5500 Columbia Pike, Suite A
Arlington, VA 22204
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends finding your child’s Dental Home by age one or when the first tooth emerges, whichever occurs first. Establishing your child’s Dental Home provides the opportunity to implement preventive dental health habits that keep a child free from dental/oral disease. Habor Pediatric Dentistry focuses on prevention, early detection, and treatment of dental diseases. We work to keep current on the latest advances in dentistry for children, and our services reflect just that.
Our goal at Arlington Pediatric Dentistry is to help all children feel good about visiting the dentist and teach them how to care for their teeth. From our special office designs to our communication style, our main concern is what is best for your child.
Pediatric dentists care for children of all ages. From first tooth to adolescence, they help your child develop a healthy smile until they’re ready to move on to a general dentist. Pediatric dentists have had 2-3 years of special training to care for young children and adolescents.
Your child’s first tooth will typically erupt between 6 and 12 months, although it is common to occur earlier. Usually, the two bottom front teeth – the central incisors – erupt first, followed by four upper front teeth – called the central and lateral incisors. Your child should have their first full set of teeth by their third birthday.
Permanent teeth start to appear around age 6, beginning with the first molars and lower central incisors. The age of 8, is generally when the bottom 4 primary teeth (the lower central and lateral incisors) and the top 4 primary teeth (the upper central and lateral incisors) begin to fall out and permanent teeth take their place. The rest of the permanent teeth will start to come in around age 10. Permanent teeth can continue to erupt until approximately age 21. Adults have 32 permanent teeth including the third molars (called wisdom teeth).
Baby teeth may be temporary but they serve a very important role in the development and health of your child. They help your child to chew promoting proper nutrition. They also assist the child to speak in a normal manner. Baby teeth hold space in the jaw for your child’s permanent teeth as well. If a baby tooth is lost too soon it can lead to teeth crowding which in turn can cause alignment issues when the permanent teeth begin to emerge leading to biting problems.
One of the most common forms of early childhood caries is “baby bottle tooth decay,” which is caused by the continuous exposure of a baby’s teeth to sugary drinks. Baby bottle tooth decay primarily affects the upper front teeth, but other teeth may also be affected.
Early symptoms of baby bottle tooth decay are white spots on the surface of teeth or on the gum line, and tooth sensitivity. More severe symptoms can appear in advanced stages of baby bottle tooth decay, and include: brown or black spots on teeth, bleeding or swollen gums, fever, and bad breath. If your child shows any of these symptoms, you need to see your pediatric dentist immediately to prevent further, more complicated problems from occurring.
1 - Don’t send your child to bed with a bottle of anything EXCEPT water.
2 - Clean your baby's gums after each meal.
3 - Gently brush your child’s first tooth.
4 - Limit sugary drinks and food
Contact our office. We can schedule a same-day visit for your child. If you are an existing patient we offer after-hours access to our pediatric dentists. Just call the office and you will be directed to the after-hours emergency service.
If your child fractures a tooth, then gather any fragments you can find and store them in a clean container of milk, or saliva of the child that lost the tooth. Never use water to transport a broken or knocked out tooth. It is important that you visit the dentist immediately to prevent infection and other complications that are brought on by chipped or knocked out teeth. If the tooth is knocked out, only touch the crown of the tooth and not the root.
If you child experiences a cut on their tongue, cheek or lip, bleeding can usually be stopped by applying clean gauze to the affected area. You can also apply ice to the area to help stop the bleeding. If you cannot stop the bleeding, call your pediatric dentist or visit the emergency room. If your child has an open oral wound, for a long period of time they can be susceptible to infection.
If your child has a toothache which persists for more than 24 hours, contact our office. Persistent toothaches can indicate more serious problems that need to be observed by a dental professional.
X-rays are valuable aids to help dentists diagnose and treat conditions that cannot be visibly seen. X-Rays can detect much more than cavities. X-Rays can show erupting teeth, diagnose bone diseases, measure the damage of an injury, or help with planning of orthodontic treatment. If dental problems are found and treated early, dental care is more comfortable for your child and more affordable for you.
Dental X-Rays are very safe and the amount of radiation from dental X-Rays is very small. Today’s equipment filters out unnecessary x-rays and restricts the x-ray beam to the area of interest. Dental X-Rays are designed to limit the body’s exposure. Pediatric dentists are very careful to minimize the exposure of their patients to radiation. In fact, dental radiographs represent a far smaller risk than an undetected and untreated dental problem.
Orthodontic Treatment can be recognized as early as 2-3 years of age. Often, preventative steps can be taken to help reduce the need for major orthodontic treatment later on.
From ages 2 to 6, the main concern would be habits such as finger or thumb sucking. underdeveloped dental arches, and early loss of primary teeth.
From ages 6 to 12, treatment options deal with jaw and dental alignment problems. This is a great time to start treatment, as your child’s hard and soft tissues are usually very responsive to orthodontic or orthopedic forces.
If your child shows signs of disturbed sleep including long pauses in breathing, tossing and turning in the bed, chronic mouth breathing during sleep, night sweats (owing to increased effort to breathe) this may be an indication of sleep apnea. This is far more common than parents realize and is most seen in children between 2 and 8 years old, although it can present itself at any age.
If your child is suffering from these symptoms, we can help determine underlying causes and may refer your child to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor for further evaluation. While there is a possibility that affected children will “grow out of” their sleep disorders, the evidence is steadily growing that untreated pediatric sleep apnea can affect attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, bed-wetting, sleep-walking, and even failure to thrive.
Arlington Pediatric Dentistry offers several options to treat our patients who have difficulty relaxing and feeling comfortable while in the dental chair.
Our primary tool is the use of nitrous oxide or laughing gas. This is a safe and effective sedative agent that is inhaled through a small mask that fits over the child’s nose. We have had great success with this tool and many years of experience in its use. Nitrous oxide does put the child to sleep which makes it a very safe and effective form of sedation for pediatric patients. The effects of nitrous oxide are temporary and wear off soon after the mask is removed – another plus for this treatment.
More complex treatments may require deeper sedation to relieve both pain and anxiety. On occasion we recommend general anesthesia which we perform outside of our office.
Yes. Silver diamine fluoride (SDF) is a liquid substance used to stop or arrest the spread and growth of cavities in children. SDF allows the pediatric dentist to delay treatment in young children until the patient reaches an age when he or she can cope with the dental treatment.
Bruxism is more commonly known as teeth-grinding, and a surprising number of children suffer from it – around 3 in 10. Teeth-grinding usually occurs while children are asleep, and it can become a dental problem if left unchecked. Regular teeth-grinding can wear down tooth enamel, reinforce improper bite patterns, and leave teeth more susceptible to cavities and decay. Bruxism can cause headaches, earaches, facial pain and bite and jaw problems.
Most children outgrow bruxism by the time they lose their baby teeth. If not, your dentist may indicate use of a mouth guard by your child.
Thumb sucking, finger sucking and pacifier use are habits common in many children. In fact, nearly one third of all children suck on their thumbs, fingers or pacifiers in their first year of life. Thumb sucking, finger sucking and pacifier use can lead to many oral developmental issues that negatively affect the development of the mouth. These habits can cause problems with the proper alignment of teeth and can even affect the roof of the mouth.
Boredom, anxiety, anger, hunger, or even sadness can all cause children to suck on their fingers for comfort. Children mostly suck on their fingers for comfort from an uncomfortable emotional state or stressful situation.
If your child hasn’t stopped sucking their fingers by age 5, then you must wean them from the habit so that they can develop a healthy young smile. By 5 years of age, your child’s mouth will be rapidly developing and thumb sucking, finger sucking or pacifier use can interfere with that process.
While it can be common for children to breathe through their mouths on occasion (when they are congested, have a cold or are involved in strenuous activity) breathing through the mouth all the time, including when they are sleeping, can lead to problems.
If your child is suffering from these symptoms, we can help determine underlying causes and may refer your child to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor for further evaluation. Mouth breathing in children can cause bad breath, crooked teeth, jaw alignment issues, and other orthodontic problems.
To prevent cavities, we suggest enjoying a mouth-healthy diet, full of fibrous fruits and vegetables. Drink more water, which prevents dry mouth and naturally cleans teeth. Brush twice a day for two minutes at a time, and floss daily. Visit your dentist every six months for routine checkups and preventative care.
It’s never too early to begin a healthy oral care routine. In fact, you should begin caring for your child’s gums long before their first tooth emerges, which is usually around the six-month mark of their life. Healthy gums are an important predicator of healthy teeth, and maintaining clean gums will help ensure that your child has healthy, cavity-free baby teeth.
You can clean your infant’s gums – or their first teeth – by simply using a cold, clean washcloth. Simply rinse a clean, soft washcloth with cool water and wring it out. After your child has finished eating, or drinking a sugary drink, use the damp washcloth to gently wipe out their mouth. This will remove any sugar or acid that’s left by their food, and help prevent early cavities.
Once your child has a few more baby teeth – usually between 8 and 12 months – then you can graduate from a washcloth to a toothbrush designed for toddlers. There are a lot of toothbrushes designed for babies and toddlers from which to choose. Generally speaking, toothbrushes designed for babies have much softer bristles and a smaller head than those meant for older children.
Use only a smear of toothpaste – about the size of a grain of rice – to brush their teeth. When they’ve gotten older and have more teeth, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Always be sure to rinse their mouth out with cool water after you’re done brushing, and try to keep them from swallowing any toothpaste.
Flossing is also important for baby teeth. Flossing helps remove the plaque and food that can become lodged between teeth. Be sure to floss your child’s teeth daily.
Children should eat a variety of foods including grains, fruits, protein, vegetables, and low-fat dairy. Raw vegetables like carrots, celery and bell peppers are excellent snacking alternatives to unhealthy chips and crackers.
Starchy carbs like potato chips and crackers can stick to teeth which can lead to cavities. Fibrous vegetables like celery can actually clean your children’s teeth as they eat them! That is also true of fibrous fruits like apples, strawberries and kiwi. So choose raw fruits and vegetables instead of chips, they are better for your overall health, and they won’t stick to your teeth like starchy carbs and sugars.
Dental sealants work to prevent cavities by sealing pits and fissures that naturally occur in molars. Sealants “seal off” the pit and fissure of molars to prevent food and plaque from collecting and forming cavities.
Fluoride is considered to be nature’s own cavity fighter. Fluoride is naturally found in all sources of water such as lakes, rivers and even the ocean. Fluoride is added to most public water supplies, so the tap water in your home has fluoride added to it. Fluoride helps build tooth enamel which helps protect your teeth from tooth decay.
For more than half a century, the ADA has recommended using toothpaste containing fluoride to prevent cavities. Fluoridated toothpaste does an excellent job of cleaning teeth, but make sure that your child spits all of it out and rinses their mouth thoroughly after brushing.
Xylitol has the sweet benefits of traditional sugar, but it doesn’t have the negative effects on teeth like sugar. The natural sugar alcohol, Xylitol, actually helps prevent cavities by inhibiting the growth of bacteria that causes cavities. You can find natural xylitol in some fruits and berries. Xylitol can most often be found in gums and mints.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recognizes the benefits of xylitol for the oral health of infants, children, adolescents, and persons with special health care needs.
Did you know that sports drinks can contain more sugar than leading cola beverages, with as much as 19 grams of sugar per serving? The sugars increase the acidity in your mouth which attracts tooth enamel destroying bacteria. Sugar increases the acidity in your mouth which helps give bad oral bacteria the fuel it needs to create cavities.
In short have your child avoid sports drinks whenever possible and substitute natural juices without added sugar.
Mouth guards – sometimes called mouth protectors – work by helping cushion a blow to the face, and minimizing the risk of broken teeth, or lacerating a lip, tongue or cheek. Did you know that the CDC estimates that more than 3 million teeth are knocked out at youth sporting events? Mouth guards work to prevent tooth loss and other facial injuries. Mouth guards come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and are designed for multiple sports.
Contact us about custom mouth protectors.