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Kids Mile High

Meet Your Denver Orthodontist: 20 Questions for Dr. Justin Owens

By | Community, Orthodontics | No Comments

If you’ve ever visited Kids Mile High, you might recognize Dr. Justin Owens as your fun, friendly Thornton orthodontist. As an expert in creating beautiful smiles for kids, he can even get your little ones excited about going to the orthodontist. Dr. Owens believes a good orthodontist is an orthodontist you can trust — so read on to learn more about him and why he got into the business of little smiles.

1.Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Denver, Colorado.

2. Why did you become an orthodontist?

A person’s smile is one of the first things you notice about them. Making a first impression with a beautiful smile can be very powerful, and I love helping people achieve their dream smile.

3. What is the best vacation you’ve ever taken?

Exploring Thailand…and eating Thai food!

4. Who is your role model?

I’ve always looked up to my mom and dad.

5. What’s your favorite thing about coming to work at Kids Mile High every day?

I love hearing about what our patients are into at the moment, whether it’s a video game, movie, sports or music.

6. Did you have a nickname as a kid?

Everyone used to call me Hawk.

7. What’s your favorite movie?

Star Wars, all the way!

8. What was the most challenging part of orthodontic education?

While I was in school, I was working seven days a week while trying to help raise a family at the same time. That was hard!

9. What’s your hidden talent?

Umm…I’m a good whistler?

10. Did you like going to the orthodontist as a kid?

I loved it! (Weird, I know.)

11. What’s the next thing on your bucket list?

I want to travel more. Hawaii is probably next.

12. What is something your patients would be surprised to learn about you?

I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2002.

13. Which sports team do you root for?

Broncos, Rockies, Nuggets, Avalanche…I love them all equally.

14. What do you think makes you different from other orthodontists?

As an orthodontist, it’s my job to look at people’s teeth to see how I can improve them. I try to put myself in my patients’ shoes to make the experience as fun and enjoyable as possible.

15. If you could have a superpower what would it be?

Definitely flying.

16. If you had a time machine, which era would be your first stop?

I’d go straight to ancient Egypt.

17. What’s your spirit animal?

Eagle…so I could fly!

18. What’s the best advice you can give parents about caring for their kids’ teeth?

Find a dentist you trust. Find a dentist your child trusts. Then see this dentist regularly.

19. What is your favorite food?

I’m a huge sushi fan.

20. What is your favorite holiday?

I love Christmas.

Want to meet Dr. Owens in real life and find out if he’s the right orthodontist for your little ones? Book an appointment today!

dr roger with child paitent

Why Preventive Dentistry is the Best Dentistry for Kids!

By | Community, Kids Dentistry | No Comments

dr roger with child paitentThe best way to set your kids up for good oral health is to teach them positive habits from a young age. As pediatric dentists in Stapleton, the doctors at Kids Mile High are dedicated to educating youngsters on how to take care of their teeth now so they don’t run into problems in the future. After all, it’s way easier to stop a problem from occurring than it is to fix it after it happens. That’s why, when it comes to dentistry for kids, preventive dentistry is the best option.

At our orthodontic offices in Englewood, Stapleton and Thornton, preventive dentistry is one of our core focuses. Dr. Paddy and the team believe that good oral hygiene and regular visits with a pediatric dentist will lead to a lifetime of healthy teeth. If you’re not sure what exactly preventive dentistry is, read on and then book your child’s next appointment. We’re sure you’ll be convinced that preventive dentistry will protect your kids’ teeth from intervention down the line.

What is Preventive Dentistry?

Preventive dentistry refers to the steps you take to care of your teeth to keep them strong and healthy. Taking preventive measures helps you avoid oral health problems like cavities, gum disease, enamel decay and more. Preventive dentistry isn’t just important for adults. In fact, the earlier you start being proactive about your dental health, the better, so it’s important to get your kids started as soon as possible. The problem is it can be hard to motivate kids to brush, floss and get excited about visiting the dentist regularly. That’s where your pediatric dentist comes in: he or she will help your child understand how practicing healthy habits today will mean less dentist visits in the long run.

So what exactly does preventive dentistry entail? Lots of things! There are so many ways to protect your kids’ teeth from problems before they even begin, starting with regular check-ups. In a routine check-up, Dr. Paddy, Dr. Owens or Dr. Castro will examine your child’s teeth, gums and jaw, and a dental hygienist will clean their teeth to get rid of any plaque build-up. Another aspect of preventive dentistry is fluoride treatments. Fluoride will keep your kids’ teeth super strong and help prevent the deterioration of their enamel. You can also ask your pediatric dentist about getting a BPA-free dental sealant to protect teeth from harmful bacteria and oral acid.

While check-ups are incredibly useful and important for keeping your teeth healthy, preventive dentistry really happens at home. Kids Mile High will teach your kids how to maintain their strong smile every day, but it’s up to parents to keep track of their kids’ dental hygiene when they’re not in the dentist chair. This is what your kids (and you!) should do to take care of their teeth:

  • Brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss once daily
  • Avoid sugary, unhealthy foods
  • Visit their pediatric dentist twice a year for a check-up
  • Ask Dr. Paddy, Dr. Castro and Dr. Owens about dental sealants

How Your Kids Will Benefit from Preventive Dentistry

Preventive dentistry is beneficial for literally everyone (or at least, anyone with teeth!), but it’s most effective for kids. That’s because their teeth are still developing and haven’t been exposed to as many harmful things. By taking preventive measures before they get their adult teeth, you’ll ensure their permanent teeth come in strong, healthy and beautiful.

Being proactive about dental hygiene will also reduce the need for intervention in the future. If your kids are brushing and flossing regularly, they’re less likely to develop gum disease. If they’re avoiding sugary treats, they won’t need as many fillings. If they keep up with regular check-ups and receive fluoride or sealant treatments, they won’t suffer from as much enamel wear. Don’t get us wrong, we love to see your children’s smiling faces at Kids Mile High. But the less they need to see us outside of routine visits, the better!

As much as your kids will benefit from preventive dentistry, parents will too. When your kids practice proper oral care, it means less dollars you have to spend on treatment down the line. So take the time to educate your kids and encourage them to take good care of their teeth. And if problems do arise, don’t stress. Just call your favorite pediatric dentists in Denver and we’ll get your child’s teeth back on track for lifelong health.

young children with braces smiling at camera

When Should My Child See an Orthodontist?

By | Orthodontics | No Comments

young children with braces smiling at cameraWe all want the best in life for our kids — from their health and happiness, down to their self-esteem and confidence. For many of us, children and adults alike, that confidence starts with a smile. After all, studies show that having straight teeth improves happiness and overall quality of life. Seeing an orthodontist early in life can streamline the process.

While most of us seem to associate braces and other orthodontic treatments with the awkward pre-teen and teenage years, in reality your child should have his or her first visit with an orthodontist well before high school. Your child’s teeth might look fine to the untrained eye, but an orthodontist has the expertise to detect bite and jaw issues in patients from an early age.

The doctors at Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry are your go-to orthodontists for kids in Denver. Offering pediatric dentistry and orthodontics in Stapleton, Englewood and Thornton, we’re committed to helping your little ones put their best smile forward. If you’ve ever wondered if your child needs to see an orthodontist, here’s when to book their first appointment and why early orthodontic treatment is worthwhile.

What’s the right age to take my child to an orthodontist?

You might be thinking, “My child’s teeth are straight and she’s not having any pain — so why should I take her to see an orthodontist?” The answer is because there may be underlying issues that only an orthodontist can see. The best time for your child’s first orthodontic visit is at seven years old. This doesn’t mean your second grader is going to walk out of her first appointment with a mouth full of braces, but the sooner we have an idea of how your child’s teeth are developing, the better off he or she will be.

Orthodontic treatment is meant to complement your child’s growth by managing existing problems and preventing further issues from occurring. Orthodontic treatment is most effective when timed strategically alongside your child’s ongoing development. Intervening at the appropriate time can make a world of difference in your child’s teenage and adult years.

Dr. Owens, Dr. Paddy and Dr. Roger are trained to assess and identify bite issues early on, even when your child still has baby teeth. By the age of seven, your child’s mouth has developed enough to detect potential problems and determine whether early orthodontic treatment is necessary. Early diagnosis is the best way to prevent orthodontic problems in adulthood, so if your kiddo is nearing their seventh birthday, call your pediatric dentist in Denver to book an appointment.

What happens at my child’s first orthodontic appointment?

The goal of the first appointment is to determine if treatment is needed and, if so, the appropriate time for optimum results. A thorough clinical examination is given. Photographs and x-rays of the teeth and mouth will be taken. The orthodontist will give a diagnosis, explain any orthodontic problems and recommend a course of action.

The outcome can vary; your child’s teeth may still be developing and a recommendation for a recheck visit in six months may be indicated. Similarly, the orthodontist may feel your child would benefit from early interceptive orthodontic treatment.  

Interceptive orthodontics refers to any orthodontic treatment that seeks to fix problems before they have a chance to fully develop. Through the use of fixed or removable devices, such as spacers or retainers, these treatments guide dental and facial development for optimal health and appearance. Interceptive orthodontic treatment is not right for everyone, but it may lessen the need for more extensive intervention in the future. That’s why it’s so important to get an assessment early on.

What are the benefits of early orthodontic treatment?

There are a number of issues that may come to light at your child’s first orthodontic appointment: misaligned jaw, tooth crowding, or habit-based problems like thumb sucking or teeth grinding. All of these issues can be fixed with interceptive orthodontics, but this requires early assessment. Getting a head start now can have significant benefits for your child’s health and happiness.

At seven years old, your child’s jaw is still developing — interceptive orthodontics uses this to its advantage. For example, it’s easier to correct problems like crowding before your child’s adult teeth have come in. Likewise, jaw alignment issues are easier to address when the jaw has not yet settled into its final position. If Dr. Paddy, Dr. Castro or Dr. Roger recommend interceptive orthodontics, there’s no need to stress. They only want to help your child and stop issues from developing any further. Remember: a little treatment now usually means less invasive and less lengthy treatment down the line.

An early diagnosis can also help parents prepare financially for the cost of further orthodontic treatment like braces. At our pediatric dentistry office in Thornton, we are happy to accept Medicaid for medically necessary orthodontic treatment. If you’d like more information, please contact us to chat.

How does interceptive orthodontics work?

Orthodontic treatment typically happens in two phases. Interceptive orthodontics is also referred to as Phase 1 orthodontic treatment. During this phase, Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger or Dr.Owens will correct any negative oral habits (like thumb sucking), guide the development and alignment of the jaw, and support the proper positioning of incoming adult teeth. The goal of Phase 1 orthodontic treatment is to set the foundation for a beautiful, healthy smile for your child.

Here are some common conditions that interceptive orthodontics can treat:

  • Teeth crowding
  • Overbites and underbites
  • Jaw irregularities
  • Crossbite, deep bite and open bite
  • Narrow dental arches, caused by thumb sucking or pacifier use
  • Missing teeth
  • Protruding teeth

While Phase 1 interception significantly reduces the need for further treatment, it typically is not enough to fully correct dental problems on its own. In most cases, Phase 2 is required to complete your child’s orthodontic treatment. Phase 2 treatment refers to the normal orthodontic treatment you’d expect for your pre-teen or teenager. This is when your child would receive braces, if needed, to shift adult teeth into their desired final position. The necessity for and length of Phase 2 depends on your child’s unique situation and if they’ve previously received Phase 1 orthodontic treatment.

Adolescence is a pivotal time of life that comes with its own set of challenges. It’s hard enough without being self-conscious about your teeth. Our role as pediatric dentists in Denver is to give your kids the opportunity to grow up proud to show off their smiles. Ready to book your little one in for his or her first orthodontic appointment? Visit Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry in Stapleton, Englewood or Thornton. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have about your child’s dental health.

kids-mile-high-thornton-co

Kids Mile High is Now Offering Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics in Thornton, CO

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kids-mile-high-thornton-coWhat’s better than two Kids Mile High offices? Three! Dr. Paddy Smithwick, Dr. Roger Castro and the newest member of the Kids Mile High family, Dr. Justin Owens, will be bringing the fun and the healthy smiles to a brand new, third location! That’s right, Kids Mile High at Thornton is officially open and offering pediatric dentistry and orthodontics in Thornton, CO! Our patients now have three awesome locations to choose from and, of course, they’ll continue to receive the same family-centered care we pride ourselves on.

As you may know, Dr. Paddy and Dr. Roger are board-certified pediatric dentists. That means, they went to dental school (they were actually classmates!) and then completed additional specialty training in treating infants, children, and teens, including those with special healthcare needs. They focus on preventative care and take a high-tech approach to make check-ups and treatments a breeze for parents and children alike. They’re also well-versed in behavioral techniques and child development, allowing them to speak to kids on their level and make them feel safe and secure at appointments.

Dr. Justin Owens has joined Dr. Paddy and Dr. Roger to offer comprehensive orthodontic treatment, including metal braces, clear braces, and Invisalign Teen. As a certified specialist in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics (using appliances to direct jaw and facial growth), he has the training and knowledge to give kids functional bites and beautiful smiles. He too relies on modern technology and techniques for faster, more comfortable treatments and amazing results.

Our Thornton location is a brand new, state-of-the-art office designed with patient comfort and enjoyment in mind. Hang out in our super fun reception area, play sports in the office and take part in our awesome contests and giveaways. We created this light-filled, beautiful space because we believe being in that kind of environment is inspiring and makes kids feel confident and beautiful themselves! We treat kids as if they were our own and you can rest assured they’ll have a blast while receiving the highest standard of care.

We think every child, regardless of their financial circumstances, deserves to have access to outstanding dental and orthodontic care in a respectful environment. That’s why we make treatment work for all of the families that visit us and accept most insurances, including Medicaid. By offering a full range of pediatric dental and orthodontic services under one roof (well, three roofs actually), you can skip the referrals and appointments at multiple practices. We can be by your child’s side during their entire smile journey from birth through adolescence.

We’re beyond thrilled to get to know the Thornton community. We look forward to continuing to give our patients sparkling, cavity-free pearly whites in Stapleton and Englewood and spreading the healthy grins to our new patients! If you’re looking for a family-friendly, trusted Thornton, CO pediatric dentist or orthodontist, schedule a visit at Kids Mile High!

child in dentist chair smiling

The Ins and Outs of Sedation Dentistry for Kids

By | Kids Dentistry | No Comments

child in dentist chair smilingIt’s normal for kiddos to feel scared or anxious about going to the dentist (even adults feel that way sometimes!). It’s often just because they don’t really know what to expect or they’re afraid it will hurt. When you come in to Kids Mile High to see a Stapleton or Englewood pediatric dentist Dr. Paddy or Dr. Roger, you can be rest assured they’ve received extensive training and have experience in helping even the most apprehensive patients feel comfortable and safe. Before we consider sedation dentistry for kids or anesthesia, we attempt behavior management techniques like positive reinforcement and tell-show-do where we get patients used to the sights and sounds of our tools to alleviate anxiety. Yet, there are times when dental sedation is the safest route.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry means using medication to make a patient very calm and comfortable during a dental treatment. While we’ll get into more detail on the different types, sedation dentistry for kids can range from something mild like nitrous oxide, which dulls pain and makes kids feel relaxed and happy, to general anesthesia, which entails them being in a deep sleep for the procedure.

When is Sedation Dentistry Used for Kids?

As we said before, in most cases, we try behavior management techniques before opting for dental sedation. However, there are cases when sedation dentistry is the best approach, such as with:

  • Very young patients who need extensive dental work
  • Patients with certain special health care needs, especially if multiple procedures are being performed
  • Kids who have an extremely strong gag reflex or cannot sit still to the point where their safety would be compromised
  • Children with severe dental anxiety, such as a case of having a true dental phobia

What are the Different Types of Dental Sedation?

At Kids Mile High, we offer the following types of sedation dentistry for children:

  • Nitrous Oxide – Nitrous oxide, sometimes called “laughing gas” or “happy gas,” is a colorless gas that’s mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a mask. It’s a mild sedative that makes kiddos feel extremely relaxed, “floaty,” euphoric and probably a little silly. Sounds like they’ll fit right in at Kids Mile, huh? It has the added benefit of reducing pain and discomfort. While patients can sometimes feel drowsy once the nitrous oxide starts working, they’ll be awake and conscious. So is nitrous oxide safe for kids? Yes. It’s been used for many years in dentistry and has minimal side effects. When we’re finished with the procedure, your child will breathe in pure oxygen for a few minutes to clear out any lingering nitrous oxide. They’ll feel back to normal quickly and can resume their regular activities almost immediately.
  • Oral Conscious Sedation – Oral conscious sedation offers moderate sedation so it’s a little stronger than nitrous oxide. Your child will take an oral medication before their procedure. It typically takes effect in about 20 minutes. The medication will make your child relaxed and drowsy, though they’ll still be conscious. It also dulls the senses to help alleviate discomfort. A lot of patients don’t remember the details of the procedure or the sensations clearly after it wears off.
  • In-Office General Anesthesia – With general anesthesia, your little one will be in a deep sleep and won’t feel or remember a thing. We have a special anesthesia suite so we can offer it in our office. An anesthesiologist will administer the anesthesia and monitor your child while Dr. Paddy or Dr. Roger work on their smile.

Is Dental Sedation Safe for Children?

Yes, dental sedation is safe for children as long as it’s administered by a professional. As pediatric dentists, Dr. Paddy and Dr. Roger are trained in sedation and can safely and effectively offer nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation. We also provide in-office general anesthesia and have anesthesiologists from CarePoint Anesthesia come in and work with us to ensure it’s safe for patients. As with any procedure or medication, there are sedation dentistry risks. However, we take every step necessary to manage them and we always weigh the risks versus the benefits. We will perform a thorough evaluation of your child and get a comprehensive health history so we can determine if sedation is the safest and best choice for their individual needs.

If you’re looking for dentistry for kids in Englewood, Stapleton or, soon, Thornton, CO, look no further than Kids Mile High! If you do want to consider sedation dentistry for your child, we’ll evaluate your little one, go over the benefits and risks and answer all of your questions so you feel informed and confident in your decision. Schedule your child’s appointment today to learn more.

 

father and child making snow angel

Our 2nd Guide to the Best Winter Activities for Kids in Denver, Thornton and Englewood, CO

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father and child making snow angelDr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, and Dr. Owens all absolutely love winter. Maybe it’s this shared love of winter and healthy smiles that makes them such a great team. Being the snow aficionados they are and the fact that they spend their days hanging out with kiddos and families, they have the scoop on all of the awesome winter activities for kids in Denver, Thornton and Englewood, CO. After our last guide turned out to be a hit, the team here at Kids Mile High put together a second one to keep your family busy throughout the cold weather months. The best part? Everything on this list is either affordable or absolutely free!

  • Ice Skating at the Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park – Skyline Park, Arapahoe Street, Between 16th and 17th Streets, Denver – Ice skating at the Downtown Denver Rink is one of the most anticipated winter activities for kids in Denver each year. Presented by Capital One, the rink is open seven days a week from the end of November through February 3 and entry is free! You’re also allowed to bring your own skates. If you don’t own a pair, skate rentals are $6 for kids 12 and under and $8 for skaters 13 and older. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 12n to 5pm, Friday and Saturday, 10am to 10pm and Sunday, 11am to 6pm. To really take the fun up a notch, head to the rink on Friday nights between 7 and 9pm and skate to the tunes of a Denver DJ.
  • Retro Game Day – Englewood Public Library, 1000 Englewood Parkway, Englewood, CO – The Public Library is a source of tons of free Englewood kids’ activities, as well as things to do with the whole family. On Sundays through April, enjoy a little friendly competition and keep warm at Retro Game Day. The library sets out board games on the tables between 1 and 5pm. All ages are welcome to play and no registration is required.
  • City of Thornton Youth & Teen Nights – Thornton Community Center, 2211 Eppinger Boulevard, Thornton, CO – The Youth Council dreams up outstanding Thornton activities for teens, including Youth & Teen Nights.  Each event features an activity or theme that provides safe and supervised fun for kids ages 10 through 17. This winter and spring, events will be held on Saturdays, January 19, February 16, March 16 and April 13 from 6:30 to 10pm. Admission is $2.50.
  • Kindness Club – Sam Gary Branch Library, 2961 Roslyn Street, Stapleton, Denver – I don’t know if we’ve ever heard of a sweeter Stapleton activity for kids, teens and grown-ups than the Kindness Club. The group’s goal is to promote kindness through simple acts and it’s open to ages birth to 100 (though we bet they’ll let you in you’re 101). Kids have to be accompanied by an adult. On Tuesday, February 5 from 4 to 5:30pm, in preparation for Random Acts of Kindness Week, the inter-generational club will create bookmarks to hide in library books. You can also make an official Kindness Club member button. If you can’t make that session, the group meets again on Tuesday, March 5 from 4 to 5:30pm to focus on kindness to our feathered friends. Do something nice for others and make friends and meet neighbors in the process!
  • Family Classics Film Series – The Cube – 8371 E. Northfield Blvd, Stapleton, Denver – If you’re looking for indoor winter activities for kids in Denver, cozy up at the Family Classics Film Series at the Cube. Each month, from January through March, the Stapleton MCA will host a family-friendly film. Events begin at 7pm and admission is $5 per person. Before the movie, Dr. Vincent Piturro will lead an educational discussion. Residents can bring their resident card to receive a $4 credit at the concession stand, which will serve up soda, beer, wine and popcorn. On Friday, February 22 watch Mary Poppins (purchase tickets here) and on Friday, March 1 catch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (get tickets here).
  • Hit the Slopes at Ruby Hill Terrain Park – Ruby Hill Rail Yard, 1200 W. Florida Avenue, Denver – When it comes to free things to do with kids in Denver during the winter, it doesn’t get much more awesome than Ruby Hill Rail Yard, which was the first free urban terrain park in the entire country. The Ruby Hill Rail Yard opens in January each year when the artificial snow is blown and lasts until the snow melts – usually six to eight weeks. The park is made possible thanks to Winter Park Resort, volunteers and Denver Parks and Recreation. The park is free and open to the public from 5am to 9pm with eight boxes and rails featured in beginner, intermediate and advanced configurations for skiers and snowboarders of all ages.
  • Home Depot Kids’ Workshops – 16420 Washington Street, Thornton, CO –Home Depot’s monthly workshops are one of our favorite free things to do with kids in Thornton, CO because they offer hands-on fun. Kids get to make a craft, which they can keep, and they receive a certificate of achievement, an apron and a pin while supplies last. Up next is a heart candy box workshop on Saturday, February 2. Stop by between 9am to 12n and you and your child will get to build a heart-shaped box for Valentine’s Day and then customize it with paint and stickers. All child attendees must be accompanied by an adult. Register here.
  • Scientific & Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) Free Days – Various Locations, Denver, CO – A variety of museums and cultural organizations offer free admission on select days throughout the year, including in winter, thanks to SCFD Free Days. The initiative is partly funded by the residents of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson Counties through the SCFD 0.1% sales and use tax. This year, attend free days at the Denver Art Museum, Denver Botanic Gardens (Denver, Chatfield Farms and Plains Conservation Center), Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Denver Museum of Nature & Science and Denver Zoo. Check out the dates here.

If getting your child’s smile in tip-top shape is also on your agenda this winter, schedule an appointment at Kids Mile High!

child holding onto red balloon smiling

What Parents Need to Know About Cavities in Children

By | Kids Dentistry | No Comments

child holding onto red balloon smiling

We know we’ve said it before but we’re saying it again, baby teeth are super important! Though it might not seem like these adorable, little, temporary teeth are all that susceptible to tooth decay, they are and teeth are at risk even before kiddos are introduced to the joys of candy and sugary treats. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tooth decay is one of the leading chronic conditions in childhood in the United States. In fact, about 20% of kids between the ages of five and 11 have at least one untreated cavity. Yikes! Well, the good news is, tooth decay in children is preventable and we’re sharing what you need to know about kids and cavities.

What is Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay, also known as cavities or caries, is the destruction of the structure of the tooth. When the acids from plaque break down the tooth’s enamel by depleting calcium, holes can form and these holes are, you guessed it, cavities.

What are the Causes of Tooth Decay in Children?

Cavities in children start with the bacteria in the mouth. Where does the bacteria come from? Well, this might be a shocker but we often get these specific cavity-causing germs, which come from a group called mutans streptococcus, from our parents before the age of two. But, before you blame yourself, the vast majority of people’s mouths become colonized with the bacteria at some point. Anyway, the bacteria love carbohydrates (sugar and starches) and they snack on the carbs after a child eats or drinks something and a reaction occurs that produces acids. The acids are what deplete the tooth of minerals (demineralization) and mingle with saliva to form plaque, which sticks to the teeth. Over time, the acid eats away at the tooth enamel and causes cavities like we mentioned earlier. As you can see, every child is at risk for tooth decay but these factors can make the risk even greater:

  • Eating and drinking lots of sugary treats and starches
  • Little or no fluoride in your water supply
  • Not brushing and flossing regularly
  • High levels of cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth
  • Decreased saliva flow (can be the result of dehydration, mouth breathing, allergies or asthma, or certain medications)

What are the Signs of Cavities in Children?

Sometimes, a child will have a cavity but won’t exhibit any signs or symptoms. That’s why the best way to determine if a child has tooth decay – and to prevent it from happening at all – is to see a pediatric dentist. However, in general, here are some signs of tooth decay in children to look for:

  • White spots on the teeth, which is an indication that the enamel may be breaking down.
  • Brown or black spots on the teeth.
  • Sensitivity to sweet or cold foods and drinks.
  • Pain around a tooth (it’s often hard for a parent to detect cavities in toddlers or babies because they can’t verbalize that their tooth hurts but an older child can tell you outright they’re in pain)

What are a Child’s Tooth Decay Treatment Options?

When your child comes into our Denver or Englewood pediatric dental office, we examine their mouth, chat with you about their history and risk factors and, if necessary, take low-dose, digital x-rays so we can see inside and in between the teeth. Using this information, we’re able to diagnose cavities in kids. If we do find cavities, common child tooth decay treatment options include:

  • Taking a preventative approach in the earliest stages. Sometimes, we can catch emerging decay before an actual cavity has formed and promote remineralization instead of opting for a restorative treatment.
  • Removing decay and restoring the tooth with a composite filling. We use Herculite composite resin. It’s one of the strongest composites on the market and we match it to your child’s tooth color so it’s undetectable.
  • Performing a baby root canal, known as a pulpotomy or pulp therapy, in severe cases where decay has led to infection. A root canal can save the tooth and then we’re able to restore it with a NuSmile Zirconia crown. These crowns look completely realistic, are metal-free and very durable.

At Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry, we are all about making visits – even if they’re for restorative treatment – a positive experience for parents and kids alike. We’ll sit down with you and explain your child’s diagnosis and present you with your treatment options. We have some pretty high-tech tools, including the WaterLase MD and WaterLase iPlus lasers. So, in many cases, we can painlessly remove decay without a drill or even the need for shots. Additionally, Dr. Paddy and Dr. Roger are both experts in sedation dentistry for children. We’ll work with you to find a solution that ensures your child gets the care they need in a way that’s stress-free for both of you.

Preventing Tooth Decay in Children

As promised, on to the good news! Preventing tooth decay in children is absolutely possible. Here are some ways you can do just that:

  • Make sure your child flosses at least once daily as soon as any two teeth are touching and brushes twice a day for two minutes each brushing session once the first tooth erupts. Start off with a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste and then increase it to a pea-sized amount when they turn three. Brush for them when they’re infants and toddlers and then be sure to monitor their brushing until they’re about seven- or eight-years-old.
  • Talk with your pediatric dentist about your child’s fluoride intake. Fluoride is essential for keeping kids’ teeth strong. If you don’t have fluoride in your water or your child only drinks bottled water, ask your dentist or pediatrician about fluoride supplements. They may also recommend adding a fluoride mouthwash to your child’s oral hygiene routine. Professional fluoride treatments, like the ones we offer at Kids Mile High, are beneficial too.
  • Encourage your little one to eat a well-balanced diet and limit sugary beverages, sweets and starchy foods like white bread and potato chips. We’re not saying you have to have a sugar-free household but enjoying treats in moderation will go a long way in preventing tooth decay in children.
  • Don’t put babies to bed with a bottle that contains anything other than water. Since even breast milk and formula contain sugars, it can lead to baby bottle tooth decay. Finish feedings before they doze off and consider wiping down their gums with a moist piece of gauze before putting them down.
  • Stick with small amounts of 100% fruit juice that has no sugar added if you want to give your child juice. Don’t let them have it in a sippy cup to slowly drink throughout the day. Instead, offer it only at a meal or a snack so their teeth aren’t constantly bathed in sugar.
  • Consider sealants. We use BPA-free sealants on the chewing surfaces of kids’ teeth. They’ve been shown to be extremely effective in preventing tooth decay since they act as a barrier and keep food, acid and bacteria from settling into the pits and grooves of the teeth.
  • Come in for regular check-ups and cleanings at your pediatric dentist. Not only can we find cavities early on when treatment is easier; we can also help you develop a stellar homecare routine.

We hope our guide to cavities in children can help you give your kiddo the oral hygiene knowledge and tools they need to ward off tooth decay. Remember, prevention is the best form of dentistry and it starts with a checkup! Book your child’s visit with an Englewood or Denver pediatric dentist at Kids Mile High today!

Dr. Roger and young paitent Kids Mile High

Meet Our Denver Pediatric Dentist: 20 Questions for Dr. Roger Castro

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Dr. Roger and young paitent Kids Mile HighYou may know Dr. Roger Castro as your super awesome Stapleton pediatric dentist who’s dedicated to making dental visits relaxed, positive and fun for kids and parents alike. However, did you also know when he’s not making smiles sparkle at Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry, he’s an ice cream aficionado and loves rooting for the San Francisco 49ers? Well, there are more fun facts where those came from. To help you get to know Dr. Roger a little better, we played a game of 20 questions.

  1. Where did you grow up?

I was born in El Salvador and I grew up in California, Texas, Tennessee, and Maryland.

  1. Why did you become a Denver pediatric dentist?

I like joking around with kids all day!

  1.     What is the best vacation you’ve ever taken?

The best vacation I ever went on was to South Africa.

  1.     Who is your role model?

My dad is my role model.

  1.     What’s your favorite thing about coming to work at Kids Mile High every day?

Seeing the colorful fish!

  1.     What are your three favorite ice cream flavors?

I love vanilla, cookies and cream, and peanut butter ice cream.

  1.     What’s your favorite movie?

Die Hard

  1.     What was the most challenging part of dental education?

Definitely the one million exams!!

  1.     How would you describe your perfect weekend?

My perfect weekend is watching sports with my baby on my lap.

  1.  Did you like going to dentist as a kid?

Yes, even though I bit the dentist!

  1.  What’s your favorite restaurant in Denver?

Snooze

  1.  What is something your patients would be surprised to learn about you?

I hate getting blood taken.

  1.  Which sports team do you root for?

The San Francisco 49ers, San Francisco Giants, and the New York Knicks

  1.  What do you think makes you different from other pediatric dentists?

I am silly!

  1.  If you could have a super power what would it be?

My super power would be time travel.

  1.  What was your first concert?

The first concert I went to was Wu Tang Clan with Rage Against the Machine.

  1.  What’s your spirit animal?

A squirrel

  1.  What’s the best advice you can give parents about caring for their kids’ teeth?

Encourage lots of water, fruits and veggies!!

  1.  What is your favorite food?

Maryland blue crabs

  1.  What is your favorite holiday?

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

If you want to meet Dr. Roger in real life and learn more about what makes him such a fantastic Denver pediatric dentist, schedule a visit at Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry today!

girl-holding-dental-mouth-sample

Can You Straighten Teeth Without Braces? Meet Myobrace!

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girl-holding-dental-mouth-sampleThe vast majority of kids will eventually have crooked teeth to some degree and end up wearing braces or Invisalign Teen. In fact, in North America, about 80 percent of teens are currently receiving orthodontic treatment. While, sure, some of it’s determined by genetics, crooked teeth are more often than not caused by incorrect jaw and facial development, usually as the result of poor myofunctional habits, such as thumb sucking, reverse swallowing, tongue thrusting and mouth breathing. Emerging issues can be seen in kids as young as three and, many times, if not dealt with, this misalignment of the teeth and jaws can lead to the need for extensive orthodontic treatment or even surgery later in life. At Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry, both Dr. Paddy and Dr. Castro are trained in something called myofunctional orthodontics and we use the Myobrace system to get kids’ oral development back on track and help align the jaws and straighten teeth without braces.

Smile Concerns

The whole aim of braces, or any type of orthodontic treatment for that matter, is to fix malocclusions, or issues with the positioning, alignment or spacing of the teeth and jaws. Crooked teeth and jaws are a cosmetic concern and they can lead to teasing, make kids feel self-conscious and throw off the balance of a child’s facial features. Yet, it goes beyond appearance because malocclusions can also affect the airway, make teeth harder to clean, leading to cavities and gum disease, and interfere with the ability to chew and speak properly.

We can see some red flags from a fairly early age, such as impending crowding or a developing underbite. In certain cases, your dentist or orthodontist will recommend interceptive orthodontic treatment, also known as two-phase orthodontic treatment. With this approach, kids wear appliances or braces while they’re still growing. This is because, at this stage, growth and development of the teeth and jaws can be easily manipulated. Then, the child will have a resting period for a few years while the remainder of the permanent teeth come in and, finally, they’ll finish up with braces or Invisalign Teen when they’re a teenager. This all sounds great but the expense and time involved can be significant. Additionally, not all young kids are thrilled about wearing braces and the responsibility that comes with it, which is why many parents want to know how to get straight teeth without braces. That’s where Myobrace comes in!

What is Myobrace?

The Myobrace system is based on the principles of myofunctional orthodontics, or preventative pre-orthodontics. Dr. Paddy and Dr. Castro love the system because it’s a natural way to fix bad myofunctional habits (i.e., tongue thrusting, thumb sucking, mouth breathing and reverse swallowing) and exert light force to help align the jaws and teeth into their correct position. It also optimizes facial and jaw development, so teeth come in naturally straight, often without braces or extractions.

Myobrace consists of a series of removable, oral appliances that kids wear for one to two hours every day and overnight while they’re sleeping. They don’t have to wear them to school or out in public, which can be a concern when it comes to standard orthodontic appliances. In the first stage of treatment, the appliance is aimed at habit correction to improve the odds that the little one’s jaw will grow to its full size with enough room for all of the permanent teeth to come in. For kiddos with underdeveloped jaws, there may be a second stage that aids in arch development and there are appliances that can be used in combination with Myobrace. There is also an alignment stage that can use gentle pressure to encourage teeth to shift into their natural position. The last stage of Myobrace treatment is the retention stage and the goal is to make sure a child’s good oral habits are maintained. This can usually prevent the need for a permanent retainer.

In addition to the appliance component, kids also do myofunctional exercises, called trainer activities, to really get to the root of the problem. These exercises are kind of like a workout for their mouth and only take a few minutes a day. A lot of our young Englewood and Denver Myobrace patients find them to be pretty fun and kids can complete their exercises while watching television or doing their homework. At the end of treatment, Myobrace results include a properly developed and positioned jaw, aligned teeth and an open airway.

What are the Benefits of Myobrace?

  • Teaches children to breathe out of their nose
  • Helps kids find the correct tongue resting position
  • Encourages correct swallowing
  • Keeps the lips together
  • Exerts gentle force to develop and align the jaws and straighten teeth without braces
  • Improves facial development
  • Doesn’t need to be worn all day or at school
  • Removable, allowing for proper brushing and flossing
  • No food restrictions
  • Opens the airway, which can improve asthma, allergies and snoring
  • Corrects bad myofunctional habits, truly addressing the underlying cause of crooked teeth and underdeveloped jaws
  • Comfortable
  • Kids won’t experience a relapse like they often will with braces or Invisalign
  • Can be effective for children three- through 15-years-old
  • No complicated appliances or brackets and wires

Does Myobrace Work?

The Myobrace system does work! Studies have illustrated that it can be effective for a variety of cases. While braces might be the more well-known treatment, doctors have actually been using myofunctional orthodontics with great success for over 25 years. Because Myobrace tackles the root of a child’s malocclusion, the results are permanent. With traditional orthodontics, if you don’t wear a retainer afterwards and, sometimes, even if you do, the teeth will shift back to their old positions. This doesn’t happen with Myobrace. Though Myobrace results can vary depending on a number of factors, it allows many patients to avoid braces completely. In the small number of instances that braces are needed when a patient is a teenager, they typically only have to be worn for a short period of time.

Interested in learning more about how we can straighten teeth without braces? Or, want to find out if your child is a candidate for our Englewood or Denver Myobrace treatment? Schedule a visit at Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry today!

baby teeth

Everything You Need to Know About Your Child Losing Baby Teeth

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baby teeth

You made it through teething, got a few years of a break (well, as far as your kiddo’s pearly whites anyway) and, suddenly, your child’s first loose tooth enters the picture. The smile changes are back again in full force! Unlike sprouting those primary teeth, the process of a child losing baby teeth and getting their permanent ones isn’t typically painful. Once they get used to the sensation of a tooth being wiggly and realize it doesn’t hurt when it falls out, most kids enjoy this stage. The Tooth Fairy is involved after all. For the parents at our Englewood and Stapleton pediatric dental offices, it can be a different story. They often worry about the order of eruption or maybe their child’s loose tooth won’t come out or, perhaps, they’re concerned about the appearance of the new permanent teeth. To put your mind at ease, the team here at Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry is breaking down everything you need to know about your child losing baby teeth.

When do Kids Start to Lose Baby Teeth?

The average age for a child to lose their first tooth varies pretty dramatically. That’s why it’s totally understandable for parents to be concerned when their little one’s friends are getting visits from the Tooth Fairy but their child isn’t. Almost every baby teeth chart says kids start to lose baby teeth between the ages of six- and seven-years-old. This is pretty average but some children start losing baby teeth as early as age four and others begin as late as seven or even eight. It doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong but it’s always best to check with your pediatric dentist if your child’s baby teeth seem to be hanging in there for longer than usual.

A baby tooth almost always falls out because the permanent tooth underneath it pushes it out as it starts to come in. Though sometimes, injury, cavities or other issues can result in a baby tooth falling out when there is no permanent tooth to replace it. When this happens, the other teeth have a tendency to want to fill in the space, which may lead to crowding. In these instances, we usually use a space maintainer to hold room for the grown-up tooth to come in later.

What Order do Kids Lose Baby Teeth?

One of the most common questions Dr. Paddy and Dr. Castro get is what order do kids lose baby teeth? Well, in most cases, the primary teeth fall out in the same order they erupted. The American Dental Association has a super handy baby teeth and permanent teeth eruption chart that will give you a good idea as to the timeline. Typically, the lower front teeth are the first to say goodbye, followed by the top front teeth. Much like the baby teeth order, the rest tend to fall out symmetrically, meaning the tooth on one side will shed around the same time as its partner on the other side of the mouth. Bottom teeth usually fall out before the same teeth in the upper arch.

Will Baby Teeth Fall Out on Their Own? Can I Help Them Along?

The vast majority of the time, baby teeth will fall out on their own. Every once in a while, Dr. Paddy and Dr. Castro have to help a tooth along and encourage it to erupt but this is rare. If a child’s loose tooth won’t come out, have them wiggle it gently with their tongue. Each tooth goes through a whole process where the root is broken down and absorbed and it can sometimes take a few months from the time a tooth gets wiggly to when it finally hits the road. So, we don’t recommend the old dental floss on the door knob trick or yanking it out since it might not be ready. Pulling a tooth before its time can lead to damage or infection.

Why are my Child’s Permanent Teeth so Big?

Around age four, a child’s jaw and face start to grow to accommodate the permanent teeth. Not only are there more permanent teeth than primary teeth, they’re also larger and not as white. They might even have visible ridges that will eventually smooth out as a child puts them to good use chewing and biting. The difference can be a bit startling at first but when all of the baby teeth are gone and you’re comparing these larger teeth to teeth of similar size, your child’s smile will look much like yours.

When do Permanent Teeth Grow in?

When the first baby tooth falls out (most likely one of the lower front teeth) around the age of six or seven, a permanent tooth should be right behind it. If a baby tooth falls out and no permanent tooth replaces it after six months, contact your pediatric dentist for evaluation. The tooth could just be taking its sweet old time or it could be due to an issue like a congenitally missing tooth. We’ll get to the bottom of it and make sure your child’s smile development stays on track.

In addition to the replacement teeth coming in, the first permanent molars also tend to grow in between six- and seven-years-old, which is why they’re sometimes called the “six-year molars.” This can be a little confusing because these teeth are erupting into an open area where there wasn’t baby teeth before. Some kids gets these permanent teeth first while others get their lower front teeth first.

From the time kids start losing baby teeth to the time the final one falls out, they’re in a phase known as “mixed dentition,” meaning they have a mixture of primary and permanent teeth. This mixed dentition stage lasts until 12- or 13-years-old. At this age, once the permanent second molars come in, kids have all of their grown-up teeth except for the wisdom teeth. If the wisdom teeth erupt at all, it’s usually between 17- and 21-years-old.

Since the permanent teeth need to last a lifetime and there are no backups waiting in the wings if they fall out, oral care becomes more important than ever. Encourage your child to brush those grown-up teeth twice a day, floss once daily and limit snacking and sugary treats. Be sure to keep up with regular dental checkups and cleanings too.

Throughout the process of your child losing baby teeth and gaining new ones, try to keep in mind that every child is unique and primary teeth usually make their exit when they’re ready. If you have questions or concerns about how your child’s smile is taking shape, schedule a visit at Kids Mile High in Englewood or Stapleton. We’ll work with you to keep your little one’s teeth healthy and strong!