What do your teeth say about you?

Thank you to our guest blogger, Monica Gomez, for this blog!

Developing Good Dental Habits from an Early Age

We have greatly enjoyed developing our practice serving younger patients and those with special needs. It is exciting that so many new techniques and procedures allow us to make such a difference in the lives of our patients. In our practice, we stress the importance of good habits when it comes to great dental health and beautiful smiles.

The reality is that there is an increased social expectation for people today to have great smiles and healthy teeth. Starting good dental habits from an early age will have lifelong positive effects in children. The following infographic compiled by Carrington.edu illustrates some of the reasons why proper dental hygiene is so important.

dental-care-chartMore Than Pretty Smiles

Your dental health, and that of your children, is a very important factor in your overall physical health. In fact, the Mayo Clinic stresses just how important regular dental visits are as a part of your child’s preventative health program.

The information outlined by the infographic shows us that at least 51 million school hours are invested in the dental needs of children each year. It also shows that adults spend another 164 million hours in the dental chair annually. Dental professionals often speculate on how many of those hours could be reduced if good dental hygiene habits were instilled in more people at an early age.

Simple Steps with Important Benefits

While most people understand the importance of brushing, flossing, and regular exams, they may not full appreciate how their drinking and eating habits can affect their smile. The infographic, for example, shows how certain foods and beverages can rob you of that beautiful smile.

Proven villains to a brilliant smile include:

  • Coffee
  • Colas
  • Wine
  • Candy
  • Berries

While you don’t need to avoid these items altogether, you can mitigate their damage on your teeth by swallowing rapidly and quickly rinsing your mouth with water. Another useful trick is using a straw whenever possible. One counterintuitive point is to avoid damage from the acids in these foods by not brushing for at least 30 to 60 minutes after eating.

When Treatment Is Necessary

The costs for ignoring these important habits can be significant. The analysis provided by Carrington shows that important dental procedures are not inexpensive. The average national costs for some of the more important treatments include:

  • Dental implants – $2,000 to $4,000
  • Veneers – $ 10,000 to $30,000
  • Braces – $5,000

We are always concerned about keeping appropriate dental care affordable. It is important to note, though, that dental procedures are an investment that generates an attractive return for a lifetime. Numerous surveys underline how important a good smile is to overall appearance and your child’s self-esteem, as well as general physical health. Develop the right dental health habits early and it will likely save a great deal of time and investment in the future.

Appointments Available

Dear Patients and Parents:

I am excited to announce that I will be seeing patients by appointment 1 weekend per month at the Tribeca location.  Check back here for updates.

Schedule:

2015

November 21, 22:  booked – no longer available

December 19, 20 – booked – no longer available

2016

January 30, 31 – booked – no longer available

March 20, 21 – tentative 

 

Appointments can be scheduled at 212-561-5303.

Looking forward to seeing you soon!

 

 

Thank you New York

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Dear Parents and Patients,

It has been my pleasure to serve as your pediatric dentist in New York.  It is with a heavy heart that I announce I am leaving the state.  I have family obligations that I need to tend to out West.  It is my hope to someday return to New York and the city that I love.  Thank you to all the families that have sent me well-wishes and photographs in the past few weeks.  I cannot properly describe my gratitude.  I will miss you dearly.  Each of you has touched my life in a special way.  Your records will be maintained in Tribeca and several new pediatric dentists have joined the team in my absence.  You may reach me at any time now or in the future:  [email protected]

Thank you,

Dr. G

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Making dentistry affordable

Many of my patients are fortunate enough to have dental insurance coverage or the ability to pay for necessary dental check-ups and treatment.  But what about the children without this option?  As the Director of Pediatric Dentistry for an inner-city hospital, I see the impact of affordable programs such as CHIP.  Keeping dental insurance affordable for families changes lives, but these programs are at risk of loosing funding.

CHIP provides affordable coverage to families

The fate of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) hangs in the balance and with it so does access to dental coverage for millions of children. As CDHP has previously reported, funding for CHIP runs out on September 30, 2015 unless Congress takes action. If CHIP funding is not extended, many families will be offered coverage through the new health insurance marketplaces, which present a number of challenges for children’s dental benefits. A new report suggests that families currently in CHIP may face dramatic increases in health costs if the program were discontinued.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, released an analysis that provides more insight into the differences in affordability between CHIP and marketplace coverage. The report, developed by Wakely Consulting Group, focuses on the actuarial value of CHIP benefits compared to marketplace qualified health plans (QHPs) across 35 states. Families would face a significant increase in cost-sharing if their children’s medical/dental coverage were moved from CHIP into a QHP today.

The analysis estimates that families’ cost-sharing could increase by up to 10 times what they pay out-of-pocket under CHIP. In fact, at this time, no CHIP program comes close to imposing the level of cost-sharing that families can experience in marketplace plans.

Marketplace insurance plans are more likely to require co-pays and other cost-sharing for dental services compared to CHIP coverage.

The report also separately analyzes how the two coverage options compare with regard to pediatric dental benefits. About 40% of the QHPs analyzed include dental coverage for children. The remaining 60% would require families to purchase pediatric dental coverage independent of their QHP — at an average of more than $30 per child, per month. The report further found that marketplace plans are more likely to require cost-sharing for dental services (copays, coinsurance and deductibles) compared to CHIP coverage, which caps child health expenses at 5% of family income.

CDHP remains committed to working with Congress to extend funding for CHIP until marketplace coverage becomes comparably affordable for low-income families. We will continue to share updates on our activities and the movement in Congress on the future of CHIP funding.

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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~

 

Anticipatory Guidance

Anticipatory  Guidance refers to all those things I speak to you and your children about at every visit.   Some topikidscs will make sense right away, like nutrition, while others may seem more obscure, like snoring!  As your child’s dentist, I have the privilege of seeing them frequently (usually every 6 months) and watching them grow.  This puts me in a unique situation to address different issues associated with your child’s growth and overall health and well-being.

Topics in your child’s exam may include:

  • feeding issues, muscle tone, drooling
  • speech, tongue thrust, lisps, articulation
  • perioral habits:  thumb/finger sucking, chewing on clothes
  • safety including helmets, seat belts, mouthguards
  • behavioral development or delays including PDD, sensory issues and motor issues
  • counsel for 504s, IEPs and navigating the NYC DOE
  • snoring, apnea, mouth breathing issues
  • growth of the jaw, jaw joint and assessment of bite
  • effects of medications (chronic or seasonal) and alternative treatment options
  • nutrition from infant through teenage years
  • pre-teen guidance, positive self-image building

Each dental exam I perform includes an assessment of your child’s growth, both mental and physical.  Assessments include reactions to lights, sounds, sensations and touch.  Early intervention is essential to your child’s successful growth and we are lucky in New York to have a vibrant early intervention community with world-renowned experts just outside our doorstep!   While it may seem to an outsider that we are simply “playing in the dental chair”, a lot of time and thought goes into each interaction I have with your child.   As the mom of a child with special needs, I also have a unique perspective on therapy, interventions and how to navigate the school system.

Don’t worry, if I have any concerns regarding your child, I will always speak to you right away.

Looking forward to seeing you and your child at their next check up!

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!

Snacks!

snacks

Each time you eat a snack containing sugar or starch (carbohydrates), the resulting acid attack on your teeth can last up to 30 minutes, and a lot of snacks and drinks contain sugar. How much sugar? A single can of pop contains up to 10 teaspoons of sugar, and if you think that natural sugar (like the sugar in juiceraisins or other dried fruit) is better for your teeth it’s not.

Sugar is sugar! Soda, juice, candy, dried fruit…….

 

Beat the Clock – foods that are eaten during a meal usually pose less of a threat to teeth because of the additional saliva produced during mealtime eating. Saliva helps to wash food particles from your mouth and lessen the damage from acid.  Grazing on snack foods like goldfish, graham crackers, and ‘fruit’ gummies means the mouth is constantly under attack.  Give your mouth a break and drink only water between meals.   Sugarless gum or mints will also return your mouth to a healthy pH.

Brush & floss those teeth – toothbrushing is important, and you should brush twice a day. Did you know that if you don’t floss, you miss cleaning up to 35% of each tooth? Kids need grown ups to help position the floss between molars.  Flossing after brushing at night will push the toothpaste into the right spot!  If you’re not sure how to floss, just ask!

SNACK SMARTER!

Stock up on Dairy Products – yogurt and cheese, milk and milk products contain things that are good for your teeth. Everything that’s made from milk is a good source of calcium – an essential nutrient for the development of bones and teeth. Some scientific studies have shown that eating cheese actually helps to protect your teeth from cavities by preventing something called demineralization (the loss of important calcium in your teeth).