Big Hero 6

If you saw the Disney movie Big Hero 6 then you know its only a matter of time before robots may be guiding our children through anxious medical and dental treatments.  We already utilize technology in the dental office in the form of cartoons and movies as distraction.  A new robot has been designed specifically to help children manage pain and painful medical treatments.

robot

Dr. Tanya Beran, Chief Scientific Officer for RxRobots™ and Professor in Community Health
Sciences at the Cumming School of Medicine,
University of Calgary observed an experiment of a teenage boy interacting with a robot. Not only did he show empathy, but he also tried to help the robot.
Not knowing why and with little in the research to explain this behavior, she started her own. Dr. Beran was shocked to find that children tend to think that robots are alive.
While working in hospitals, Dr. Beran was alarmed to see children screaming, struggling, and pleading not to have a needle. She realized these procedures need to be easier, faster, and far less painful.

“MEDi will become an essential part of the dental team of every dental office”

Results from a randomized trial, published in the June 2013 issue of the Vaccine journal, showed that MEDi helped calm children and reduce their pain by 50 percent during medical procedures, such as vaccinations, using cognitive-behavioral intervention. Comparable results are now being gathered by a dental office in New Jersey.

The dental team has been utilizing MEDi for about five months now and reports overall positive experiences. MEDi is constantly in the active mode allowing children to interact with him immediately and continually upon entering the dental operatory. MEDi distracts the children, reducing their initial anxiety and fear. They listen to the MEDi’s instructions, which allows the rest of the dental team to move forward faster and more seamlessly with their work with a more compliant patient.

 

 

 

 

 

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Baby Tooth Care

Baby_teeth“Why do I have to bring my baby to the dentist if he barely has any teeth?”

You bring your healthy infant to the pediatrician multiple times in the first year, but less than 1% of infants see a dentist by the recommended age of 1.  An infant dental screening is about giving parents the correct information on how to care for baby teeth.  Much of the information on baby tooth care found in baby books, the internet and even from the pediatricians is out-dated or incorrect!  Cavities are preventable, but prevention needs to start early with the eruption of the first tooth.  Putting off proper care until a child is 3 or 4 years old is too late, but early prevention can last a lifetime.

At the infant oral screening exam we will cover not only tooth brushing, but also growth & development, medical complications affecting teeth (like ear infections or asthma), feeding issues, dietary practices, speech, trauma, vitamins, toothpaste, and so on.  The mouth requires proper cleaning from the very beginning – its no different than cleaning the rest of the baby’s body!

Did you know that cavities on baby teeth don’t hurt?

If you are waiting for your child to “be ready” to see the dentist, stop waiting!  We make the dentist office fun and care for each child uniquely.  Don’t allow your own fears to stand in your way, most parents are very surprised how much fun children have at the dentist these days. If you are waiting for your child to complain of a toothache – it won’t happen!  Baby teeth do not have the same complex nerve signals that adult teeth do. Unfortunately cavities in baby teeth grow silently and are usually very large by the time they are seen with your eyes.  By the time a child complains of a toothache, its usually too late to save the tooth and it likely needs to be extracted.

Few Children receive Dental Care before Recommended Age of 1 Year:

Research shows that children most susceptible to dental cavities are very unlikely to receive early dental care. The study surveyed 2505 children aged 4 and found that 39% had never visited a dentist. Less than 1% of healthy children visited dental clinics by recommended age of 1 year and less than 2% of them by 2 years of age. The study further found that never being to a dental office was associated with few factors such as younger age, poor economic condition of the family, prolonged bottle feeding, and daily consumption of sweetened drinks such as juice.

Can’t find a dentist who treats infants and toddlers?

Pediatric dentists are specialists devoting to treating children, especially those with complex medical needs.  This extra training requires years beyond dental school and multiple examinations.  You can find a Board-Certified pediatric dentist at ABPD.org.  We are happy to see your child at any age.  Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

See you soon~

 

Drink Up!

Winter weather may have you drinking less water, but its crucial to good health to drink up.

water

Here in New York City, the amount of fluoride in our water is adjusted along with the seasons.  Parents of my New Jersey patients are often shocked to learn that Jersey City (and much of the state of NJ) is a non-fluoridated community.  That means your child may be missing out on the valuable benefits of tap water on both the baby teeth that you can see and the permanent teeth that are forming under the gums.

Water, water, water…….its the most important drink you give to your child.   Keep in mind,  most bottled water doesn’t contain fluoride, is expensive, and is bad for the environment.  Don’t like the taste of tap water?   Buy a Britta filter to keep tap water ice cold in the fridge without filtering out the fluoride!  Infants under 12 months old may drink water from a baby bottle.  Toddlers and children should be encouraged to use a straw cup or an uncovered cup after their 1st birthday.   Only put water in a sippy cup, straw cup or baby bottle.  Sweetened liquids (including milk) should only placed be in an uncovered cup after 1 year old.  On the go?  Have your child pick out a water bottle to take along or decorate a plain bottle with stickers.

 Please let me know if you have questions on quality and quantity of water necessary for your child.

Communities save $38 in dental expenses for every $1 spent to  fluoridate public drinking water!!

Shark Teeth!

Does your child have shark teeth? (Ectopic eruption)

If your child’s permanent teeth are erupting behind the baby teeth, your child has shark teeth!  Don’t worry, this is a common occurrence and we can help.  If the baby teeth are extremely loose, you can let nature take its course and allow the baby teeth to fall out in a few weeks.

However, once the permanent teeth have erupted 25% (see picture), no amount of wiggling will get those baby teeth out.  It is important to remove the baby teeth as they are an obstacle to the proper growth pattern.

shark teeth

Why did my child’s teeth come in like this?

Ectopic teeth can be caused by genetic factors such as having a narrow jaw, crowded teeth or teeth that are too large for the jaw size.  Other times, it is simply result of where the permanent teeth started developing.

What will happen if I don’t have the baby teeth removed?

The sooner the baby teeth are removed, the quicker the permanent teeth can move into the right spot.  A delay in removing the baby teeth could create a loss of jaw space and create more complex orthodontic (braces) problems in the future.

How quickly will the permanent teeth move in the right spot?

Nature is truly amazing, and the permanent teeth will start moving immediately after the obstacle is out of the way.  Pressure applied naturally from the tongue will guide the new teeth into the right spot within a few weeks.

Will it hurt to take out the baby teeth?

Dr. Gretchen is a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist.   Most children are surprised at the end of the appointment to learn that teeth are out and ready for delivery to the tooth fairy!  Children sense parent fear, so it is important not to worry your children with words like needles or shots.  We encourage you to sit with your child, and we’ll take care of the explanations!