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The Ultimate Teething Survival Guide

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The Ultimate Teething Survival Guide

A baby’s (and new parent’s) life is full of firsts: first smile, first steps, first word, and of course, first tooth! As Denver pediatric dentists, we know how exciting all of these little milestones are. We also know there’s a lot to learn about keeping your little one happy as they go through a million changes — especially the more uncomfortable experiences like teething.

While it’s exciting to see your baby’s first tiny tooth appear, teething can be a challenging time for both parents and child. Your little one is going to experience some discomfort as his or her smile begins to take shape, so you might be in for a few sleepless nights (and a whole lot of drool!). The doctors at Kids Mile High are here to support you and your baby throughout the teething process. Read on for everything you need to know about what to expect, what not to do, and how to keep your baby as comfortable as possible.

What to Expect When Your Baby is Teething

There’s no hard-and-fast rule for when your baby will get her first tooth. For some babies, the first tooth erupts as early as three months, while others remain toothless until after their first birthday. But for most infants, teething symptoms will start before the appearance of any pearly whites. That’s because your baby’s teeth are already beginning to form beneath the surface.

Most babies will experience some level of discomfort during the teething process, but some lucky kiddos (and parents!) will have little to no symptoms. If you’re not sure whether your baby has started teething, here are a few telltale signs:

  • Excess drooling
  • Irritability and fussiness
  • Gumming and biting objects
  • Refusing to eat
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Ear pulling and cheek rubbing

Safe Remedies for a Teething Baby

Naturally, a teething baby is going to experience swollen, tender and painful gums. When it comes to soothing your baby during this time, there are plenty of safe, at-home teething remedies you can try. Here are some ways to alleviate teething pain for your child:

  • Chewing: As your baby has probably already been showing you, chewing can help to relieve pain from teething. Chewing, or gumming, applies counter-pressure to developing teeth as they work their way to the surface. Give your baby teething rings or plush teething toys made from safe materials, free from BPA, phthalate, latex and PVC. Cold objects are even more effective against teething pain, so put teething toys in the fridge to give your baby the cool comfort he needs.
  • Gum Massage: This is simple yet effective way to give your baby relief from teething pain. Similar to chewing, massaging your baby’s gums will provide counter-pressure to aching teeth.
  • Cold Food/Drinks: As we mentioned, cold objects are soothing to teething babies. If your baby has been introduced to solid foods, start giving her cold items like yogurt, applesauce or fruit blended with ice. You could also refrigerate breastmilk to give to your little one in a bottle. Another option is to let your baby chew on a cold washcloth that’s been soaked in water or breastmilk.
  • Distractions: You’d be surprised how effective distractions can be for a teething baby. If your kiddo is extra cranky, find ways to take his mind off his teething pain. Go for a walk, read a story and have extra playtime. Focusing on other things will help your little one feel better.
  • Wipe Up Drool: Yep, there’s going to be plenty of drool while your baby is teething. This is totally normal, but it can also cause irritation to your baby. The constant flow can cause a rash or redness to the area around your child’s mouth, so be sure to wipe droll away frequently using a clean cloth.
  • Pain Relievers: When all else fails, talk to your pediatrician about using a baby-safe pain reliever. This might be the best option for babies (and parents) who aren’t getting any sleep due to teething pain.

Avoid These Teething Remedies

While it’s invaluable to know how to relieve your child’s teething pain, it’s just as important to understand what not to do. Certain teething remedies can actually be dangerous for your child. Before you try any teething remedy, make sure you’re avoiding any of the following:

  • Liquid Teething Rings: These are a popular choice as a teething toy for babies, but the liquid inside can pose a health risk. There’s no way to know for sure what it contains and if your baby chews through the plastic, there’s a chance she will ingest the substance. Solid teething rings are a safe, effective alternative.
  • Teething Necklaces/Bracelets: There’s been a lot of hype around teething jewelry to alleviate teething pain, but experts are warning of the dangers of teething necklaces and bracelets. Amber teething jewelry poses a choking hazard, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported a case of a baby who suffered lead poisoning from a homeopathic bracelet. It’s best to avoid these teething devices altogether.
  • Products Containing Benzocaine: No parent wants to see their baby suffering, so it can be tempting to reach for over-the-counter products like teething gels to help them feel better. But the FDA has determined that these products contain benzocaine, which can cause potentially fatal harm to your baby. Benzocaine is associated with methemoglobinemia, a disorder that reduces the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream.
  • Homeopathic Remedies: We’d all love to find a safe, all-natural solution for teething babies, but the simple fact is that homeopathic remedies are not evaluated by the FDA.

As a parent, you want the best for your little one — and so do we. If you have any questions or concerns about your baby’s teeth as they develop, give your Englewood, Stapleton and Thornton pediatric dentist a call. We’re here to help.

New Year’s Resolutions for Kids’ Healthy Teeth

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New Year’s Resolutions for Kids’ Healthy Teeth

Can you believe that we’re mere weeks away from a brand new decade? At Kids Mile High, we can’t wait to ring in 2020 with big goals for the year ahead. After all, the start of a new year is the perfect time to kickstart all your resolutions. This year, we want to help your kids set themselves up for a lifetime of healthy teeth!

As your Denver pediatric dentists, we know that getting little ones excited about oral health care can be a challenge — but with a little fun and motivation, you can set smart teeth goals for your kids to keep them happy and healthy all year long. Not sure where to start? Here are our favorite New Year’s resolutions for healthy smiles.

  1. Brush Twice a Day — For Two Minutes!

I think this is something we’ve all been guilty of at one point or another — kiddos and adults alike. Even though most people brush their teeth twice a day, most spit and rinse well before the recommended two-minute time frame is up. This year, help your kids (and yourself!) stay on track for great oral health by encouraging them to brush for two minutes, twice a day. You could even make a game of it by picking a fun, two-minute song to play while they brush. This is sure to keep them scrubbing their pearly whites until the final note.

  1. Floss Once Per Day, Every Day

Brushing your teeth twice a day is a fantastic start on your kids’ New Year’s resolutions, but brushing alone isn’t enough to keep plaque and cavities at bay. Food particles can get stuck in hard-to-reach places between your teeth, leading to harmful build-up over time. To truly improve your kids’ oral health this year, you need to make flossing a regular part of their dental routine. And what better time to start creating new, healthy habits than the start of a new year? To get your kids to floss every day, make it a family affair and floss together. Kids love to imitate their parents, so show off your flossing skills and soon enough, your little ones will follow your lead.

  1. Drink Plenty of Water (And Limit Sugary Drinks)

Everyone knows how harmful sugar can be for your teeth. Plaque, tooth decay, cavities, oh my! This year, swap sugary drinks for the health-boosting benefits of good old fashioned water. Water is the healthiest drink in the world, not only because it’s hydrating and necessary for all your bodily functions — it also washes away bad bacteria and build-up on your teeth. On top of that, water also boosts your natural saliva production, which ultimately means that water prevents tooth decay. Talk about a healthy, tooth-friendly beverage! This year, avoid packing sugary drinks like juice or pop in your kids’ lunches and encourage them to drink plenty of water instead.

  1. Eat Tooth-Friendly Foods

Just like sugary drinks can wreak havoc on your kids’ oral health, so can sugary foods. One of the best New Year’s resolutions for kids is to eat more healthy, tooth-friendly foods (like vegetables) and cut down on foods that are bad for their teeth (like candy). Set your kids up for a healthy year by packing tooth-healthy lunches with plenty of whole foods, such as fruits, veggies, lean proteins, healthy fats and, of course, plenty of water. After all, your kids’ teeth are only as healthy as the food you give them. Start making healthier choices today to give them a lifetime of good oral health.

  1. Wear a Mouthguard When Playing Sports

Not-so-fun fact: almost five million teeth are knocked out during sports every year in the United States. So parents with active kids, this one’s for you. If your child plays sports or participates in activities that put their teeth in harm’s way, this might be the year to invest in a mouthguard for your kiddo. Contact sports (like football, hockey, soccer and so on) put your kids at risk of chipping or breaking their teeth. A mouthguard offers necessary protection against falls, collisions or contact with hard surfaces. This keeps your child’s teeth safe and healthy, and also helps them avoid emergency visits to the dentist. You can buy ready-made mouthguards at sporting goods stores or you can have a custom mouthguard made by your Denver pediatric dentist. Not sure if your child needs a mouthguard? Talk to the experts at Kids Mile High.

  1. Visit Your Denver Pediatric Dentist Twice a Year

The foundation for good oral health starts at home, with regular brushing and flossing, and a proper diet. But to make sure your kids’ teeth are as healthy as possible, they should see their pediatric dentist twice a year for routine check-ups, professional cleanings and fluoride treatments. A dentist can catch underlying oral health issues that you or your child might not have noticed. They also have professional tools to give your children’s teeth a deep clean, removing all the bad stuff they may have missed. You can even schedule your kids’ appointments in advance, so you always have a visit with your Englewood, Stapleton or Thornton pediatric dentist on the books. If you haven’t booked your child’s next dental appointment, call Kids Mile High today.

Ready to get a jumpstart on your kids’ New Year’s resolutions? The doctors at Kids Mile High are happy to answer any questions and provide helpful tips for keeping your kiddos on track. Let’s start the new decade off right with happy, healthy smiles for life.

Children trick or treating dressed as two witches and a devil.

Happy Halloween! The Best and Worst Candy for Your Teeth

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Happy Halloween! The Best and Worst Candy for Your Teeth

Children trick or treating dressed as two witches and a devil.

October is here and for the patients at our Denver pediatric dentistry office, that means one thing and one thing only: Halloween is coming! It seems like the stores have been stocked with ghouls, goblins and goodies for months now, but it’s officially time to find a costume and get your little ones ready for trick-or-treating. But before your kiddos go door-to-door with their masks and pillowcases, there are a few things to know about their favorite Halloween treats.

The doctors at Kids Mile High love Halloween (and candy!) as much as our little patients, but the sugary treats handed out at this time of year aren’t exactly good for our teeth. Excess sugars build up on the teeth, leading to an influx of harmful cavity-causing bacteria, so no sugar is always the best policy when it comes to our teeth. That said, there’s nothing wrong with indulging in the Halloween festivities and enjoying a special treat (or two…or three). Just be sure to brush and floss extra carefully!

Not all candies are created equally, though, and certain Halloween treats are better for your teeth than others. As you head into the Halloween season, here’s a handy list of the best and worst candy for your teeth so you can help your kiddos make informed decisions about what to eat.

The Worst Halloween Candy for Teeth

 

  1. Sticky and Chewy Candies

Jujubes, Tootsie Rolls, Gummy Bears, oh my! As a general rule of thumb, the stickier the candy, the worse it is for your teeth. That’s because these candies cling to your teeth, even after you’ve gobbled them up. The sticky sugars hang around, waiting for a chance to create a cavity. It’s especially important for kiddos with braces to avoid these types of Halloween treats. Sticky, chewy candies — like caramels and gummies — can get stuck in the brackets, making it difficult for your kids to properly clean their teeth and at times can break your appliances or remove brackets. That’s why it’s best to avoid sticky candies altogether this Halloween.

 

  1. Hard Candies & Lollipops

This one probably won’t come as a surprise, but hard candies and lollipops can be incredibly damaging to your teeth. Since they’re meant to be enjoyed slowly, these candies spend a lot more time in your mouth than treats you can chew, giving bacteria extra time to chow down on cavity-causing sugars. Hard candies also make it harder for your saliva to do its job of rinsing all the bad stuff away, so as far as your teeth are concerned, the worst candies are ones that take hours to consume. This Halloween, pick treats that can be eaten quickly and then be sure to brush your teeth right away to limit exposure to sugar.

 

  1. Sour Candies

Sour candies are always a favorite at Halloween, but they’re a lot more harmful to your teeth than you might realize. On top of a whack load of sugar, they also contain acid — that’s what creates that super satisfying, pucker-inducing sour taste — which contributes to the breakdown of tooth enamel. Like most things, sour candies won’t cause too much damage when consumed in moderation, but over time, they can have lasting effects on your teeth. If your kids love sour candies, try to limit their intake to only a few to reduce the potential for long-term damage and always rinse your mouth with water after enjoying the sour treats.

The Best Halloween Candy for Teeth

 

  1. Dark Chocolate

We’ve all been hearing about the health benefits of dark chocolate for years, and this applies as much to your teeth as it does to your overall health. Dark chocolate contains minimal sugar, is full of antioxidants and even has antibacterial properties that help fight plaque. The same can’t be said for milk or white chocolate, though, which are full of sugar and often contain unhealthy additives. Make sure to check your kids’ candy labels to make sure they’re getting the healthiest Halloween candies possible this year.

 

  1. Sugar-free Gummies and Candies

While regular gummies and hard candies are bad for your teeth, sugar-free versions can be a safer alternative. After all, sugar is the leading cause of cavities, so reducing sugar wherever possible is always a good thing. But that doesn’t mean sugar-free candies are healthy — they often contain harmful ingredients, like aspartame, to make up for the lack of sugar. They’re simply a better option for kiddos who love to munch on sticky candies at Halloween. Those with xylitol are the best since it has now been discovered that xylitol can help fight tooth decay.

 

  1. Candy with Nuts

While most candy bars are full of sugar and can’t be classified as good for you, many favorites contain nuts which can give otherwise unhealthy treats a helpful, healthy boost. Nuts add fiber and protein to candy bars, and they also help to break up the stickiness of the treat, making it harder for sugar to cling to your teeth. The only exception to this is those kiddos that are in braces, we discourage anything with nuts as they can also cause the brackets to come off or bend the wires causing an unexpected visit to the orthodontist.  O’Henry, Snickers and many Dairy Milk flavors (like Fruit & Nut) are all classics, but there are plenty of healthier alternatives out there. KIND bars are the perfect store-bought solution or try this homemade chocolate bar recipe. That way, you’ll be sure to have a healthy Halloween candy for your kids to enjoy after a night of trick-or-treating.

Child eating lunch consisting of cheese, eggs, and healthy greens.

Back-to-School Lunch Ideas for Kids’ Healthy Teeth

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Child eating lunch consisting of cheese, eggs, and healthy greens.

Back-to-School Lunch Ideas for Kids’ Healthy Teeth

It’s hard to believe that summer is over and school is back in session. For the patients at our Denver pediatric dentistry practice, that means it’s time to settle back into routine. The start of the school year is a busy time for youngsters, and it can be just as hectic for parents to adjust. Between getting your kids ready, making healthy lunches and getting your kids to school on time, there’s a million little things you have to do before you even step out the door in the morning.

The doctors at Kids Mile High want your school year to run as smoothly as possible. We also want your kiddos to be as healthy as can be — and to us, a healthy child starts with healthy teeth. With a little bit of planning, you can support your child’s oral health this school year by packing nutritious, delicious back-to-school lunches. Not sure where to start? Here are a few healthy lunch ideas for kids that they’re sure to love.

1. Leafy Green Veggies for Essential Vitamins and Minerals

We know that getting your kids excited about broccoli can be easier said than done. But there’s a reason leafy greens are king when it comes to health-boosting foods. Green vegetables are especially beneficial for the development of strong teeth for a few reasons: they’re chock full of essential vitamins and minerals that work to strengthen enamel. Kiddos not into steamed broccoli or kale salads? That’s okay! There are tons of creative ways to sneak leafy greens into your child’s lunch. Try one of these kid-approved broccoli recipes to get you started.

2. Yogurt, Cheese and Tofu for Enamel-Strengthening Calcium

Dairy products (like cheese and yogurt) and calcium-fortified products (like tofu) are rich in calcium, which also helps to strengthen tooth enamel. Pack yogurt cups in your child’s lunch for a healthy snack (just be sure to look out for harmful ingredients like added sugars). String cheese is also a fun, interactive treat. Want to stick to a more plant-based lunch? Cut tofu into bite-sized cubes or make a tofu scramble for a quick and easy calcium-infused lunch.

3. Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables to Scrub Away Plaque

Ideally, we’d all brush our teeth after every meal, not just in the morning and at night. But youngsters have enough to think about while in the classroom, especially at the beginning of the school year; telling them to brush and floss after lunch might be expecting a little too much. However, that doesn’t mean your kids’ teeth have to suffer during the school year. When you pack the right foods, your child’s back-to-school lunch can do double duty as both fuel and a plaque-fighting powerhouse. Crunchy veggies like carrots and celery work to scrub plaque from your kids’ teeth as they chew. Same goes for crunchy fruits like apples and pears. Bonus: these foods are also full of fiber, which is beneficial for your child’s overall health. To make sure your kiddos eat their veggies, include yummy homemade dips like hummus or ranch.

4. Hard-boiled Eggs for a Protein Boost

All kids like to eat with their hands, right? When their school lunch packs a healthy punch, that’s fine with us! Eggs are one of our favorite school snacks for kids because they’re protein-dense and contain vitamin D, both of which are essential to healthy teeth. Vitamin D also helps you absorb calcium, so eating eggs together with dairy or calcium-rich foods is a winning combo. Hard-boiled eggs are an easy finger food for school lunches, but if you have a picky eater, you could go for a kid-friendly egg salad sandwich instead. Then have them wash it down with a glass of milk or a side of yogurt to make sure they’re getting the most of their lunch.

5. Nuts and Seeds for Healthy Fats and Protein

Nuts are one of the best superfoods out there, thanks to their powerful nutrient make-up. Calcium, phosphorous, protein, heart-healthy fats and more — nuts and seeds have everything your kiddos need for a healthy smile and body. Our favorite nuts for oral health are almonds, cashews and walnuts, all of which are a nutritious snack for kids on their own. If you want to make your child’s lunch a little more interesting, pack apple slices with a side of almond butter to double down on tooth-healthy snacks.

6. Fruit for a Nutrient-Dense Sweet Treat

Most kids have a bit of a sweet tooth, but candy and ice cream aren’t exactly good for their teeth. You can still give them a little dessert in their school lunches by packing fruits like berries. Strawberries (and all berries, really) are packed with vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps repair the collagen in the dentin of the teeth. For a sweet treat at their end of their healthy school lunch, include a small portion of your child’s favorite berries, or add berries to plain greek yogurt for a healthy snack free from artificial sweeteners.

7. Water for Healthy, Happy Teeth

Last but not least: to make sure your child is absorbing all of these essential vitamins and minerals, make sure they’re drinking plenty of water. This will help to wash all of the good stuff through your child’s system, as well as whisk away plaque and harmful bacteria on the teeth. Fluoridated water is especially good for teeth. Known as “nature’s cavity fighter,” it’s the simplest way to avoid cavities and maintain a healthy smile. So always include water in your kids’ school lunches to set them up for a lifetime of good oral health.

dr roger with child paitent

Why Preventive Dentistry is the Best Dentistry for Kids!

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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.

child in dentist chair smiling

The Ins and Outs of Sedation Dentistry for Kids

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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.

 

child holding onto red balloon smiling

What Parents Need to Know About Cavities in Children

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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!

By | Kids Dentistry | No Comments

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!