Why do children suck on fingers, pacifiers or other objects?
This type of sucking is completely normal for babies and young children. It provides security. For young babies, it's a way to make contact with and learn about the world. In fact, babies begin to suck on their fingers or thumbs even before they are born.
Are these habits bad for the teeth and jaws?
Most children stop sucking on thumbs, pacifiers or other objects on their own between two and four years of age. No harm is done to their teeth or jaws. However, some children repeatedly suck on a finger, pacifier or other object over long periods of time. In these children, the upper front teeth may tip toward the lip or not come in properly.
What can I do to stop my child's habit?
Most children stop sucking habits on their own, but some children need the help of their parents and their pediatric dentist. When your child is old enough to understand the possible results of a sucking habit, Dr. Rami can encourage your child to stop, as well as talk about what happens to the teeth if your child doesn't stop. This advice, coupled with support from parents, helps most children quit. If this approach doesn't work, Dr. Rami may recommend a mouth appliance that blocks sucking habits.
What is nitrous oxide/oxygen?
Nitrous oxide/oxygen is a blend of two gases, oxygen and nitrous oxide. When inhaled, it is dissolved in the blood stream and has a calming effect. Normal breathing eliminates nitrous oxide/oxygen from the body.
How safe is nitrous oxide/oxygen?
Very safe. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is perhaps the safest sedative in dentistry. It is nonaddictive. It is mild, easily taken, then quickly eliminated by the body. Your child remains fully conscious, keeps all natural reflexes, when breathing nitrous oxide/oxygen.
Are there any special instructions for nitrous oxide/oxygen?
First, give your child little or no food before the dental visit. (Occasionally, nausea or vomiting occurs when a child has a full stomach.) Second, tell Dr. Rami about any respiratory condition that makes breathing through the nose difficult for your child. It may limit the effectiveness of nitrous oxide/oxygen. Third, tell the doctor if your child is taking any medication on the day of the appointment.
When should my child wear a mouth guard?
A child should wear a mouth guard whenever he or she is involved in an activity with a risk of falls. Also, they should be worn in activities with any form of head contact with other players or equipment. This includes football, baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, skateboarding, even gymnastics. We usually think of football and hockey as the most dangerous to the teeth, but nearly half of sports-related mouth injuries occur in basketball and baseball.
What are sealants?
Sealants protect the surfaces of teeth with grooves and pits, especially the chewing surfaces of back teeth where most cavities in children are found. Made of clear or shaded plastic, sealants are applied to the teeth to help keep them cavity-free.
How do sealants work?
Even if your child brushes and flosses carefully, it is difficult, sometimes almost impossible, to clean the tiny grooves and pits on certain teeth. Food and bacteria build up in these depressions, placing your child in danger of tooth decay. Sealants "seal out" food and plaque, thus reducing the risk of decay.
How much does it cost?
The treatment is very affordable, especially in view of the valuable decay protection it offers your child. Sealants may be covered by your dental insurance. Talk to Drs. Rami and Susan about the exact cost of sealants for your child.
Which teeth should be sealed?
The teeth most at risk of decay, and therefore most in need of sealants, are the six-year and twelve-year molars. But any tooth with grooves or pits may benefit from the protection of sealants.
If my child has sealants, are brushing and flossing still important?
Absolutely! Sealants are only one step in the plan to keep your child cavity-free for a lifetime. Brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits are still essential to a bright, healthy smile.