Category: General Tooth Care Info

A Parent’s Guide to Dental X-Rays
A Parent’s Guide to Dental X-Rays

How Safe are Dental X-rays?

We are very careful to limit your child’s exposure to radiation. Using contem-porary safeguards, the amount of radiation re-ceived is extremely small. In fact, the risk associated with exposure to a dental x-ray is lower than undetect-ed and untreated dental problems.

How can I limit my child’s exposure to radiation?

1. Talk to your child’s dentist at each appointment, and ask whether x-rays are nec-essary.
2. Digital x-rays are utilized at The Kidds Place, significant-ly reducing radiation expo-sure.
3. Children must wear lead aprons to block the body from exposure.

How often should my child have x-rays?

Every child is unique and different, so the x-rays needed for one child may be differ-ent for another child of the same age. However, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, as well as the American Dental Association recom-mend that children have x-rays taken by age 3 or 4 to evaluate growth and development.

This may involve taking one x-ray of the upper front teeth and one of the lower front teeth, as well as one on each side, depending on how many teeth a child has.

X-rays of upper and lower teeth do not need to be taken again at each check-up, unless the child has had trauma to a front tooth. X-rays of back teeth should be taken at a minimum of once/year if the back molars are touching each other. The sides of these teeth cannot be visualized with a dental exam, and often the only way to iden-tify decay is with an x-ray. Decay damages children’s teeth at a faster rate than permanent teeth, and when untreated can cause severe infection.

What if my child has never had a cavity?

X-ray films can detect more than just cavities. X-rays can detect certain infections caused by trauma, and can give valuable infor-mation about the developing teeth. Children’s mouths change rapidly as they grow, and x-rays provide vital details about the health of un-erupted permanent teeth, as well as the surround-ing bone and tissue. Your child’s dentist will use these x-rays to screen for diseases, tumors, miss-ing/extra teeth, malpositioned teeth, and ortho-dontic planning.

My Child has braces…does he still need x-rays?

X-rays may be taken at a check-up if your child has braces. If the orthodontic wires are in, we may not be able to see between all of the teeth, and may elect to defer x-rays until the wires can be temporarily removed. Children with braces are highly susceptible to decay due to diffi-culty brushing and flossing around wires and brackets, as well as because of the lim-ited diagnostic ability of x-rays while the wires are in. For this reason, it is crucial to take x-rays as soon as braces have been taken off, as cavities may have formed between your child’s teeth.

Will X-rays al-ways be taken at each visit?

No. X-rays are recommended only when necessary to evaluate and monitor your child’s oral health. The frequency of films taken is de-pendent on your child’s needs. Many times, two bitewing x-rays will be taken at your child’s check
screen for cavities that may have start-ed between visits. If your child has had trauma to one or more teeth, x-rays may be indicated at each follow-up ap-pointment to ensure that infection of the root does not begin. Drs. Luchini, Coombs and Johnson welcome any ques-tions you may have about your child’s needs.

Comparing Common Sources of Radiation:

Source:———————— Estimated Exposure

Dental Radiographs

Bitewings——————————(2) 0.016

Medical Radiographs:

Lower GI series———————-4.060

Upper GI series———————-2.440

Chest X-ray—————————0.080

Average radiation from outerspace in Denver CO per year:

Average radiation in the United States from natural sources per year:


* A millisievert (mSv) is a unit of meas-ure that allows for common types of ra-diation to be compared to each other.

What should I watch for after my child has chipped his/her tooth??
What should I watch for after my child has chipped his/her tooth??

It’s a fact of life. Most children will experience a chipped tooth at some point. Kids are busy learning to walk, run, jump, and their front teeth are just waiting to be bumped into. As much as we try to prevent this from happening, it only takes a second before your child may join the growing “chipped tooth club”.

So you’ve taken your child to the dentist to have the injury checked out, but what should you be watching for a few weeks or months after an accident happens??

The most common consequence of a bumped tooth is a color change. The tooth may turn yellow, brown or gray. Sometimes this color change is dramatic, other times it may be very subtle. Sometimes it stays discolored, while other parents have reported that eventually the tooth may appear white again. If the tooth changes color, but does not have any associated sensitivity, no further treatment is needed.
Sometimes a bumped tooth can develop an infection weeks or months after an injury. The tooth may become loose in the socket, or it may have fluid that oozes out from around the edges.

You may see a “pimple” or “boil” type bump on the gums above the tooth. Any of these symptoms mean that the tooth will have to be extracted.

We realize that no one wants their 2 or 3 year old child to have to lose a front tooth, but when we observe symptoms such as these, the primary concern must be the developing permanent tooth. Permanent teeth must be allowed to develop in a healthy environment, and an infected or injured baby tooth can severely affect growth of the permanent tooth.

Immediately following the injury, make sure to provide your child with a soft diet to prevent them from having to chew or function on the injured tooth. This is the best way to ensure healing

Teething Advice
Teething Advice

Most of the time newborns usually have no visible teeth and most start developing baby teeth around 6 months of age. Children usually have a full set of 20 primary teeth in place by age 3.

As their teeth begin to come in, most babies become fussy, sleepless and gernerally  irritable. They may lose their appetite or drool more than usual. If your infant has a fever or diarrhea while teething or continues to be cranky and uncomfortable, call your physician. These are not normal symptoms associated with teething.

Your child may have sore gums when teeth begin to come in. Gently rubbing their gums with a small cool spoon, or a moist gauze pad can be soothing. A steralized teething ring for your child to chew on may also help. We can recommend a pacifier or teething ring to use as well. We do not recommend that you use benzocaine products for children younger than 2, except under the advice and supervision of a health care professional. Benzocaine is an over the counter anesthetic, usually under the product names Anbesol, Hurricaine, Orajel, Baby Orajel and Orabase. Benzocaine has been associated with a rare yet serious and even sometimes fatal, condition called methemoglobinemia, a disorder in which the amount of oxygen carried through the blood stream is greatly reduced.

Teething can be a stressful time for both mommy and baby so when your child’s teeth begin to come in, brush them gently with a toothbrush suitable for a baby and use filtered water if available.

A baby’s front four teeth usually push through the gums at about six months, although some children don’t have their first tooth until 12 months. For children between the ages of 2 and 5, brush their teeth with a small amount of natural toothpaste. Be sure they spit out the toothpaste.

You should start regular dental check-ups for your child after his or her first tooth appears, but no later than their first birthday.

Does My Child Need Braces?
Does My Child Need Braces?

This is a very commonly asked question by parents of our patients. Braces can be used to correct many variations in dental development, and it is important to consider your child’s potential for future growth when answering this question. A good rule of thumb involves looking at your child’s primary (baby) teeth prior to the first tooth coming out.

Generally speaking, children who do not have spaces between their primary teeth, or children who have some crowding in the primary dentition will likely require orthodontic treatment during the adolescent years. Children who do have spaces between the baby teeth are less likely to need orthodontic treatment. Some children may exhibit more growth in either the upper or lower jaw, without showing any crowding between the teeth. In these children, braces may also be indicated at some point.It is important to continue bringing your child every 6 months to their check-up so that the doctor can evaluate your child’s growth and development.

Handling a Dental Emergency

Knocked Out Tooth – Rinse your child’s mouth with warm water to keep the area clean. Applying a cold compress to the face will help to reduce any swelling. Call your dentist immediately to rule out any other injuries. If it is a baby tooth, do not try to re-implant it! Doing so can cause unnecessary damage to the developing permanent tooth. If it is a permanent tooth, place the tooth in Tooth Saver (available at your local pharmacy), or in a glass of room temperature milk and call your dentist immediately.

If no other liquid is available, you can place the tooth in water. Your dentist may try to place the tooth back into the socket, however the success of this procedure depends on the amount of time the tooth was out of the mouth. Ideally, the permanent tooth should be re-implanted by your dentist within 1 hour of the tooth being knocked out.

The Sticky Truth about Gummy Vitamins
The Sticky Truth about Gummy Vitamins

Gummy vitamins have been a very popular choice for parents since they came onto the market about 10 years ago. They taste great and they are supposed to be healthy. What could be better? There are some significant concerns associated with these vitamins, however that parents need to be aware of.

First, these vitamins are just as sticky as fruit snacks or other gummy treats. Many of them contain sugar, which allows the vitamins to stick in teeth and slowly dissolve into the pits and fissures of your child’s molars. It only takes about 20 minutes for the bacteria that form cavities to start digesting these sugars and begin making the acid that forms a cavity.

Secondly, the vitamins taste good, which has led to overdoses. Children may mistake these for snacks and take too many at one time. It is possible for a child to suffer from vitamin toxicity, which can be severe in some cases.

Most children can obtain their required nutrients from normal food groups, and may not even need vitamins. We encourage you to talk with your child’s pediatrician to determine your child’s nutritional needs.

At The Kidds Place, we recommend following a few simple guidelines for giving your child vitamins:

1. If you do give your child a daily vitamin, select a non-gummy variety that turns to powder as the child chews. These may contain added sugar as well, but do not stick to teeth in the same fashion.

2. Give your child their vitamin with a meal if possible

3. Have your child brush their teeth after they’ve taken their vitamins

4. Never give your child a vitamin before bed and let them go to sleep without brushing and rinsing with water.

Why your child’s medical history can influence their dental visit
Why your child’s medical history can influence their dental visit

Every child is unique and special, and many children have various medical needs. Some medical conditions are minor, while others require more attention, but all need to be disclosed to your child’s health care providers, including your child’s dentist.

Many conditions and syndromes consist of multiple systemic needs. Syndromes or conditions that involve cardiac needs may require antibiotic treatment prior to a dental visit. If you are unsure of your child’s cardiac status, it is a good idea to review with your pediatrician, or ask your dentist. Other conditions that may require antibiotics before dental treatment include artificial joints, shunt placement, uncontrolled diabetes, leukemia, neurological conditions, or immune system deficiencies.

While the above conditions may be rare, many children today are diagnosed with ADHD, Autism, or autistic-spectrum disorder. Many children with Autism require special accommodations to be made while at the dental office, and the sooner we can plan for your child, the successful your visit can be. Some children have been instructed to take daily medications; these should always be taken unless instructed differently by your dentist.

If your child takes medication for any of these or other conditions, your dentist needs to be informed to ensure that if local anesthetic or sedative medications are planned, there are no unexpected drug interactions.

Why Do Children Grind Their Teeth?
Why Do Children Grind Their Teeth?

Tooth grinding, or bruxism, is a very common concern shared by many parents. Many children who brux during the night while they are sleeping, although bruxism can occur while awake as well. There are a variety of different factors that have been identified as possible reasons for this habit. A child’s bite may be slightly “off”, or an irritating dental condition may be present. Other factors include emotional stress, allergies, or alterations in muscle tone. Some children with significant medical/developmental handicaps may also grind their teeth. In healthy children, bruxism is often self-limiting, meaning that most children will grow out of the habit.

Treatment of bruxism often depends on the severity of the habit, and the amount of wear on the teeth. In older children who have severe wear on their permanent teeth, a mouth guard may be indicated, or an adjustment of their bite. Custom bite splints are not recommended, however, due to the risk of choking, expense, and a rapidly changing dentition which can result in a poor-fitting splint. A child with mild to moderate wear may not require any treatment. In extreme cases, a stainless steel crown (cap) may need to be placed to prevent exposure of the nerve in the tooth, or tooth sensitivity.

Bruxism often does not have long-term consequences on the dentition, unless it continues to occur throughout adolescence and early adulthood.