5 Ways to Get Your Child to Care for Their Teeth | Pediatric Dentist Washington DC

For some parents, it can be challenging to get kids to practice at-home oral care unsupervised. However, the long-term benefits of an early start are worth the effort. Here are some tips to help you make oral health a fun part of your kid’s daily routine.

1. Let Them Choose Their Own Supplies

Let your child pick out their own toothbrush. This will help them take ownership in their oral care routine. There are many toothpaste options for children, too. Let them choose their own with guidance from you and our pediatric dentist.

2. Go High-Tech

Use technology to your advantage: Have them choose an app that prompts them to brush for two minutes to music or a video.

3. Brush and Floss Together

Your child will be much more excited about routine care if it’s framed as a group activity. Brush your teeth next to your child. If you have more than one child, have them brush together, ideally with you. A family routine makes the time more enjoyable and helps your child accept oral hygiene as a normal part of life.

4. Educate and Empower

It’s important that your child understands why practicing good oral hygiene is so important. Without using undue scare tactics, teach them about the consequences of neglecting oral health. We, as your pediatric dentist in 20003, can also show them the best ways to brush and floss and we strive to make every dental visit enjoyable.

5. Reward Good Behavior

A little incentive can go a long way. When trying to coax a child to floss and brush on their own, it might be helpful to implement a simple reward system. For example, your child could track their own brushing on a calendar or reward app and trade in a good week for a prize or privilege.

There are a number of strategies you can use to make brushing a fun part of your child’s day, rather than a chore to be endured. You know your child better than anyone, so feel free to experiment and share them with us so we can pass them along to other parents.

Regular professional cleanings and examinations are essential to an effective oral hygiene routine. Contact our pediatric dental team to schedule your child’s next appointment at our pediatric dental office in Washington, DC.

Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry
Phone: (202) 849-3292
650 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20003

The Best Age to Get Braces | Washington DC Pediatric Dentist

Braces can help create a straight, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime. Ideally, any corrections to the bite, jaw, or mouth structure should be performed during adolescence while the mouth is still forming. Here is what you need to know before your child begins treatment with braces.

Does My Child Need Braces?

You might be wondering if your child is a good candidate for orthodontics, and that is a decision made in partnership with your dentist. Braces are primarily used to correct improper bites. If you child has an overbite or underbite, braces may be recommended along with another orthodontic appliance to gently shift jaw position. Additionally, braces are used to correct gaps between teeth as well as teeth that are growing in at a crooked angle.

The Importance of Starting Early

Braces are more effective in younger patients because the jaw structure is still malleable. According to the American Dental Association, the majority of orthodontic treatment cases typically begin between the ages of 8 and 14. Your child’s particular course of treatment is going to be dependent on a number of factors including mouth structure and the progress of erupting adult teeth.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic examination at about age 7. At that age, most primary teeth have erupted and issues such as overcrowding and an uneven bite will be apparent. This, of course, does not mean your child will get braces right away. Our pediatric dentist in 20003 can provide referrals for this type of examination. 

Braces Can Improve Your Child’s Life

It may be difficult for a kid to imagine an extended period of time without being able to eat sticky, gummy foods or chew bubblegum; however, for the right candidate, orthodontics provides many benefits to overall health and well-being. By straightening teeth and closing gaps, your child’s gum health will be improved. Braces can prevent dental complications later in life such as the need for more advanced corrective procedures. Your child’s confidence will also be boosted once they see the results of a straight, beautiful smile.

We invite you and your child to discuss the benefits of having braces with our doctor. During your appointment, we will provide a complete examination and make a recommendation for a treatment plan that will work best for your child.

Our caring, professional team can schedule your child’s appointment at our pediatric dental office in Washington, DC as soon as you get in touch.

Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry
Phone: (202) 849-3292
650 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20003

7 Experiences Every Child Should Have Before Age 7 | Pediatric Dentist in Washington DC

As you have probably come to realize, children grow up quickly — sometimes too quickly. Make sure you savor each precious moment by giving them the gift of shared experiences. These should be meaningful but do not need to be elaborate.

Here are seven things our dental team in Washington, DC suggests doing with your child before they reach age 7.

  1. Read Together Every Night

Reading with your child before bedtime – or any time – is a great way to bond over a fun story. A reading habit will also help your child learn and improve their reading skills, not to mention ignite their imagination.

  1. Make Art Together

Art projects are always a fun family activity. Do a finger painting, draw your outlines on a long piece of butcher block paper and create life-size likenesses. Your child’s art masterpieces will be a lasting memory of the time you shared together.

  1. Watch the Clouds

When the weather turns nice, enjoy a lazy afternoon outside looking up at the sky. What does your child see in the clouds? Encourage their imagination.

  1. Teach Your Child About Honesty

Childhood provides an important time for instilling good habits and a sense of morality in our children. One of the most important lessons you can teach your child is to always be honest.

  1. Experience Snow

Do you live in a cold climate where it snows in the winter? Embrace the snow and go sledding or build a snowman. If you live where it is warm, make sure your child experiences the magic of a fresh winter snow at least once before they grow up.

  1. Create Family Traditions

Create fun traditions that will transcend time. Your child might be too young to recall a single event, but a yearly occurrence is sure to provide a fun memory when your child grows up. Celebrate half-birthdays or start new traditions with a surprise on Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day. Think small, take photos and create a homemade scrapbook.

  1. Bring Your Child in for an Orthodontic Evaluation

It is important for your child to have an orthodontic evaluation by the time they reach 7. By this age, most children will begin to grow their incisors and molars. The jaw is also still at an age where it can be formed and shaped.

As a parent, you can provide your child with a smile that will last through the years. Treasure each moment you share together, and the smiles that go with them.

If you have any questions about orthodontic treatment, or would like to schedule your next visit to our office, please contact our dental office in Washington, DC.

Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry
Phone: (202) 849-3292
650 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20003

When Should a Child’s Baby Teeth Be Removed? | 20003 Pediatric Dentist

An inevitable part of a child’s growth is that time when primary teeth, commonly known as baby teeth, fall out and adult teeth come in. For many children, primary teeth loosen and fall out on their own, but every child is different.

When you bring your child in for an orthodontic evaluation, we take the development of primary teeth into consideration. Here are some things to remember about your child’s teeth.

Is My Childs’ Tooth Development on Track?

Many parents come to us concerned that their child’s primary teeth have not yet fallen out. Remember that each child’s mouth is going to be unique. Typically, your child will lose their first tooth between ages 6 and 8. This usually continues through ages 10 to 13, when the last of their primary teeth are pushed out by the permanent teeth. Many children experience a break between ages 8 and 10, so don’t be alarmed if your child hasn’t lost any teeth for a while.

Reasons to Remove Primary Teeth

Crowding is an issue when a permanent tooth begins to grow next to a baby tooth. We usually recommend removal in this instance, but it is important to note that this does not solve the issue of crowding. Sometimes, palate expansion is a solution for overcrowded teeth.

Our office uses x-rays and scans to keep track of your child’s dental development. These are valuable resources in determining whether tooth extraction is advisable.

 When to Wait

Sometimes, the best course of action is to wait it out. Your child’s baby teeth have an important function in holding the required space needed for permanent teeth to come in. With it comes to missing teeth, our pediatric dentist in 20003 will decide if the space in between needs to be closed. Keeping teeth in place is also good for keeping gums healthy.

What This Means for Orthodontic Treatment

We start any examination with a careful examination of your child’s teeth. We look at how many they have lost and what teeth still must come in. Your child might lose teeth at a slower pace, and this usually is not cause for concern. However, as children reach age 12 and older, we might consider removing baby teeth when planning orthodontic treatment.

If your child is getting their second molars and has yet to lose some of their baby teeth, we might consider extraction. Rest assured we will keep a careful watch, knowing fast-developing young mouths should be examined regularly.

For more information about tooth development, orthodontics and oral care for children, please contact our pediatric dental office in Washington, DC.

Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry
Phone: (202) 849-3292
650 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20003

How to Help Sick Kids Maintain a Healthy Mouth | Pediatric Dentist Near Me

When your child has a fever, cough or other sickness, it is natural to concentrate on the issue at hand, not worry about oral health at that moment. However, keeping their mouths clean can be even more important during illness. Here are helpful tips for keeping your child’s mouth healthy when they are sick.

Continue Brushing and Flossing

Daily use of a toothbrush and dental floss helps prevent buildup of harmful germs and bacteria in your child’s mouth. A clean mouth helps keep their immune system stay focused on fighting the cold, flu, or whatever ailment is keeping them in bed. If your child’s illness includes vomiting, their teeth are exposed to acids that can weaken teeth. Help them rinse thoroughly and brush their teeth to avoid damage.

Watch Out for Sugary Medicines

There may be truth to the song lyrics, “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down,” but it’s not helpful advice when it comes to children’s teeth. Some cough drops and syrups contain high amounts of sugar to improve medicinal flavor. The downside is they can leave sugary residue on the teeth. Look for sugar-free options when possible and have your child rinse well after taking any medicine formulated with sugar.

Keep Your Child Hydrated

A sick child needs plenty of water to stay hydrated, soothe a sore throat, and keep sinuses moist. In addition, dry mouth can occur during illness and increase risk of tooth decay. Drinking water helps combat both dry mouth and congestion.

Disinfect Dental Appliances

If your child has a dental appliance, such as a night guard, retainer, or athletic mouth guard, be sure it is cleaned thoroughly between uses. Contact our office for information on the type of cleanser that is appropriate for your child’s device.

Keep Toothbrush Clean

When your child is well again, replace their toothbrush. Even a clean toothbrush may retain some bacteria or germs following use. To help protect your child from reinfection, discard the used toothbrush in favor of a new one, and disinfect it in between with mouthwash or hydrogen peroxide. Be sure to rinse it thoroughly after disinfecting.

Should You Keep a Dental Appointment?

Yes, your child can go to our pediatric dentist in 20003 if they are recovering from sickness, but there are exceptions. If your child has severe congestion, it will be too difficult and possibly distressing to keep their mouth open for an examination. If your child is vomiting, has a fever, or is contagious, it is better to stay home and reschedule the appointment.

For more tips on keeping teeth healthy through an illness, contact our pediatric dental office in Washington, DC.

Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry
Phone: (202) 849-3292
650 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20003

What are the Different Tooth Development Stages? | Children’s Dentist in Washington DC

Seeing a child’s first tooth erupt provokes mixed emotions in parents. That cute gummy smile will soon give way to a child’s smile. It can be frustrating when teething pain makes babies irritable, yet it is exciting to witness this human milestone. Understanding the different tooth development stages can help you set your child up for a lifetime of good oral health.

Birth to 3 Years Old

Although they eventually fall out, primary teeth, commonly called baby teeth, play an extremely important role in the different tooth development stages. They hold space in the jaws for the upcoming permanent teeth. Baby teeth begin appearing at about six months of age, almost always starting with the lower central (front) incisors. Primary teeth not only enable your child to chew solid foods; they are important for proper speaking and appearance.

3 to 6 Years Old

By the time your child is 3 years old, they will most likely have all 20 of their primary teeth. This is a critical time for oral health. You should demonstrate proper technique and help your child brush their teeth twice a day, and floss daily.

6 to 12 Years Old

Between the ages of 6 and 12 years old, your child will gradually lose all their primary teeth and their first permanent (adult) teeth will move into place. Permanent teeth affect the position and health of the other adult teeth that will grow in later.

12 to 17 Years Old

After the age of 12, your child will likely have most of their adult teeth. Oral hygiene and health becomes critical because these are the teeth they will have for the rest of their life. Stress the importance of avoiding excess sugar, which can lead to tooth decay. If your kid plays sports, insist they wear a mouth guard to protect tooth trauma. If your child appears to have crooked teeth or an odd bite, visit us so we can evaluate them for braces.

17 to 21 Years Old

The last teeth to appear are wisdom teeth. Often, our pediatric dentist in 20003 recommends that these teeth be removed to prevent overcrowding which can lead to many oral health problems later in life.

Teeth are constantly changing throughout childhood. How you take care of your child’s teeth at different tooth development stages impacts their future oral health. Contact our pediatric dental office in Washington, DC today to schedule your child’s first appointment. Their smile is important; let us partner with you to protect it.

Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry
Phone: (202) 849-3292
650 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20003

Do Pacifiers Hurt Tooth Development? | Washington DC Pediatric Dentist

Since 1900, pacifiers have been one of the most common ways to soothe fussy babies, but they can be a difficult habit to break as children get older. Excessive use can cause improper mouth development, which leads to abnormal tooth growth and additional complications later in life. Here is what you need to know about whether pacifiers hurt tooth development and impact a baby’s smile.

How Pacifiers Affect Teeth

Pacifiers, also called pacis, binkies and dummies, can influence the shape and alignment of a baby’s teeth and jaw. Used excessively and for a long period, they can push the front teeth forward, leading to crooked teeth or overbite. Pacifier use can also change the shape of the roof of the mouth. Using it after the age of six months can lead to a higher risk of otitis media, a common and painful type of ear infection. 

Benefits of Pacifiers

While they may contribute to oral health complications, pacifiers do offer several benefits. The sucking action itself is calming to babies, teaching them to self-soothe and relax. Pacifiers can relieve pain during minor procedures like immunizations and heel sticks, as well as relieve ear pressure during flights. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), pacifier use at night may lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in babies one to six months of age.

Use Pacifiers in Moderation

The AAP and American Academy of Family Physicians recommend weaning babies from pacifier use at around six months of age. Research shows prolonged use after two years, and definitely after age four, has the most adverse effect on teeth.

Up to 85 percent of children in the western world use a pacifier at some point, and most do not suffer dental problems as a result. Breaking the habit of pacifier use should begin after six months. The process should be gradual to avoid distressing your child. Talk to our office about the many ways you can wean your baby off of the binky. By following our tips and recommendations, your child can experience the calming effect of pacifiers without developing pacifier teeth.

We also recommend that you visit our office for an examination as soon as your child’s first tooth erupts so we can monitor tooth development. It is never too early to start good dental habits in a child’s life. Call and schedule your child’s next appointment with our team in Washington, DC today.

Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry
Phone: (202) 849-3292
650 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20003

Having Fun With Oral Hygiene | 20003 Pediatric Dentist

It’s not easy to get your child to practice good oral hygiene on their own. They need your help, and it’s worth the time and patience. Good dental care at a young age reaps long-term benefits. Here are a few ways to make daily oral hygiene more exciting for your kids.

1. Let Them Accessorize

When your child gets to pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste, they’ll feel like they’re in control of their own oral care. Children like to make their own decisions, and this is a harmless one that will get them excited.

2. Reward Good Behavior

Incentivizing your child can have a huge effect on their motivation to brush daily. Try setting up a reward system based on how often they brush each month. Keep track of their daily brushing and consider giving them a small prize on good months.

3. Brush Together

Brushing and flossing can be more exciting for your kids when you do it as a family. By brushing with someone else, your kids will better understand the necessity of daily hygiene while feeling more relaxed.

4. Teach as You Go

Educate little ones about proper brushing and flossing techniques so that they can develop a solid understanding of oral hygiene. Make sure that they understand the long term benefits of good oral health.

Try to make daily brushing a fun part of their day rather than a chore that they dread. You know your child better than anyone, so make sure to do what you can to help them practice good oral hygiene for years to come.

Contact our kid-friendly team in Washington, DC today to schedule an appointment for your child and learn more about making oral hygiene into a fun activity.

Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry
Phone: (202) 849-3292
650 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20003

Is My Child Ready for Braces? | Pediatric Dentist in Washington

Braces are perfect for achieving straight, healthy smiles that last a lifetime. Braces tend to be most effective while the patient is young and their mouth structure is still forming. If you think your child is ready for braces, here are a few things to help you make informed decisions.

What’s the Point of Braces?

Braces are used to correct teeth that are growing in a crooked position and to compensate for gaps between teeth. In addition, if your child’s teeth are causing an overbite or underbite, braces are an effective way to correct those conditions.

Benefits of Braces at a Young Age

While orthodontics can benefit the right patient at nearly any age, they tend to be more effective in younger patients because the jaw structure is still malleable. The American Dental Association (ADA), found that a majority of orthodontic treatment cases typically begin between the ages of 8 and 14. While starting at a young age helps, the quality of treatment will depend on many factors.

Braces Will Change Your Life

Your child may be unhappy that they’ll have to avoid sticky foods like bubblegum for a while, but you can help them to see how braces will provide countless benefits to their long term oral health. Not only will straighter teeth improve your child’s gum health, they can also prevent dental complications later in life. By getting braces when your dentist recommends, kids can possibly avoid more advanced corrective procedures in the future. Once your child sees their straight, beautiful smile, they’ll understand why it was worth it.

Contact our office in Washinton, DC to discuss the benefits of using braces to help your child’s smile. During your appointment, our team will provide your child with an examination and recommend a treatment plan that will work best for them.

Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry
Phone: (202) 849-3292
650 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20003

Baby Teeth: Should They Be Removed? | Pediatric Dentist Near Me

The development of your child’s mouth is an important part in their overall growth, and part of the transition is the loss of primary (baby) teeth. For most children, these first teeth will loosen and fall out on their own; however, this is not always the case. Our doctor will evaluate your child’s mouth to ensure they are on track to developing a healthy smile.

Is My Child’s Primary Teeth Loss on Track?

It’s not uncommon to wonder if your child’s oral health is on track with their overall development. According to the Mayo Clinic, a child’s 20 primary teeth typically begin to loosen and fall out around the age of 6. This usually continues until age 12, when most children lose their primary second molars. However, this can vary. Some kids can lose their first tooth at age 4 or 7. 

When Will My Child’s Primary Teeth Need to Be Removed?

Our doctor will examine all of your child’s teeth to determine how many they have lost and how many adult teeth still need to come in. Every child is different, but if their primary teeth have still not fallen out when they reach their teenage years, our doctor may recommend removing those teeth in preparation for orthodontic treatment. In addition, if your child is beginning to get their second molars but still have some of their first teeth, we might consider removing them at that time.

Why Would My Child’s Primary Teeth Need to Be Removed?

Crowding is an issue when a permanent tooth begins to grow next to a primary tooth. We usually recommend removal of the primary tooth in this instance. Even with removal of the primary tooth, our doctor might recommend a palatal expander as part of the treatment protocol.

Why Wouldn’t My Child’s Primary Teeth Need to Be Removed?

Every mouth is different and sometimes the best course of action is simply to wait. Your child’s primary teeth have an important job in holding the required space needed for permanent teeth to come in. With missing teeth, our doctor will decide if the space between teeth needs to be closed. Keeping teeth in place is also good for keeping the gums healthy.

Our doctor can determine if your child’s primary teeth need to be removed. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact our office in Washington, DC.

Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry
Phone: (202) 849-3292
650 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20003