Category Archives: Kids’ Dentistry

Some Wisdom About Wisdom Teeth

young woman worried about wisdom teethWisdom teeth are the name for your third permanent molars, which typically appear from age 17-25. It is thought the name “wisdom teeth” comes from the fact that they appear long after all your other permanent teeth, when you a much older & wiser. Most people have four wisdom teeth, one in each quadrant of the mouth (upper left, upper right, lower left, lower right). If your dentist has been doing updated x-rays of your mouth every year, they might be able to see where your wisdom teeth are going to come in, but there’s no guarantee on how wisdom teeth will behave.

In some cases, wisdom teeth come in (or erupt, as we dentists say) normally & function just like your other molars. In many other cases, however, wisdom teeth are impacted. Impacted means the teeth are stuck in the bone under your gums. Either there isn’t enough room for them to come in all the way, or they’re coming in at such a strange angle that it’s impossible for them to emerge from your gums.

Not all impacted wisdom teeth will cause problems, but wisdom teeth removal is still recommended for many patients, even when they are not experiencing any negative symptoms. The reason for this is wisdom teeth removal is much easier & less complicated the younger the tooth is. Younger wisdom teeth have less developed roots & are less likely to be near nerves. Also, younger people tend to heal better, so having wisdom teeth removed in the late teens or early twenties often provides for better results. As the wisdom teeth get older & get integrated into the bone of your jaw, they become harder to remove.

Some patients start experiencing pain & swelling soon after their wisdom teeth appear. In other cases, the wisdom teeth can come in only partially, creating an optimal place for bacteria & infection to grow between the partially exposed gum & other teeth. This infection is called pericornitis. In these situations, emergency wisdom teeth removal is usually recommended to relieve pain & prevent further complications. If you are in your late teens or twenties & are experiencing a toothache or jaw pain, visit the dentist to see if it could be related to your wisdom teeth.

Wisdom teeth removal is performed either by your dentist or an oral surgeon. Some dental clinics have an oral surgeon on staff, but others may require you to get a referral to a separate oral surgeon’s office. If your dentist doesn’t perform oral surgeries, they usually have a trusted local oral surgeon that they work with who they will refer you to.

Removing wisdom teeth is a fairly straightforward procedure. If your wisdom tooth has emerged from the gum normally (erupted), it will be “pulled” like any other tooth. If it is impacted, the dentist or oral surgeon may have to make an incision in the gum to access the tooth in the bone. The complexity of removing an impacted is particular to each patient’s situation. You dentist or oral surgeon will also help determine the level of sedation needed to keep you comfortable.

After wisdom teeth removal surgery, most patients experience some pain & swelling for several days. Your dentist or oral surgeon will give you post-operative instructions, like taking Tylenol or using ice packs, to help you heal & stay comfortable. You may also get a prescription for a stronger painkiller if necessary. You will also get recommendations on the types of soft foods you can eat until you’ve healed enough to chew again.

Did you know that not everyone develops wisdom teeth? In fact, the incidence of wisdom teeth in those with Tasmanian Aboriginal ancestry is practically zero. By contrast, nearly 100% of indigenous Mexicans have wisdom teeth.

What’s unique about Columbia #14: Wilde Lake, for which our village is named, is a man-made lake that was formed by damming a branch of the Patuxent River.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Teaching Good Brushing Habits to Your Kids

teaching kids about good dental care habits

Brushing your teeth is very important for your oral & overall health, but to kids, it’s just a chore. But it doesn’t have to be! Here are some tips for teaching your kids how to brush their teeth effectively & solidify good dental care habits for a lifetime of healthy teeth.

Step 1. Demonstrate.

To encourage your kids to brush their teeth properly, model good behavior! Brush your teeth at the same time as your child & let them watch you so they can see how it should be done. Explain what you’re doing as you’re doing it & brush in small circles on all surfaces of every tooth. Make sure you show how to angle the toothbrush at 45 degrees to brush the gum line effectively.

Step 2. Guide.

Kids usually don’t have good enough motor control to brush their own teeth well until they are 6 or 7, so until then, you can brush their teeth for them.

Show them how to squeeze a pea-sized amount of toothpaste onto the toothbrush (the ADA recommends using a rice grain-sized amount until your child is three years old) & have your child face the mirror so they can see & you can explain what you are doing. Go slow & show them proper brushing technique.

Once they are old enough to brush their teeth on their own, continue to brush your teeth at the same time as your child to encourage good dental care. If you’re nervous that they aren’t being thorough, trade off for a while. Your child can brush their own teeth in the morning, & then in the evening you can reinforce proper brushing technique by doing it for them.

Step 3. Encourage Them to Be Thorough.

Make sure your child is thorough & continues to brush for the entire two minutes. You can use songs or a timer to countdown, & tell them to make lots of bubbles with the toothpaste.

When the two minutes is up, instruct them to spit the toothpaste into the sink & never swallow it. Then, they should rinse their mouth & the toothbrush. To show them how thorough they need to be, you can use plaque dye tablets after brushing to show them the spots they missed.

Step 4. Floss!

Flossing is a very important part of the dental care routine that you should encourage your child to follow from an early age. To make it more fun & easy, you can use floss picks, because they often come in styles with characters.

As with brushing their teeth, teach your child the proper flossing technique. Wind 18 inches of floss around your middle fingers & pinch the floss between your thumb & index fingers. Gently insert the floss between two teeth using a back & forth motion. Curve the floss around each tooth in a C shape & move it up & down each tooth. You can demonstrate it, guide your child, & eventually let them try it themselves.

Tips & Tricks

40% of kids have cavities by the time they enter kindergarten, so it’s important to encourage good brushing habits early. Even though baby teeth will fall out eventually, it’s important to keep them clean & healthy anyway because they are guides & space holders for permanent teeth.

Here are some tips & tricks for making brushing fun!

  • Practice on a model. You can use dolls, an upside-down egg carton, or an old toothbrush & paint & paper.
  • Let your child choose their toothbrush & toothpaste! Get them involved in their health. You can also try an electric toothbrush, because those are fun for kids.
  • Tell them a story about the sugar bugs that make holes in our teeth if we don’t brush them away.
  • The circular movement of the toothbrush is kind of like the wheels on a train! Encourage them to move the train across their teeth.
  • Tell them to pretend the brush is a superhero who is rescuing each tooth from plaque monsters.:
  • What’s unique about Columbia #11: Columbia many of its street names from famous works of art & literature, including works by J. R. R. Tolkein, Robert Frost, & Mark Twain.

How to Prepare Your Child for the Dentist

children's book about a visit to the family dentistOne of the best ways to make sure your child has a healthy smile for life is by establishing a dental home. That means creating a trusting relationship between your child & your family dentist & making sure visits to the dentist are fun & educational. As a parent or guardian, you can play a large part in making sure your child is happy & comfortable at the dentist. Here are a few ways how:

Take Your Child to Your Dental Appointments

If you are a new parent or the parent of a small child, talk to us about bringing your child along on your own teeth cleaning appointment. You can hold your child on your lap while we clean your teeth. We are a family dentist & welcome the opportunity to introduce your child to the world of dental care. Together, you, the dental hygienist & dentist will explain to your child what’s going on, so that the process of going to the dentist becomes familiar to the child before he or she starts going to his or her own dental appointments. Many children become anxious when presented with situations that are unfamiliar. Seeing you get your teeth cleaned will introduce the concept to the child so they are less likely to be afraid or upset when it’s their turn to see the dentist.

Read a Picture Book

Another great way to introduce children to the idea of visiting the dentist is to read them a picture book about the topic. There are many great children’s books about visiting the dentist, so you can choose one that you think will appeal to your child. You and your child can re-read the book whenever they have a dental appointment coming up to remind them why going to the dentist is important & that it isn’t scary.

Here are a few great children’s books about the dentist:

children's book about going to the dentist  Just Going to the Dentist (Little Critter) by Mercer Mayer

kids book about visiting the dentist  ABC Dentist: Healthy Teeth from A to Z by Harriet Ziefert

children's book about visiting the dentist  Curious George Visits the Dentist by H. A. Rey

Cartoons & Children’s Shows

Many children’s programs have episodes that focus on trips to the dentist. They usually address possible fears children might have within a story that the child can relate to. A good place to search for episodes of kids’ shows that feature a trip to the dentist is YouTube, or similar video-streaming services. You can also keep an eye out for dentist-themed episodes on TV make sure you & your child watch them together.

Here are a few episodes of children’s shows featuring the dentist that are currently available to watch online:

Dudley Visits the Dentist

The Berenstain Bears – Visit the Dentist

Dentist Video from Sesame Street

As a family dentist, we are alway happy to do whatever it takes to make sure your little one feels comfortable & welcome at our practice. If you have any concerns or questions about your child’s visits to the dentist, please don’t hesitate to ask us.

What’s unique about Columbia #2: Columbia was founded in 1967 as a planned community.