Most babies start teething at around 4-6 months of age. When your child’s teeth begin to erupt, you may notice changes in your child’s behavior. Changes may include irritability, excessive drooling, reduced appetite, and difficulties sleeping. Your infant may also bring their hands to their mouth or rub their ears or cheeks as the molars erupt, due to referred pain.
The good news is that neither you nor your child needs to suffer through teething issues! There are a number of remedies parents can use to ease teething pain.
One of the most common ways to manage teething pain is to gently massage your baby’s gums with a clean finger or a moistened gauze pad. Babies can use a chilled (not frozen) teething ring or cold washcloth to chew on. Some children enjoy using a toothbrush as a teething toy because of the stimulation from the toothbrush bristles on their gums.
Numbing creams or gels are also available over the counter, however use caution when using those containing Benzocaine for children under age 2 years without consulting your doctor. A child is at risk of swallowing these creams or gels, which can numb the throat and gag reflex. Painkillers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen should be used as a last resort; always check with your doctor before administering any new medications. Aspirin should be avoided as it can be associated with Reye’s syndrome.
Some parents report using amber teething bead necklaces made of Baltic amber to help relieve teething discomfort. It is believed that by wearing them, the body heat triggers the release of minute amounts of oil containing succinic acid that has an analgesic effect on sore gums. Please remember, that there is a heighten the risk of strangulation when wearing a necklace or choking if your baby chews off a bead.
Sometimes, when teeth erupt through the gum surface, the area may appear red or swollen. Parents may even notice a blood blister above the erupting tooth. The larger molars may cause more discomfort with their larger surface area that can’t cut through the gums so easily.
First Dental Visit:
Every infant should have their first pediatric dental visit after their first birthday. Schedule their first dental appointment with a pediatric dentist like Dr. Rishita Jaju at Smile Wonders. We can provide customized advice on how to care for the baby’s primary teeth. Helping our youngest patients develop a healthy, strong foundation for proper dental care is our goal and our passion at Smile Wonders. For high-quality pediatric dentistry in Northern Virginia, schedule your child’s appointment with us today.
Feeding a baby comfortably and efficiently is the most important aspect of a newborn’s life and a precious experience for a new mom. In some cases, a connective band of tissue known as a “frenum” can cause conditions such as a tongue-tie or lip-tie. These conditions can jeopardize the beautiful nursing relationship between a mother and her newborn.
A normal frenum functions to connect two parts of the body. For instance, the frenum that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth is called a lingual frenum. If the frenum attaches too low or too tight, the tissue becomes restrictive in nature, just as webbed fingers or toes become restrictive. So, as a surgical release helps webbed fingers or toes function well, a frenectomy procedure might be beneficial to help the baby and mom have a comfortable and efficient feeding experience.
Why do we seem to be seeing more tongue-ties?
Lip and tongue-ties are not a new problem. In fact, a lip or tongue-tie was one of the main reasons given to Moms to wean her child to a bottle instead of breastfeeding. However, in the past decade, there has been increased awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding. This awareness has allowed breastfeeding to become more popular again, while also bringing more attention to the problems associated with feeding such as lip and tongue-ties among others.
How are tongue-ties and lip-ties treated today?
Thanks to the great advances in laser technology, most technologically-savvy and up-to-date healthcare providers are educated on the laser’s properties and why they are highly favorable in soft tissue procedures. The lasers ability to coagulate as it releases tissue allows better healing of the surgical site.
Lasers virtually eliminate the need for scalpel, sutures, or anesthetic in most cases. The newborns we treat can nurse immediately and moms report significant difference in personal comfort, baby’s consumption, and efficiency while nursing/feeding.
Team approach for long-term success
Mothers and babies experience maximum benefits when a frenectomy is combined with guidance from a knowledgeable lactation consultant or a feeding therapist. This is important in developing a new and improved breastfeeding relationship. They can help you tease out any maternal or infant related factors that may be interfering with your baby’s ability to feed.
When your child needs extensive dental work or they are too young to have more advanced dental work, parents are often concerned about how their child will be safely stabilized for the procedure.
For 90% or the procedures at Smile Wonders procedures can be done with just the use of waterlase without using any local anesthetic injection or need for sedation. We often use distractions, such as counting games or silly songs or even use the TV installed in our ceiling with headphones to make the dental appointment fly by. However, in some cases, children maybe too young to understand directions or overly fearful and the needs are too extensive that either IV sedation or general anesthesia maybe required to complete the needed work safely and thoroughly. Let’s look at the differences between the two options.
IV (Intravenous) sedation is provided right in our pediatric dental office, and administered by a board-certified anesthesiologist. This option is best for healthy children that just need some help with cooperation. We can use nitrous oxide or IM pre-medication to get the child calm and comfortably asleep. Then an IV will be placed and monitored for continuous anesthesia administration during the dental procedure. The children maintain their own reflexes and breathing, and the anesthesiologist has the ability to custom-titrate the medications to safely produce the best effects. Children can return to normal school or play activity the very next day.
General anesthesia is usually required for children who have certain respiratory or neurological special needs that necessitate care in a hospital setting. It is provided using a combination of intravenous drugs and inhaled gases, and puts a patient into a completely-unconscious state. A breathing tube is inserted to control the airway with use of respiratory machines. Dr. Rishita Jaju maintains medical privileges at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC and is able to provide care for her most fragile patients at that facility.
Those children who have an advanced medical history with things such as diabetes, cleft lip and palate, sleep apnea, or cerebral palsy, for example, would most likely require General Anesthesia for dental needs such as extensive, complicated or multiple procedures that need to be provided in collaboration with other surgeons such as those in orthopedics, general surgery, plastic surgery, ENT, etc.
For Both Sedation Types
Prior to their child’s sedation procedure parents will be given fasting guidelines at home. We will also discuss any restrictions they might have following their dental work, and schedule follow-up visits. We know that any time someone is sedated it can be scary, but we encourage parents not to frighten children about an upcoming procedure. We’ll try to make it as fun and easy as possible for them.
Contact Smile Wonders
Reston pediatric dentist Dr. Rishita Jaju of Smile Wonders specializes in pediatric oral health. Contact us at 571-350-3663.
A pediatric dentist works with the general population of children, yet within that population there are segments that sometimes need just a little extra loving care, which we are trained for, and glad to provide. We refer to these as our special needs patients.
Almost 20% of children in the U.S. have special health care needs that run the gamut from medical to developmental to behavioral, and encompass, but are not limited to:
- Down’s Syndrome
- Cerebral Palsy
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Cleft Lip and Palate
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Liver Cirrhosis
Dental Care for Children with Special Needs
We encourage the family to attend a desensitization appointment as a “meet and greet” consultation to allow the child to experience the dentist in a non-threatening first meeting and prepare for their upcoming dental appointment. When dental procedures such as cleanings, cavity fillings or other work are needed, we customize them to the child’s tolerance and needs. We find that scheduling more-frequent low-pressure visits are easier to handle than one large appointment. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to accompany their child in the treatment areas for comfort and familiarity.
Some patients may benefit from early morning appointments so that they are fresh, most rested, and relaxed. Some patients do better mid-day as their normal medications may get a chance to work and we do not interrupt their morning routine. While, some patients would like to come at a time when there are no other patients in the reception area. We take all the preferences in consideration to set up for the most successful dental visit.
Many children with special needs feel safe in their own room and defined safe space at Smile Wonders. There are no other children playing and distracting or causing over stimulation. They can wear headphones and connect to televisions mounted to the ceiling or listen to their favorite music. It helps them to relax and avoid having to listen to the normal sounds associated with a dental office. They are also free to enjoy our other play areas.
The dental equipment and techniques are also adapted for children with special needs, such as those who cannot stand or sit motionless, creating a more pleasant visit to the dentist. Recommendations for modified brushing routine and tricks, as well as frequency schedule are provided for each child.
Collaboration with Other Providers
Dr. Rishita at Smile Wonders works with area Developmental Pediatricians, Occupational therapists, or Speech Language Pathologists to provide a ‘Visual Social Schedule’, at home ‘Oral stimulatory exercises’ or coordinates appointment with ‘Sensory Diet’ prior to dental appointments. This personalized activity plan gives children the sensory input they need to reduce anxiety, remain attentive, focused and organized throughout their day.
At Smile Wonders, children with special needs and their parents are treated with care and compassion, and receive the same high level of dental care as all our patients. We love your child like you do, and through proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits can help ensure a healthy and happy smile throughout the child’s life.
Contact Smile Wonders
If you are looking for a pediatric dentist experienced with special needs children, schedule your appointment with Dr. Rishita Jaju at Smile Wonders today. Our practice is conveniently located in Reston, Virginia.
Digital advances in pediatric dentistry are amazing. Not only do they provide for patient comfort, they create opportunities for pediatric dentists to provide better treatment.
The cutting-edge technology of digital X-rays, also known as digital radiography, enables the pediatric dentist to take crisp X-ray images of the teeth, supporting bone and gums and download them instantaneously into the computer without delay, thus eliminating the need for environmentally-harmful film and chemical development. It also allows dentists to magnify and enhance images to review specific dental issues, and instantly transfer them to a patient’s file or dental specialist such as the child’s orthodontist.
Digital X-rays are faster and safer than traditional X-rays, reducing the exposure to radiation by up to 90%.
The intra-oral camera allows a patient to see what the dentist sees: their mouth from the inside. These photographs can also be enlarged and enhanced to show detail, creating better means of communication and documentation. Since they are not X-rays, there is no radiation involved. The camera is additionally used for “before” and “after” photos, presentations, enhanced diagnosis, insurance claims, and education or monitoring with parents and patients concerning overall dental health.
Digital Panoramic X-Rays
Panoramic digital X-rays show the health status of all the teeth in one film. Used primarily to show the upper and lower jaw, the TMJ and the sinus areas, to record existing condition and detect abnormalities of the developing teeth, salivary glands, cysts, displaced teeth follicles, etc.
They are especially helpful for children who have orthodontic problems, or those who have medical or behavioral special needs that interfere with their ability to cooperate for intra-oral x-rays. Images are taken externally, and no film is required to be put into the mouth.
In addition, there are ways pediatric dentists use digital technology that you might not have thought about:
Digital/Electronic Dental Records
Use of technology also makes it easier to manage our pediatric dental practice using digital files, file-sharing capabilities, scheduling, records management, and insurance filing. Our paperless practice and electronic software enables patients to thoroughly complete their paperwork right from home rather than having to feel rushed or distracted after arriving at the dental office. This saves time and allows for more detailed conversations with the dentist. The dentist also has access to the paperwork and can review your medical history details ahead of time.
Pop into Virginia’s Smile Wonders and you’ll find plenty of entertainment options for young patients in the form of Wi-Fi, iPads in the children’s play area, and TVs at every chair. These devices not only make a visit to the dentist more enjoyable, they can serve as a comforting distraction.
Schedule Your Appointment with Smile Wonders
Helping our young patients enjoy going to the dentist is what we love to do. For expert pediatric dentistry in Northern Virginia, schedule your next appointment with Dr. Rishita Jaju at Smile Wonders today.
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