Navigating the Teething Stage | Dentist Washington DC

Teething is a natural and necessary part of your child’s growth. However, knowing that doesn’t make it any easier to handle. Teething can make your baby cranky and fussy, and can be the cause of many sleepless nights. If your baby has started teething, or if you are trying to prepare for the onset of this stage, we’ve compiled some basic information that may help you. Consult with our 20003 pediatric dentist for more information about your child’s specific needs.

Is My Baby Teething?

There is a great deal of incorrect information on the subject of teething that can be found all over the internet. Understanding what you should expect can help you know when you truly need to contact a doctor or dentist for your child. Normal symptoms of teething include:

  • Irritability 
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fussiness
  • Excessive drooling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Chewing on fingers
  • Low-grade fever 

Call your doctor if your baby has high fever, rash, or diarrhea. Contact your dentist if your baby’s gums have severe swelling, redness, or bleeding.

Teething Remedies 

Soothing a distressed, teething baby can be difficult. With sore, inflamed gums, your baby may calm down with a chilled pacifier or teething ring. You may also try rubbing their gums gently with a clean finger or damp gauze. Some infant Tylenol may be appropriate in some situations. Follow the recommendations of your child’s doctor or dentist. Do not use topical pain relievers, which can be dangerous for young children. Homeopathic teething gels and tablets have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for their safety.

Caring For Newly Erupted Teeth

As soon as your baby’s first tooth emerges, dental care is needed. Gently wipe your baby’s teeth and gums with a damp washcloth at least twice a day and before bed.

Once your child has two teeth that touch, begin cleaning between teeth daily using floss or an interdental brush. Your child should have their first dental visit by age 1 or within 6 months of their first tooth erupting. Stay positive when telling your child about the dentist. We will check their teeth and ensure a comfortable, fun first visit.

If you have any questions or are concerned about your teething baby, please contact our pediatric dental office in Washington, DC to schedule an appointment.

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

Encouraging Healthy Dental Habits for Teens | Pediatric Dentist in 20003

The teenage years bring with them greater independence and with that independence comes more choices to be made. Friends begin to exert a greater influence over diet and lifestyle habits than parents at this age.

Because teens still need to follow good oral health habits, follow these tips to help preserve healthy smiles during this transformative time.

Encourage Healthy Eating

Teens are always on the go, and may rely on energy drinks, fast food, and nutrition bars to get through the day. Most of these are loaded with sugar, carbs and acids, which can wreak havoc on their dental health.

●    Keep cheese sticks, fruit, and raw veggies on hand for healthy snacks

●    Stock the fridge with water, coconut water, and no-sugar teas

● Trade traditional gum and candy for those made with tooth-friendly xylitol or other sugar-free sweeteners

You can’t always make your teen follow a perfect diet, but having healthy choices at the ready can help make it easy.

Encourage Mouth guard Use

If your teenager plays football, soccer, lacrosse or another contact sport, insist that they wear a mouth guard to protect their teeth. Mouth guards can be custom fitted by our 20003 pediatric dentist or store-bought. Some fit over orthodontic braces.

A mouth protector should be rinsed after each use, disinfected regularly, and stored in a ventilated container.

Use Caution with Braces

If your teen has braces, they must exercise great oral care. Make sure to keep new toothbrushes or brush heads, plus floss, and a floss threader, handy.

Also, be mindful of what they eat: no sticky or crunchy foods and no chewing gum. For healthy prepared snacks any time, cut fruit into bite-sized pieces, add a little lemon juice or pectin to keep them longer, and store portions in sandwich bags.

Avoid Oral Piercings

The popularity of tongue and lip piercings comes and goes, but your teen should know that the metal in piercings can cause tooth damage and mouth infections. Tongue piercings, in particular, can easily chip teeth.

Tooth fractures may need filings, or, if they are deeper, require a tooth extraction or root canal.

Make Good Oral Health Easy

Reward regular brushing and proper flossing, and keep extra kits in your kid’s gym bag, the car, and in their school locker for on-the-go care. Encourage good teeth-cleaning habits after meals, or suggest swishing and rinsing until there is an opportunity to brush.

Like adults, teens need to visit their dentist at least twice a year. Adolescents and teens tend to be self-conscious; having an attractive smile and sweet breath are good motivators for proper oral hygiene.

We can work with your busy teen’s schedule, contact our pediatric dental office in Washington, DC today to schedule their next appointment.

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

Are Your Child’s Medications Affecting Their Oral Health? | Washington DC Children’s Dentist

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that about one in five children are currently taking prescription medications and more than half of them take vitamins or other dietary supplements. 

Even though they are used as prescribed, your child may experience side effects from the medication that can impact their oral health. Always let us know what medicines or supplements your child is taking and if there have been any changes since your last visit. 

There are some really common side effects from medications that can impact your child’s oral health, read below as we detail some of them and what you can do to help mitigate their impact:

Dry Mouth

Many medications, especially decongestants and some antibiotics, can temporarily reduce saliva production. A dry mouth is more likely to develop inflammation and infection, tooth decay, and other oral health problems. Drinking more water, chewing sugar-free gum, and eating crunchy foods like produce can help stimulate saliva production and keep the mouth moisturized.

Fungal Infection

Oral Candidiasis, a fungal infection that can affect children who use inhalers for breathing conditions like asthma (these include clotrimazole – Mycelex and fluconazole Diflucan). If your child uses an inhaler regularly, encourage them to rinse their mouth thoroughly with water after each use.

Abnormal Bleeding

Thinning of the blood and a reduction in clotting might accompany the use of some medications. As you can imagine, this might cause problems with excessive bleeding during any oral surgery or treatments for periodontal disease. Be sure to keep your pediatric dentist in 20003 informed if your child is taking any medications or supplements before scheduling any treatment.

Gum Overgrowth

Drug-induced gingival hyperplasia, or gum overgrowth caused by mediation, is rare in children. It is associated with taking the anticonvulsant phenytoin, the antibiotic cyclosporine, and nifedipine, which is used to control blood pressure in kids who have undergone liver transplants. 

Soft Tissue Reactions

Inflammation, oral sores, or discoloration of the soft tissues can occur as a side effect of some medications. We may be able to prescribe a special oral hygiene regimen that can alleviate their discomfort if your child experiences any of these reactions.

Tooth Decay

While tooth decay is not necessarily a direct side effect of medication, several types of medicine use sugar to improve their flavor, especially those in liquid, chewable, or lozenge form. When taken over a period of time, the sugars left on the teeth can make the development of tooth decay more likely. Choose sugar-free medications; take the medication with meals, if possible; or have your child rinse with water after medicating and wait 30 minutes before brushing.

If your child is experiencing any of these side effects, or if you have questions about any medications your child is taking, contact our pediatric dental office in Washington, DC today and schedule a consultation.

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

How Safe are Dental X-Rays for Children? | Washington DC Pediatric Dentist

X-rays, or radiographs, offer valuable information that can’t be seen with the naked eye. They can detect jaw and tooth abnormalities, tooth decay, and they offer a snapshot of one’s dental history.

For your child, they can show incoming teeth that may pose a problem in the future and help avoid expensive treatment later. 

A dental x-ray is one of the safest imaging procedures available with the American Dental Association (ADA) noting that exposure from dental x-rays “represent a minor contribution to the total exposure from all sources, including natural and man-made.”

For children, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends the lowest exposure possible, and to always weigh healthcare needs against risks, however small. Here is what our pediatric dentist in 20003 needs you to know about getting dental x-rays for children.

 Why Does Your Child Need Dental X-Rays?

X-ray imaging allows our team to prevent problems by addressing the cause early. Rather than waiting for excessive tooth damage to become visible, a radiograph can identify it before it becomes painful.

It can also show the development of wisdom teeth, tooth crowding, genetically missing teeth, bite problems (malocclusion) and more.  

What are the Risks of X-Ray Radiation?

Excessive radiation exposure has been linked to increased cancer risk, but not all radiation sources are the same.

It matters greatly where the radiation is coming from, how much a person is exposed to, and for what length of time. X-rays have not been shown to present a significant increase in cancer development when used responsibly.

Comparing X-Ray Radiation Exposure Levels

When this technology was discovered in the 1890s, it took 25 minutes to get one x-ray exposure, offering dangerous doses of radiation. As you can imagine, the technology has evolved significantly since that time.

The exposure time for a modern x-ray is mere seconds and carefully aimed at the treatment area. Consider these federal government statistics:

  • It would take well over 1000 panoramic x-rays of your mouth to equal one CT scan 
  • A panoramic x-ray of your mouth is only half of the radiation you’re exposed to on a seven-hour plane ride, or two to three days of natural exposure
  • Four routine, intraoral images present about the same radiation exposure as a two hour plane ride 

New X-Ray Technology Presents Fewer Risks

New types of x-rays present an even lower radiation exposure, according to federal nuclear agencies. Digital x-rays operate much faster than traditional radiographs, shortening the exposure.

Similarly, a cone beam 3D imaging essentially takes many images simultaneously to create a comprehensive 3D model of teeth, jaw, and surrounding structures. 

We Put Your Child’s Safety First

While even traditional dental x-rays are considered safe, our dental office takes every measure possible to keep every patient safe. State regulations set exposure limits, and we will never exceed them.

Our experienced team is trained to use all of our equipment properly. Patients, and some visitors, are provided a lead shield or bib for additional protection.

What You Can Do

Communication is key. If your child is a new patient, please provide their medical records so that our team knows about any previous medical imaging.

Talk with our dentist about any concerns you have. Together we’ll ensure your child is treated in a safe environment.

The ADA and FDA agree that the benefits of x-ray technology far outweigh the risks. Our office strives to create an atmosphere where our guests feel comfortable and safe. If you have any additional questions about x-rays or other procedures, please contact our pediatric dental office in Washington, DC to schedule a consultation.

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

Should You Take Your Child to the ER for Dental Problems? | 20003 Pediatric Dentist

If you have wondered if it’s ever a good idea to take your child to the emergency room for dental care, you are not alone: The American Dental Association estimates that every 15 seconds, someone goes to the ER for a dental emergency. That’s about 2.2 million patients per year.

We understand that you want your child to receive the best possible care in the quickest manner available. Other than the most serious issues, however, you can avoid ER visits for dental care.

When You Should Visit the Emergency Room

If your child has suffered a broken jaw or experiences severe bleeding from the mouth, do not hesitate to seek emergency care. However, when it comes to severe discomfort from a toothache, broken teeth, or extensive decay, our dental office is a much better option for treatment.

Our office is staffed with a knowledgeable team that treats emergencies like these. Our pediatric dentist in Washington, DC also uses special tools that an emergency room may not be equipped with.

Why People Choose the Emergency Room Instead of the Dentist

There are several reasons parents turn to the ER for dental issues. First, when a child is in pain, any loving parent wants to ease that pain as quickly as possible. They may act out of panic.

Second, some parents may not even think to call their family dentist for an emergency visit.

Finally, some families lack dental insurance and do not realize the potentially high cost of an emergency room visit. The ER is not an inexpensive alternative to a dental office; you will likely be billed excessively for what may prove to be a non-emergency.

In addition to being a costly treatment option, emergency room wait times can also be long, so it is not a time-saver in most cases.

Our team works hard to ensure that all patients receive excellent, affordable care in the quickest way possible. If you have financial concerns, we will discuss them with you and see what type of arrangement we can help you make.

Regular Dental Visits are Your Best Defense

Many who seek dental care in the emergency room are forced to do so because they have neglected a problem for too long. Your best defense in keeping your child’s mouth healthy is through regular exams and dental cleanings in our office.

When it comes to children’s dental care, we have the knowledge and experience to best serve you. Our dentist has the necessary tools to treat young patients, even in emergency situations.

If you have questions about keeping your child’s smile healthy, please contact our pediatric dental office in Washington, DC today and schedule a consultation.

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

Protect Your Child’s Teeth With Dental Sealants | Pediatric Dentist in Washington DC

During your visit, our pediatric dentist in 20003 may suggest dental sealants for your child. Sealants are a great way to prevent your child from developing tooth decay.

Why Sealants?

Sealants are essential to preventing tooth decay. They are applied to the back teeth, in the hard to reach places where decay is most likely to take hold.


The further a tooth is in the back of the mouth, the more difficult it is to maintain its health. Sealants are usually recommended for children and teens, but they can be beneficial for adults as well.

Did you know that sealants can prevent up to 80 percent of decay within the first two years alone? Even after four years, they will continue to prevent 50 percent of decay.

On the other hand, children who don’t get sealants are three times as likely to develop tooth decay.

When Should My Child Get Them?

Once your child’s molars start developing between the ages of 6 and 12, you will definitely want to talk to our team about the best way to go about keeping these molars healthy. As soon as the molars come through, dental sealants will be most effective.

By scheduling regular exams with our dentist, we will be able to determine when the best time to apply sealants would be.

What Is Expected With Sealants?
 

First, we will regularly clean your child’s teeth, and then apply a special cleaning gel to their teeth. Next, the gel is cleaned off before the coating of sealant is applied. In seconds, a small blue light is used to harden the sealant.

There is no need to worry about pain when getting sealants, because they are actually one of the simplest and quickest treatments performed in our office.

Should I Have Any Concerns?

There are really no concerns to be had about sealants. There are no side-effects, and allergic reactions are very unlikely.

If you have concerns, be sure to discuss any allergies your child has with our doctor to be sure we are treating your child with proper and safe care.

What Are the Next Steps?
 

It is crucial to schedule regular visits to our office so our doctor can check the status of your child’s oral health. Regular exams and dental cleanings, combined with the application of our long-lasting sealants, is the best way to maintain your child’s smile.

Contact our pediatric dental office in Washington, DC today for more information on maintaining a healthy smile and to discuss any questions you might have about dental sealants.

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

What Parents Should Know About Teething | Pediatric Dentist in 20003

Teething is a natural occurrence that is necessary for the growth of your child. Although it can be difficult to handle, our pediatric dentist in 20003 has information designed to help you to prepare for this stage in your child’s life.

Common Teething Symptoms
 

There is a lot of misinformation out there about teething, so it is important to understand what exactly to expect. Knowing the correct symptoms will help you to know when you must contact a dentist or doctor for your child.

The symptoms of teething typically include irritability, trouble sleeping, fussiness, drooling excessively, loss of appetite, and chewing on fingers.

Abnormal symptoms would be if your baby has a fever, rash, diarrhea, severe gum swelling, redness, or bleeding. If your baby has any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately to make sure it is not an indication of a larger problem.

Teething Treatment

If your baby is experiencing sore or inflamed gums, it can be quite difficult to calm them down. A solution to soothe their mouth would be trying a chilled pacifier or teething ring. You can also try massaging their gums gently with a clean finger or dampened piece of gauze.

For the safety of your child, do not use topical pain relievers or homeopathic teething gels and tablets. These forms of relief have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA, which means they might be dangerous for young children.

Caring for Your Baby’s New Teeth

Dental care is needed as soon as your baby develops their first tooth. When that first tooth emerges you should gently wipe your baby’s gums with a dampened cloth at least twice a day. Also, once your child develops two teeth that touch, you should begin using floss or an interdental brush daily.

Within 6 months of developing their first tooth, your child should visit the dentist. When telling your child about the dentist, maintain a positive attitude so they feel as comfortable as possible. 

We will check your little one’s teeth and ensure a calm and comfortable first visit. If you and baby are ready, contact our pediatric dental office in Washington, DC to schedule an appointment and to learn more about early childhood tooth development.

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

Switching Your Baby from Bottles to Sippy Cups | 20003 Pediatric Dentist

Whether you breastfeed or bottle feed, at some point you will want your baby to start drinking from a cup. It is not only healthy for your child’s overall development; it is better for their teeth. 

While weaning can be a gradual process, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests putting the bottle away for good by age 18 months.

The Danger of Baby Bottles

Prolonged bottle-drinking can be harmful to your child’s oral health in two ways: First, long-term sucking can cause your child’s palate to narrow, increasing the likelihood they will require orthodontic treatment later on; second, bottles expose a baby’s teeth to sweet liquids over an extended period. Formula, cow’s milk, and juice contain sugars that increase the risk of tooth decay.

To help protect your child’s teeth, our pediatric dentist in 20003 recommends to encourage them to start drinking from a cup by their first birthday. Additionally, you should begin wiping your baby’s first teeth with a damp gauze or washcloth, graduating to a finger brush or baby toothbrush and a rice-sized smear of toothpaste.

The Best Types of Sippy Cups

Look for a cup with a simple spout rather than a “no spill” spout. Those advertised as “no spill” contain a special valve beneath the spout. While it protects against spilling, it also prevents easy sipping. Instead, these cups require your child to suck hard on the spout, essentially replacing one type of nipple with another. This can slow your child’s sippy cup training.

If spills are a concern, look for a cup with a weighted base that helps keep it upright.

Keep the Bottle to Cup Transition Gradual

Be patient as you phase out the bottle in favor of the cup. Once your child can use the cup, limit the bottle to plain water; this makes the bottle less desirable. Provide the bottle less often over time to allow your child time to adjust. Once your child has mastered training cups, start offering a small plastic cup without a lid and phase out the training cup.

Breastfeeding moms can skip the bottle phase altogether and decide how often they want to nurse in tandem with the sippy cup.

Decisions about weaning can be challenging, as every baby is different. Keep in mind, however, that everyone learns to drink from a cup eventually. For more information about bottle to cup transitions or to schedule a pediatric dental appointment for your toddler, 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

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