In addition to avoiding sugary foods and drinks, it is important to include essential vitamins and nutrients to help strengthen tooth enamel and to help the body absorb essential minerals that are important to dental health. Consuming a diet that is rich in the following can help in the fight against cavities:

  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D3
  • Vitamin K2
  • Probiotics

Each of these plays a vital role in dental health and is part of a balanced diet. While some of these nutrients can be supplied through a regular diet, you may need to consider adding supplements in order to get a sufficient amount.

Additionally, consider reducing your child’s phytic acid intake. Foods such as beans, plant seeds, and grains tend to interfere with nutrient absorption, which can be counterproductive when trying to supply your body with the proper nutrients to support dental health. If you still wish to eat these types of foods, try soaking and sprouting them before eating them, as this reduces their amount of phytic acid.

ORAL CARE

We recommend brushing and flossing in the morning after breakfast, after lunch, and then before bedtime. Brushing and flossing keeps the amount of acid in the mouth at a low level decreasing the chance of cavities and tooth decay.

A lot of parents wonder when they should start brushing their children’s teeth. We recommend that parents brush their children’s teeth as soon as they can be seen. Baby brushes are perfect for this and not only can they remove bacteria from the teeth, but it gets them comfortable with having the brush in their mouth. Around age 2, a child should be trying to hold the brush and spit. A small amount of children’s toothpaste can be used at this time as well.

Even though young children may not consume a lot of sugar, some bacteria exist. Brushing and flossing can help children rid their mouth of bacteria and get them in the habit of good oral hygiene for when they do start consuming more sugary foods and drinks.

In addition to making sure your children brush and floss at least twice a day, you should also bring your children to us on a regular basis, beginning at age 1.

We are pediatric dentists who specialize in examining baby teeth and ensuring adult teeth are coming through correctly. By bringing your children in for routine examinations you will not only help them establish healthy dental habits and prevent cavities, but you will also help your children get comfortable seeking care from a dentist. During these appointments, we can help check for cavities and deal with any potential issues as soon as they arise.

For more information about how you can help your child prevent cavities or to schedule an appointment, contact NoPo Kids Dentistry today.

Doctor Staci Talks Sealants in a guest blog for Ask the Dentist!

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by Staci Whitman, DMD

What are dental sealants?

Dental sealants are thin, plastic coatings that seal over the narrow grooves found on the chewing surfaces of back teeth (molars and premolars).

When placed perfectly on these deep pits, sealants can prevent a significant amount of tooth decay (cavities) by protecting sensitive tooth surfaces from acid that causes cavities.

Sealants are not generally placed on baby teeth but on the tooth enamel of permanent teeth (“adult” teeth).

Source: CDC

Dental sealants function much like sealing cracks in a driveway or on the sidewalk. The grooves in the chewing surfaces of back teeth are sealed so that food particles and bacteria will not settle within the fissures, causing cavities.

Application of sealants may be appropriate for some pediatric dental patients to prevent tooth decay in kids. However, they are not a substitute for brushing, flossing, and a healthy diet.

Dental sealants can be placed by your dentist, dental hygienist, or other dental professional. Some states dental boards have laws governing by whom, how, and in what circumstances dental sealants can be placed.

While I will recommend sealants at my office, I do so with very strict criteria, application techniques, and only the cleanest materials. So, are dental sealants worth it for your children’s dental health?

How are sealants applied to teeth?

Sealant placement is a relatively easy process.

  1. First, the teeth are cleaned of plaque or food particles and then thoroughly examined for tooth decay.
  2. Each tooth is dried and surrounded by absorbent material so it remains dry throughout the procedure.
  3. The tooth is cleaned with a mild etchant (acid etch solution) to roughen the tooth surface and encourage bonding of the sealant material.
  4. The etchant is rinsed and the teeth are dried again.
  5. Depending on your material of choice, a thin layer of bonding agent may be used prior to the placement of the very viscous sealant material.
  6. The sealant is painted directly onto the chewing surface of each tooth.
  7. Finally, a curing light may be used to harden the dental sealant.

The teeth must be nicely isolated so no contaminants, such as saliva, affect the bond. Ozone gas can be applied to ensure bacteria on or around the tooth is reduced or eliminated prior to sealing.

If a small cavity is detected, air abrasion or a dental laser or drill can be used to clean out the infection prior to any material placement.

Can a sealant be placed over existing tooth decay?

Technically, clear sealants can be used over small cavities to prevent major spread of the decay.

However, it’s best to treat any existing decay (or take steps to reverse it, depending on the extent of the decay) before placing a dental sealant.

How long do dental sealants last?

Depending on the techniques used, sealants can last from 3-10 years or more.

Sealants may not last as long for patients who:

  • Clench/grind their teeth
  • Have acid reflux
  • Eat a highly acidic diet

How do I care for my sealants?

Dental sealants are easy to care for and can be brushed and flossed as normal. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a toothpaste using a remineralizing agent like hydroxyapatite.

They may stain with diets high in berries, coffee, teas, and red wine. Sealants may “pop” off if you are eating sticky, gummy, chewy foods.

Do dental sealants work?

Do dental sealants prevent cavities? Yes, sealants do work to prevent cavities (tooth decay) if placed perfectly and at the right time.

Most research shows that sealants do reduce cavities, but more long term follow-ups are needed.

In a 2017 Cochrane review, researchers stated that “resin‐based sealants applied to occlusal surfaces of permanent molars reduced caries when compared to no sealant.” However, “trials with long follow‐up times are needed to research the effectiveness of sealing procedures related to different caries prevalence levels.”

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) found in a 2016 study that “Children without sealants had almost three times more cavities in permanent first molars compared with children with sealants.”

The same study stated that dental sealants can prevent 80% of cavities in permanent molars (where 9/10 cavities develop).

This study did not control for dietary patterns, dental hygiene habits, or level of dental care during the same period of time. It only controlled for sex, race/ethnicity, family income, and highest level of education by the head of the household.

Why does this matter? It’s possible that confounding variables — such as diet, dental visits, or dental hygiene habits — may have artificially inflated these numbers.

For example, children who received dental sealants may also have visited the dentist, brushed, and flossed more often. They may be the same children who do not eat sugary or highly acidic foods, which will impact cavity formation.

These statistics should be examined with a hefty grain of salt.

Risks of Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are painless and scientific research has not revealed any adverse effects likely to happen when dental sealants are placed.

However, there are risks if the teeth are not thoroughly examined for dental caries (tooth decay) prior to placement.

Very frequently, I will go to remove or replace a sealant only to find hidden decay underneath. If left undetected, otherwise healthy teeth need extensive fillings and sometimes even nerve therapy or extractions after being covered by a sealant.

PLoS One study found that even “after adjustment by non-conditional logistic regression for sociodemographic variables, oral health behaviors (toothbrushing, daily use of dental floss and dental appointments) and experience of dental pain, the findings of the present study demonstrate that dental caries is associated with fissure sealant application.”

In plain terms: If sealants are not properly placed, they can actually cause cavities by either creating ledges to catch plaque and food on or by sealing in bacteria and undetected decay to fester and grow underneath the material.

Many parents are concerned about the adverse reactions/effects of dental sealant material.

Most dental sealants contain BPA (bisphenol A) and/or bis-GMA. These are both known endocrine disruptors and should generally be avoided in growing and developing children.

From a 2012 publication: “Researchers found an estrogenic effect with BPA, Bis-DMA, and Bis-GMA because BPA lacks structural specificity as a natural ligand to the estrogen receptor. It generated considerable concern regarding the safety of dental resin materials.”

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), there is “not enough [BPA] to cause you or a loved one any harm” in dental sealants.

The amount of BPA exposure is at its highest during the application and is believed to “level out” within the 24 hours after the procedure. Thus far, there is no known harm of immediate toxicity after placement of sealant material.

However, this has never been tested using blood (serum) BPA or bis-GMA levels, which may present a concern.

To avoid toxic sealant materials (even in very small amounts), ask your dentist what materials they are using for their sealants. Ceramic-based materials, rather than those with BPA, Bis-DMA, or bis-GMA materials, are associated with the smallest level of risk to overall health.

Who should get dental sealants? 

Children who benefit most from dental sealants include those:

  • With very deep grooves in their molars
  • At a high risk for cavities
  • Who eat a diet high in processed foods, refined flours and sugars, and sugary drinks
  • With special needs that make dental hygiene and/or a healthy diet more challenging

Ideally, sealants should be placed immediately after the eruption of the first molars (around age 6) and second molars (around age 12). Sooner is better to ensure the grooves have not been affected with bacteria or early cavities.

Sealants in Adults

In general, dental sealants are not used on adults, though some sources like the CDC and ADA claim they can help prevent decay. (This has not been tested in clinical trials.)

Dental sealants for adults may not be a good idea because the tooth has been exposed to the oral microbiome for a much longer time. Complex systems of bacteria are more likely to be trapped under the sealant in a deep groove.

To place a dental sealant in an adult tooth, it is important that the grooves be drilled out, treated with ozone, and immediately sealed. This best reduces the risk of growing decay under the sealant material.

Can dental sealants be removed?

Dental sealants can usually be removed in a quick and easy procedure involving either a laser or a dental drill to carefully remove the material used.

This leaves the healthy tooth structure intact, after which it can be resealed if desired.

Removing dental sealants is done to:

  • Reseal the tooth with a ceramic sealant (which is considered “cleaner” than traditional sealant)
  • Correct chips or cracks in existing dental sealants
  • Eliminate poorly placed sealants
  • Expose buried decay that can then be restored

Once a sealant is placed, it’s generally not removed unless a dentist spots a problem or the patient (or parent) requests it for other reasons, such as to change the materials being used.

How much do dental sealants cost?

Dental sealants cost $30-60 per tooth before insurance or discount plans.

Sealants placed on adult teeth may be billed as a one surface, posterior resin. This may cost $200-300 before insurance.

Are sealants covered by dental insurance?

Yes, dental insurance almost always covers dental sealants for people under 18.

Some insurance companies will only cover sealants on specific teeth or after a dental exam.

Many states have school-based sealant programs to provide dental sealants for children unlikely to have regular dental visits. These programs are usually provided to kids from low-income families and are funded by the CDC in 20 states and 1 territory.

Are sealants right for my family?

You and your dentist can use the information here to make an informed decision — there is no “right” answer that applies to every person for dental sealants.

Simply put, you know your child.

If they snack and graze, eat a lot of sticky, processed foods (think crackers, granola bars, pretzels, chips, fruit snacks, etc.), have deep, groovy anatomy on their teeth, or have a history of cavities, then they should probably get sealants.

If your dental hygiene routine is average at best, they should probably get sealants.

If you really trust your dentist and their materials and their techniques, you should consider getting dental sealants.

I generally advise them in higher risk patients, including children with special needs or sensory disorders, simply because homecare and hygiene can be such a challenge.

If you find a dentist who uses diagnostic tools to ensure you are not sealing in decay, uses an antibacterial like ozone to disinfect the surface, and utilizes more non-toxic ceramic materials, sealants can be a wonderful decision for your child.

Recently, I did elect to put sealants on my six-year old daughter’s teeth just as soon as they had erupted enough for me to have proper access to the chewing surfaces. I used all the protocols I mentioned above and feel really good about it.

My reasoning? I cannot and will not always be in control of her hygiene and diet and I want to set her up for success. I hope that I have taught her about proper oral care and dietary choices, but frankly, I want her to avoid experiencing the most common chronic disease in the world…cavities!

Ultimately, of course, it is a parental decision and your advocacy for your child is unparalleled.

Ask questions about the procedure and materials used to your provider and if you do not like the answer, simply decline! Focus instead on cleaning up the diet, improving the hygiene routine, and keeping your oral microbiome in balance and you will thrive.

Not only will your smiles be happier, but your whole-body health will shine!

How to Prevent Cavities without Dental Sealants

Humans survived, thrived, and evolved for millions of years without dental sealants. However, I do feel they can be beneficial if our diets are not ideal or the anatomy of your tooth is exceptionally “groovy.”

If you trust the process your dentist uses, they can be an effective way to prevent decay even with a clean diet.

To prevent cavities:

  • Eat real, nutrient-dense, whole foods.
  • Practice good oral hygiene, including flossing, tongue scraping, brushing teeth, and oil pulling.
  • Try oil pulling, which can also help to dislodge sneaky bacteria in nooks and crevasses.
  • Use hydroxyapatite toothpaste to benefit the remineralization and strengthening of our teeth.
  • Avoid “grazing” eating patterns and eat at specific times during the day.
  • Note and address any mouth breathing, which can cause dry mouth and disrupt the oral microbiome.
  • Don’t skip dental check-ups where your dentist can closely monitor any new signs of tooth decay.

Foods that support healthy teeth include those high in:

  • Protein
  • Healthy fats
  • Fiber
  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium

For more on how to prevent and reverse cavities during childhood (from prenatal development through high school), check out Dr. B’s Guide.

Protecting You with Surgically Clean Air

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Protecting You with Surgically Clean AirAt NoPo Kids, we want you to know that even now, we are still here for you. We are committed to the health and safety of our patients and staff, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As we begin to reopen, we are dedicated to providing high-quality care while still following the CDC guidelines. Our staff has undergone training and education on the importance of hygiene, facemasks, and etiquette. Our staff routinely cleans and sterilizes all surfaces, supplies, equipment, and tools within our office.

When you walk into any healthcare facility, you should feel confident that you are in a safe and clean environment. However, healthcare facilities are not immune to air pollutants and contaminants. Many times, patients may come from work, school, or home and unknowingly pass viral organisms into the air.

The Air We Breathe

It is easy to take the air we breathe for granted. We want you to know that we are currently taking extra steps every day to diligently sanitize our entire office, including the air! With our Surgically Clean Air purifiers, we can guarantee that the air you breathe in our office is as clean and safe as it can be.

Pollutants in the air we breathe can cause anything from allergy symptoms to serious health complications, even aiding in the spread of infectious diseases. When we imagine air pollutants, many people picture dust, dirt, allergens, and dead skin cells. However, there are other pollutants such as mold, bacteria, viruses, fungus, and even man-made chemicals that can prove dangerous if inhaled.

Even though our bodies have a natural air filter system, it isn’t perfect. The hairs in our nose and our body’s mucous membranes filter out larger particles but can still allow harmful pollutants to enter our body and weaken our immune system.

We are always searching for new ways to invest in our patient’s health and whole-body wellness, so we use Surgically Clean Air purifiers in our office and treatment areas to ensure medical-grade clean air.

Surgically Clean Air

Many air filters have only one or two filtering platforms, but Surgically Clean Air products go above and beyond with a six-stage filtering process. These filters remove odors, gasses, bio-aerosols, bacteria, mold, fungus, and even viruses out of the air allowing us to truly provide you with a safe and healthy environment.

These purifiers and filters are proven to remove over 90% of viruses and other pollutants within 15 minutes. This is accomplished by the use of short-wave Ultraviolet light which inactivates any airborne pathogens and microorganisms as the air is forced through the filters.

Our practice requires open mouths, water tools, and other equipment that may cause the air to be filled with various pollutants. During COVID-19, we are doing our best to protect you when you visit our office by using Surgically Clean Air to improve the air quality within our office to ensure you are breathing clean, germ-free air.

For more information on our use of Surgically Clean Air or to schedule an appointment, please contact NoPo Kids Dentistry office today.

Holistic and Functional Dentistry at NoPo Kids!

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Holistic and Functional Dentistry at NoPo Kids!Here at NoPo Kids, we are more than just your run-of-the-mill conventional pediatric dentist office. We practice holistic and functional dentistry, which means that while we provide your children with routine cleanings and examinations, we also examine the root cause of any oral issues and provide treatment options using a holistic approach to address any underlying conditions.

We take a proactive approach to health and wellness not only for your child’s teeth but for his or her entire body! In conjunction with proper dental hygiene practices, a healthy diet and lifestyle can help to combat many common dental problems such as cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. Our team is dedicated to helping your child develop healthy habits so that he or she can experience life to the fullest with a healthy body and a healthy smile.

Unlike conventional dentistry, functional dentistry looks beyond just poor dental hygiene practices as the cause of oral health problems. During your child’s appointment, we may ask some questions about his or her diet, sleep, and lifestyle habits that will better help us to diagnose and treat your child’s condition. Some questions we commonly ask include:

  • How much of your child’s diet is composed of foods with lots of sugar? Carbs? Acidic foods?
  • Does your child ever sip on a juice box or soda for long periods of time (an hour or more)?
  • Does your child breathe primarily through his or her mouth?
  • Does your child eat candy or other sugary treats throughout the day?
  • Does your child grind, snore, toss and turn, bet wet, or have other signs or symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing?
  • Are your child’s oral structures functioning and growing correctly and, if not, how can we intervene early to prevent future issues?
  • Are there other underlying issues such as digestion or food sensitivities that may bee affecting the oral microbiome?
  • How can we clean up our products and our homes to reduce toxin exposures?

We know that in today’s day and age it can be hard to ensure that your child is practicing healthy habits through diet and oral health habits. Fortunately, we are here to help best equip you and your family for success with nutritional and lifestyle counseling to aid in your child’s treatment.

Together, we will develop a treatment plan that will not only benefit your child’s oral health but will also allow them to have a balanced, nutritional diet and a healthy lifestyle.

In addition to providing comprehensive care, we strive to provide natural methods to ensure the safety and effectiveness of treatment. Some conventional methods of treatment are heavily reliant upon medications and substances that are not always ideal for the “whole body” approach we utilize. You can rest assured that our highly trained specialists’ best interest will always recommend the most natural treatment options with your child’s overall health in mind without sacrificing the quality of his or her dental care.

For more information about our functional and holistic approach to dentistry or to schedule an appointment, contact NoPo Kids Dentistry today.

Laser Dentistry

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Laser Dentistry

Sometimes big needles, noisy drills, and numbing agents can make dental visits intimidating for children causing them to dread the dentist because of fear of pain or discomfort from previous experiences. However, we are always researching the best ways to safely and successfully treat our patients and are proud to offer laser dentistry as a near pain-free option. As a parent, you know that loud noises and needles can make any child uneasy, and our goal is to make sure our patients, especially the little ones, are as comfortable as possible. With laser dentistry, we have the option to reduce and even eliminate dental fears as many procedures involving dental lasers use minimal or even no anesthesia or drills.

What is Laser Dentistry?

Laser dentistry is an FDA approved treatment where lasers are used to treat several different dental conditions. Lasers create light energy in a very narrow and focused beam targeted on certain hard or soft tissue. This light is precisely calculated so that dentists can control the interaction with a particular type of tissue. The typical heat, vibration, noise, and pressure of traditional dental drills and tools are removed with the use of lasers reducing patient anxiety.

The two categories of procedures for laser dentistry are hard tissue and soft tissue procedures. Hard tissue refers to teeth and bones while soft tissue often refers to the gums, lips, tongue, or inner cheek.

How can it be used?

Dental lasers can treat a variety of conditions depending on the type of laser used. Common hard tissue procedures include cavity detection, treatment for tooth decay, tooth preparations, dental fillings, or reducing tooth sensitivity. For soft tissue procedures, a laser may be used to reshape gum tissue, adjust or reshape gum and bone for healthier tooth structure, and tongue frenulum treatment or eliminating tongue-ties which can affect a child’s speech and eating abilities.

Lasers can also be used in other procedures such as sealants, treating cold sores, removing benign tumors or lesions/growths, nerve generation, reducing pain and inflammation in jaw joints, teeth whitening, and more.

Often soft tissue treatment does not require any sutures or stitches, so the healing and recovery period is significantly reduced. These lasers are also used to treat periodontitis or gum disease as they can kill bacteria and activate tissue regrowth.

Benefits

One of the great benefits of laser treatment is the fact that the laser often seals nerve endings and blood vessels during procedures which helps to reduce pain and promote faster healing. Other benefits of laser dentistry include but are not limited to: 

  • Reduces the need for stitches
  • Minimized bleeding
  • In many cases anesthesia is unnecessary
  • Lower risk of bacterial infection
  • Faster recovery

There are some disadvantages to laser dentistry as it cannot be used on teeth that already have certain filling such as metal amalgam. Sometimes certain procedures may still require anesthesia and traditional dental tools.

Laser dentistry is a great option for addressing multiple dental needs to ensure your child’s teeth and gums are as healthy as they can be while also making sure that your child’s experience is a positive one. For more information on laser dentistry, contact NoPo Kids Dentistry today.

Ozone Therapy

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Ozone TherapyWe are fortunate to be among the few dental practices throughout the country that are trained to use ozone therapy treatments. Dental ozone therapy is one of the latest technological advances in dental care within the United States. It offers a safe and effective treatment method to combat cavities, reverse tooth decay, manage gum disease, and even improve overall oral health–all pain-free!

What is Ozone Therapy?

Ozone (O3) refers to supercharged oxygen which has three molecules of oxygen compared to the two molecules of oxygen we are used to breathing. It is a natural gas that is both an oxidant and an oxidizer. As an oxidant, it has incredible anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties. It is safe to use and does not cause the patient any harm as human cells contain antioxidant enzymes that break down ozone and are thus not harmed by ozone therapy. Ozone therapy is a painless form of treatment for patients.

During the procedure, a small handpiece is used to focus either ozone gas or ozone water directly to the targeted areas. Treatment can range from 1-10 minutes and most cases require multiple applications for effective results.

Ozone therapy has been used in healthcare for years as a method of sterilization, as a disinfectant for operating rooms and equipment, and also as a method of treatment for some diseases and certain medical conditions.

Benefits of Ozone Therapy

Some of the benefits of receiving ozone therapy include:

  • No painful injections
  • A minimally invasive procedure
  • Shorter procedure and faster recovery time
  • Elimination of infective microorganisms on contact such as bacteria, fungi, parasites, viruses, and other pathogens
  • Does not leave any toxic by-products
  • Improvement in blood flow
  • Amplified immune responses leading to a quick recovery and decreased risk of infection

How is Ozone Therapy used?

Ozone therapy can be used in many ways to treat dental problems found in both adults and children. Because ozone therapy does not require any drilling, noise, or suction, it can make for a very child-friendly experience.

Ozone can be used as a natural disinfectant in periodontal (gum disease) treatment, preventive and restorative dentistry, and can be used as an aid in minimally invasive procedures such as cleaning areas before fillings or helping to heal canker sores. Some common conditions that are frequently treated with ozone therapy include:

  • Cavities–by exposing cavities to ozone gas or water, the bacteria is eliminated and the surface hardens halting the decay process. Here at NoPo Kids Dentistry we also use ozone therapy before applying sealants.
  • Root Canals and Restorative Dentistry– Fillings and crowns can be cleaned with ozonated water or gas to reduce the change of recurrent decay and extend the life of dental restorations. Root canals can also be treated with ozone therapy to manage decay and infection allowing for an increased probability in a successful root canal procedure.
  • Gum Disease–ozonated water, oil, and gas used in combination with routine brushing and flossing can kill bacteria responsible for gum disease and reverse the effects by reducing inflammation and infection.
  • Tooth Sensitivity– Flooding sensitive dental regions with ozone gas or water can harden the structure and provide a second protective layer resulting in reduced sensitivity.

Our staff is trained to properly control the dosage of ozone throughout treatment safely and effectively to provide your child with the best care possible. For more information on ozone therapy and how your child can benefit, contact NoPo Kids Dentistry today.

What’s the Best Treat for Kids

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What’s the Best Treat for KidsWhile February can be full of love and tasty treats, it can be a hard month for your child’s oral health. Between Valentine’s Day parties at school, the goodies and heart-shaped chocolates they might receive from loved ones, and the Valentine’s Day treats that are always by the door at your favorite local shops, children have almost as much exposure to candy this month as they do in October! This exposure makes February the perfect time to re-evaluate the snacks that you’re giving your children, and really consider which snacks are the most beneficial to your children’s health.

Foods to Avoid

Choosing snacks that are loaded with sugar is not the best option for a number of reasons. Not only is sugar detrimental to your oral health, but foods containing a lot of sugar usually have quite a bit of fat in them as well. Processed sugar is one of the leading causes of tooth decay, especially in children, so it’s best to avoid these foods as much as possible and to brush your teeth immediately after consuming foods with processed sugar. If you don’t brush your teeth frequently or if you consume lots of sugary snacks, the sugar will react with the bacteria in your mouth to create an acid that can eat through the enamel of your teeth, which is how cavities are formed. Additionally, foods that are gooey and sticky can be an additional hazard to your teeth. These foods will stick to the surface of your teeth, intensifying this sugar-bacteria reaction and causing even more damage. This effect can last for nearly 20 minutes before it neutralizes, so brushing your teeth immediately after eating anything with this consistency is always recommended.

Foods to Consider

If you have a sweet tooth, there are still healthy options for your snacks! Consider fresh fruit or low-fat yogurt. You can even combine the two for your own healthy parfait. Be sure to only eat the recommended snack serving size for fruits and dairy, as it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Other healthy, dentist-approved snacks include:

  • Raw vegetables
  • Whole grain bread or crackers
  • Plain bagels
  • Unsweetened cereal
  • Unbuttered popcorn (be sure to floss afterward to avoid kernels getting stuck!)
  • Baked tortilla chips
  • Lightly salted pretzels
  • Pasta
  • Low or nonfat dairy such as cheese, milk, yogurt, or cottage cheese
  • Lightly salted or unsalted nuts, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds
  • Chicken, Turkey, or sliced meats

The key to choosing snacks that are both yummy and healthy for your mouth is variety. Always read food labels when grocery shopping and mix up your snack routine every now and then so that no one snack becomes “boring” for your little ones. Try to include each of the main food groups when planning meals and snacks, and stick to the recommended portion sizes.

Here at NoPo Kids Dentistry, we know that snacking on the go can be difficult, especially with kids. We are here to help educate and support you through the process of making healthy choices for your family. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact NoPo Kids Dentistry today!