This summer, a front page article in the New York Times, (Preschoolers in Surgery for a Mouthful of Cavities) focused attention on the growing need to treat young children under general anesthesia for dental treatment. Our practice which has been treating children of the South Shore for 37 years, can confirm that increasing number of young children under the age of 3 are being referred to us with severe dental disease.
Many times, due to their young age, and the extent of dental caries, the only way to safely manage and treat these children is in the operating room under general anesthesia. This is extremely frustrating, for in most instances, dental caries is an entirely preventable disease. If diagnosed early, proper intervention can be initiated, eliminating the need for more extensive treatment.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and the American Dental Association, have for years stressed and recommended a dental visit for children by age one. We wholeheartedly agree.
Get it Done by Year One! is a campaign supported by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. It’s goal is to inform and educate parents on the importance of seeing a dentist by age one or by the time the first tooth erupts.
We encourage all parents of young infants to be seen by a dentist by age one. A lifetime of excellent oral health starts with the eruption of the first baby tooth.
For those of you interested, here’s a link to the New York Times Article.
Space Maintainers Help Maintain Space (Now that’s stating the obvious!)
Dentists are in the business of saving teeth, even primary (or ‘baby’) teeth. We rarely ever recommend extracting a tooth. However, there are instances when there is no other choice, such as when the baby tooth is abscessed, and we end up having to extract the tooth.
When baby molars are extracted before their time, we will oftentimes recommend placement of a space maintainer (nicknames include spacers, the shoe, LLA and tooth holders). This is done in cases where the permanent tooth will not be growing in for many years. Since baby teeth help hold space for the permanent teeth, and in fact, help ensure that they grow in straight, the premature loss of a baby tooth can lead to space loss, tipping of the remaining baby teeth, and crooked eruption of the permanent teeth. We don’t want that to happen!
That’s where space maintainers come in. If your dentist has recommended a lower lingual holding arch, a band and loop or Nance appliance, they are talking about a space maintainer. Though they may all look a little different, they all serve the same purpose. They help ‘maintain’ space for the permanent tooth, thereby ensuring that this tooth will grow in straight. FYI – space maintainers are generally not needed or recommended if there is early loss of a child’s front teeth.
Space maintainers are easy to make and insert. We simply fit the properly sized band around one or two of your child’s teeth, take an impression, send it to our lab to custom fabricate, and then presto, ‘glue’ it in with a special cement. You child won’t notice it after a day or two – in fact, most of our patients complain that their mouths don’t feel right when we remove them.
And when do we take them out? We usually keep space maintainers in until the permanent tooth that we are holding the space for grows in but every situation is different, so it is important that your child is seen on a regular basis.
When we can’t save a tooth, we can still save the space!
A “Big Hello” to everybody out here in the blogosphere. Welcome to the new Dentistry For Children, P.C. blog. My hope is that this can blog can serve as a means of conveying to everybody, the passion, joy and enthusiasm that I, and every member of our practice family, has for pediatric dentistry and orthodontics . I take great pride in being part of a group of professionals who treats each and every patient that comes through our doors as if they were our own child.
Let me tell you a few things about myself. I’ve been in private practice at Dentistry For Children, P.C. since 1999. In fact, this is where I started my professional career as a pediatric dentist, and it will be my the only place since I am here to stay. Prior to DFC (that’s what we call Dentistry For Children, P.C. around here), I completed a 2 year pediatric dentistry residency at Children’s Hospital Boston, got my D.M.D (Dental degree) from Harvard University, and attained my bachelors degree in Biology at Brown University in Providence.
Growing up, I moved back and forth between New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Hong Kong, and consider myself lucky to have been exposed to so many different cultures (New Jersey is an interesting place after all). That being said, I’ve now spent the vast majority of my life in the New England area, and consider Boston home (and by the way, go Patriots). I have 2 daughters (9 and 12) who have enriched my life in many different ways, and have made me better understand the way children think. I coach my daughter’s soccer team, play the piano (thanks Mom!), run marathons (including the Boston Marathon once), read non-fiction American History, and to my wife’s delight, pretend I’m a professional chef.
That’s enough about me. Future posts will introduce to you some of the other members of our practice. Stay tuned.
If you’re interested, check out our website and Facebook pages.
We’re dipping our toes into the blogosphere!
We love what we do, and are passionate about ensuring that our patients achieve optimal oral health. The goal of our blog is to inform, educate and give you an insiders view to the goings-on here at Dentistry For Children, P.C. We’ll cover topics on nutrition, the latest advances in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics, and oral health.
We welcome your feedback and input as to topics that you would like to see included. Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with ideas or questions, and we’ll be sure to answer them on our blog. Stay tuned!