Common Pediatric Dental Emergencies | Washington DC Pediatric Dentist

In some cases, dental problems cannot wait until normal office hours to be resolved. Fillings that have broken or teeth that have been damaged are common reasons for emergency treatment. A toothache or an abscess may also require prompt medical attention. Your pediatric dentist can provide you with the information and treatment that you need to prevent the problem from becoming worse. While emergency dental care is usually just a phone call away, avoiding the need is always best. 

  • Abscess
  • Abscesses are bacterial infections that cause swelling and pain around the affected tooth and gum. In some cases, antibiotics are not necessary, but it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Leaving an infection untreated can lead to serious complications.
  • Toothache
  • For a number of reasons, it is possible to develop a sudden toothache. It is possible that a piece of food is stuck between your teeth and gum line, which is causing the pain. Rinsing your mouth with warm water is one of the first steps you can take. To dislodge the particles, you may also try gently flossing the area. Flossing should be stopped if bleeding occurs.
  • A toothache may be caused by a cavity in the tooth or by a fracture in the tooth. It is also possible to experience tooth pain as a result of sensitivity to heat or cold. A minor problem should be addressed as soon as possible in order to prevent it from becoming more serious. If you are experiencing pain prior to your visit, we may recommend acetaminophen or another pain reliever.
  • Here are some additional tips and treatments:
  • When you have fractured a tooth, rinse the area with warm water to keep the surfaces clean. To reduce swelling, apply a cold compress to the outside of your face.
  • It is important to keep a tooth that has been knocked out moist in a clean container until you can receive treatment.
  • Aspirin should not be applied directly to damaged teeth or gums as it can cause irritation.
  • Visit an emergency room if you suspect your jaw has been broken.
  • If you have bitten or damaged your lips or tongue, warm water should be used to rinse your mouth. Call us or seek medical attention immediately if the bleeding persists.

If your child has a dental emergency, our pediatric dentist in Washington DC is available to assist you. Regular dental visits twice a year for preventive care will help your children avoid the need for emergency treatment. To schedule your child’s next appointment, please contact our Washington DC Pediatric Dentist.

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

How to Handle Your Child’s Fear of the Dentist | Washington DC Pediatric Dentist

As a parent, you want your child’s dental visit to be a positive experience. Perhaps your child has been to the dentist before and had a bad experience. You may wonder how your toddler can survive a dental exam if he or she won’t even let you near their mouth with a toothbrush. Perhaps you have your own fears about the dentist, and now your preteen is showing those same anxieties.

Even though it may be tempting to skip your child’s next dental appointment, as a parent, you are aware of the importance of routine dental care. You can help ease your child’s fear of the dentist’s chair by following these tips.

1. Choosing the Right Dentist

In the case of an anxious child, finding a dentist who is experienced in working with children can make all the difference in the world. Therefore, we always recommend a board-certified pediatric dentist.

Pediatric dentists are specially trained to ease the fears of anxious children, to explain dental procedures in a non-scary way, and to work quickly (but thoroughly).

2. Adopt a calm, positive attitude.

No matter how old your child is, he or she can often sense what you’re feeling. Your child will likely pick up on your nervousness before his or her dentist appointment (or your own).

If you have had a negative experience with the dentist in the past, try to put those emotions aside. Use positive language while being honest with your child about what to expect. The goal of a dentist is not to cause pain but to relieve any pain and restore and protect a patient’s oral health in the long run.

You should never threaten your children with a trip to the dentist if they are not practicing good oral hygiene at home. Dental visits should never be viewed as punishment.

3. Practice good oral hygiene at home.

Make sure you model good oral hygiene at home. You should demonstrate to your child how you brush and floss. Consider bringing your child to your own dentist appointment just to observe.

If your children are very young, play the role of a dentist with them. If your children are good patients, you can reward them with stickers for taking turns being the dentist.

4. Make certain that the atmosphere is enjoyable.

You should choose a dental office that has a fun atmosphere that will engage your children and make them feel comfortable. You can rest assured that your child will be entertained during their visit to our pediatric dental office.

5. Dental sedation may be an option to consider.

It may be appropriate to consider dental sedation for children who are extremely anxious.

Laughing gas, also known as nitrous oxide, is a very safe sedative that allows children who are mildly nervous to feel calm while remaining awake.

An alternative option to nitrous oxide may be oral conscious sedation or general anesthesia if the dental treatment is extensive and the child cannot tolerate the treatment with repeated nitrous oxide treatments.

In order to find the best treatment option for the child, our pediatric dentist works closely with parents in order to inform them of all available options.

Kids can sometimes be nervous about going to the dentist, especially if they don’t know what to expect. We are here to make your child’s next visit to the dentist an enjoyable experience! Our pediatric dental office specializes in treating the unique needs of children. As a result of our team’s extensive experience, we are able to keep children calm, happy, and comfortable during their visits. Contact us today to schedule your child’s next appointment.

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

Is My Child Ready for Flossing? | Washington DC Pediatric Dentist

There is no doubt that flossing plays an instrumental role in maintaining good oral health. So, how do you know when your child is ready to start?Take a look at these flossing best practices to ensure a lifetime of healthy smiles.

What is the best age for your child to start flossing?

The best time to begin flossing is between the ages of two and six, when the teeth begin to fit closely and two teeth touch. Try slipping a strand of dental floss between two teeth if you are unsure. When it sticks, you know the teeth are touching, and you’re ready to begin.

What are the benefits of flossing at such an early age?

Even though your child’s baby teeth will eventually fall out, maintaining their health is essential. This is because they are responsible for ensuring that the adult teeth are healthy when they emerge. As permanent teeth erupt, baby teeth hold the space needed for them to emerge and serve as guides. Additionally, they play an important role in the development of the jaws and muscles.

A baby tooth lost too early can cause the surrounding teeth to shift into the gap, resulting in crooked permanent teeth requiring orthodontic treatment later. By keeping your child’s teeth healthy, he or she will be able to chew with ease, which ensures they will get the proper nutrition. It will also help your child with speech development and ensure that they have a beautiful, healthy smile.

What are the benefits of flossing for your child’s oral health?

The purpose of flossing is to remove bacteria and debris from those hard-to-reach areas between your child’s teeth. Plaque accumulation can lead to gum disease and tooth decay if not addressed. You should keep in mind that flossing is not a substitute for brushing. Maintaining a healthy smile requires both. When you help your child develop proper oral hygiene practices at an early age, they are more likely to continue to take good care of their teeth and gums throughout their lives.

Flossing Your Child’s Teeth

Children need help flossing until about second or third grade, when they’re able to do it on their own. You should gently slide the floss between your child’s teeth and avoid snapping it down on the gum line. The piece of floss should be curved around each tooth and manipulated gently up and down the sides. Each time you move from one tooth to another, use a clean section of floss.

You can contact our trusted pediatric dental team to learn more about caring for your child’s oral health. Our team is committed to helping your child establish healthy oral health habits right from the start to lay the groundwork for a lifetime of healthy smiles. We look forward to caring for your child’s dental needs. Contact our pediatric dental office today to schedule an appointment.

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

Avoiding Common Pediatric Dental Problems | Pediatric Dentist in 20003

Keeping your child’s teeth healthy goes beyond brushing them regularly. While regular brushing and flossing are essential for a healthy mouth, there are some common pediatric dental problems that brushing alone can not solve. You can take steps to make sure that your child’s teeth are healthy and strong so that your next visit to the pediatric dentist is a breeze. If your child has any of these common dental problems, ask your pediatric dentist about preventative measures. 

Use fluoride to strengthen weakened enamel.

Enamel is the hard, protective layer that covers healthy teeth. Tooth enamel protects teeth from bacteria and acids that cause tooth decay, and it also prevents sensitivity to temperature and sweetness.

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that prevents tooth decay. Fluoride hardens the enamel of growing teeth in children whose teeth aren’t fully developed. Additionally, fluoride contributes to the hardening of enamel on adult teeth, which have already emerged.

There are a variety of fluoride treatment options available to your child, including fluoride toothpastes, mouth rinses, and professional fluoride applications. The topical treatments help to strengthen the enamel of existing teeth.

Fluoride treatments are an excellent way to prevent tooth decay and other common pediatric dental problems.

Remove any plaque or tartar buildup.

You should not substitute regular brushing for professional cleanings, even if your child is a pro at brushing their teeth. Plaque and tartar buildup can’t be removed by regular brushing alone, so dental cleanings can help prevent common pediatric dental problems like cavities or more serious issues like abscessed teeth.

Prevent cavities with a healthy diet.

Cavities caused by tooth decay are a common pediatric dental problem. If your child consumes the wrong foods, their diet can play a major role in causing tooth decay. Parents should take note of what foods can cause tooth problems and try to cut them out of children’s diets.

When it comes to tooth decay, sugar is the number one culprit, so limit your child’s sugar intake wherever you can. Sugar becomes a food source for bacteria when it gets on your child’s teeth. Sugar is converted into acids by bacteria, leading to decay and cavities in the teeth.

Sticky, sugary foods, such as fruit snacks and dried fruit, should be avoided. Sugars from these foods stick to teeth, giving bacteria plenty of time to feed on them. You should also avoid starchy snacks made from refined carbohydrates. As these starches break down, they form a sticky, sugary paste that bacteria feed on.

Brushing and flossing after eating can reduce your child’s risk of tooth decay and the need for dental treatment in the future.

Dental sealants prevent tooth decay.

Around the age of six, your child’s permanent teeth begin to emerge. There are various pits and fissures on the surface of these adult teeth, which provide a breeding ground for bacteria that cause cavities. Children often struggle to brush well enough to clean out the crevices in their teeth, making cavities incredibly common.

Dental sealants are plastic-like coatings that cover your child’s chewing surfaces. Specifically, they work best on teeth with large chewing surfaces, such as molars. When applied to your child’s permanent teeth, dental sealants prevent food from getting stuck in the crevices and thereby help prevent tooth decay. It is impossible for saliva, bacteria, and food particles to penetrate dental sealants.

When properly cared for, dental sealants can last for up to ten years. All the while, they will be diligently working to prevent common pediatric dental problems and to ensure that your child’s teeth remain in good health.

Regular dental checkups are one of the best ways to prevent common pediatric dental problems. Our pediatric dentist will examine their teeth to ensure that there are no early signs of tooth decay or other problems. To schedule an appointment, please contact our pediatric dental office.

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

Why Baby Teeth Are Actually More Important Than You Might Think | Washington DC Pediatric Dentist

While most people know that baby teeth are temporary, many do not realize how important they are for the health and development of your child. Baby teeth act as placeholders for permanent teeth, and they also help your child learn to speak and chew properly. Additionally, baby teeth help your child’s jaw develop properly and can impact the alignment of permanent teeth.

For all of these reasons, it is important to take care of your child’s baby teeth and to see a dentist regularly. You should also make sure to teach your child good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing and flossing, so that their teeth will be healthy and strong.

The functions of baby teeth

Most people are aware that baby teeth eventually fall out to be replaced by adult teeth. However, few people know the important role that baby teeth play in the proper development of the mouth and jaw. Although they are temporary, baby teeth are essential for future oral health.

Baby teeth are important for a number of reasons. They help the mouth develop properly, they aid in speech development, and they promote proper chewing and eating habits. Baby teeth also hold space in the jaw for adult teeth, which helps prevent crowding and misalignment of the teeth.

So, although baby teeth eventually fall out, they serve a vital purpose during early childhood development.

The link between baby teeth and adult teeth

You may have heard the old wives’ tale that if you take good care of your baby teeth, your adult teeth will be strong and healthy. But is there any truth to this claim?

It turns out that there is a link between baby teeth and adult teeth. Baby teeth act as placeholders for adult teeth, and if baby teeth are lost too early, it can affect the alignment of adult teeth. Additionally, baby teeth help to form the jawbone, which provides support for adult teeth. Therefore, it’s important to take care of baby teeth so that adult teeth can be healthy and strong.

Why is good oral hygiene important for baby teeth?

Good oral hygiene is important for baby teeth for several reasons. 

  • First, baby teeth are important for the proper development of adult teeth. If baby teeth are not properly cared for, they can become infected and cause problems for the adult teeth as they come in. 
  • Second, baby teeth are important for proper development of the jaw and for proper speech development. If baby teeth are not cared for, it can cause problems with the alignment of the adult teeth and with speech development. 
  • Finally, baby teeth are important for aesthetics. Baby teeth that are not cared for can become discolored and can cause problems with the appearance of the child’s smile.

All of these reasons underscore the importance of taking care of baby teeth and teaching children good oral hygiene habits from an early age. Proper oral hygiene includes brushing twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush, flossing once a day, and eating a balanced diet.

Baby teeth are just as important as adult teeth. They not only help guide adult teeth into their proper positions, but they also play an important role in a child’s development. If you have any concerns about your child’s teeth, please contact Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry to schedule an appointment with our Pediatric dentist in Washington DC.

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

Healthy Dietary Choices For Your Child’s Oral Health | Washington DC Pediatric Dentist

Our children’s oral health can be affected by many factors. Among these factors are their DNA, brushing and flossing habits, dental visits, diet, breathing, and other habits. As our children grow their diets and eating habits evolve. Let’s explore healthy dietary choices to keep in mind when making those new meal plans. 

Foods and beverages to include 


  • Apples- We know they are helpful for our overall health but did you know that due to their texture they help remove plaque from teeth and the gumline?
  • Broccoli and leafy greens- During pregnancy women are told to pack on the folic acid for their baby’s development. These foods continue to provide folic acid for healthy teeth and gums.
  • Carrots- For decades we have been taught that carrots are beneficial for our eyesight but they contain high levels of vitamin A which contributes to strong enamel. 
  • Celery- When eating raw celery the strings that we sometimes find annoying actually act as a natural string of floss and contain plenty of water to aid in rinsing away food debris.
  • Eggs- Eggs are packed with health benefits and are lesser known for contributing to healthy tooth enamel because of their high levels of phosphorous.
  • Greek yogurt and yogurt- Greek yogurt and yogurt are valuable sources of probiotics to maintain good oral bacteria and protein and calcium for healthy teeth. 


  • Milk- We have always been taught that milk builds strong bones but it also builds strong teeth with its healthy amounts of calcium and phosphorus.  
  • Water- Drinking water aids in removing sugar and food debris from your child’s mouth to help in preventing tooth decay.
  • Water with fluoride- Fluoride is effective for the prevention of tooth decay when consumed in proper amounts. Check with your local water services to learn if your drinking water contains fluoride. If not, you can purchase water with added fluoride in the infants section of your grocery store. If you are using a baby formula it is recommended to verify you are using one with added fluoride.

Foods and beverages to reduce or avoid 

  • Acidic foods and beverages- It is necessary for your child to have a healthy intake of fruits. These fruits contain high acidic content that is damaging to tooth enamel and requires your child to brush and floss after eating. Sodas are not only packed with sugars, but they also have high acidity levels and should be avoided.
  • Carbohydrates- Carbohydrates convert into sugar which is the leading cause of diet-related tooth decay.  
  • Chewy or sticky candy- All candy should be eaten in moderation. These types of candy are especially bad for teeth since they are not easily rinsed from teeth. After eating chewy or sticky treats, your child should thoroughly brush and floss their teeth. 
  • Chewy vitamins- Since most parents don’t categorize gummy and chewy vitamins as candy they tend to slip past the radar when it comes to protecting children’s teeth. 
  • Sugary foods and beverages- Be aware of the hidden sugars. Sports drinks can contain more sugar than some sodas. 

While some factors of our children’s oral health are out of our hands, making wise dietary decisions for our children is not. Above we have explored why some healthy dietary options are key to building and maintaining strong teeth for our children. We also explored why we need to avoid or at least limit other dietary options. Developing healthy diet choices, a proper at-home oral hygiene routine, and visiting your child’s pediatric dentist routinely are decision factors that are in our hands. To learn more about how you and your child can develop and maintain healthy dietary choices contact Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry to schedule an appointment with our Washington DC pediatric dentist

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

Building Your Baby’s Smile On a Healthy Foundation | Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry

Did you know that your parents’ oral hygiene routine for you as an infant or the habits you had as a small child could have had an effect on your smile even as an adult? Here, we will discover ways you can give your child a healthy foundation for their smile by creating healthy habits.   

  1. Nighttime feeding 

Before your infant even has any teeth, use a clean, warm, damp cloth or finger brush to cleanse your infant’s tongue and gums after each feeding. Once your little one has their first tooth erupting it is especially important to wipe clean their tongue, gums, and teeth after a nighttime feeding. This is because the sugary film of unswallowed breast milk or formula compromises the enamel and increases the probability of decay. 

  1. Weaning from nighttime feeding 

When your infant is 6 months old they can begin learning to sleep through the night without feedings, this is commonly referred to as night weaning. By this age, they are probably eating higher amounts of solid foods thus reducing their need for breast milk or formula throughout the night. As your infant night weans, and you provide them with enough solid food before they drift off into dreamland, they may still be awoken during the night, but usually for another reason.   

  1. Prolonged thumb sucking & pacifier use

Avoiding the use of a pacifier altogether takes yet another weaning off the list. If you find you must use a pacifier or your baby sucks their thumb it is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry to wean them of this by their third birthday. The face, jaw, and tooth positions of your child are developing, and prolonged thumb sucking or pacifier use can cause speech issues and improper mouth and facial development. It is imperative to wean your child from thumbsucking and pacifier use as early as possible.

  1. Sugary and acidic foods or drinks

Sugary and acidic foods and drinks such as fruits, fruit juices, sodas, sports drinks, and carbohydrates cause bacteria growth in your child’s mouth. This bacteria is what damages the tooth’s enamel and leads to decay. The healthiest option is to avoid the unnecessary use of as many sugary and acidic foods and drinks as possible. The fact remains that a healthy amount of fruit is essential to a well-balanced diet, which is why brushing after eating fruits or drinking fruit juices is a must.

  1. Dental visits

When your infant gets their first tooth the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that you schedule their initial visit with a pediatric dentist. Introducing your infant to a pediatric dentist and maintaining their regular dental appointments will start familiarizing them with the atmosphere, the dental professionals, and what to expect. The dental professionals within a pediatric dental practice are uniquely equipped and trained to care for infants and young children. 

Maintaining a regular oral hygiene routine at home is a great way to instill a lifelong oral hygiene routine in your child. Pediatric dental professionals can monitor your routine and offer suggestions on your infant’s oral needs as they grow. Contact our office to schedule your infant’s initial visit with our pediatric dentist and we can provide you with more information about creating a healthy oral hygiene foundation. 

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

Hypodontia…Your Child’s Missing Teeth Should Not Be a Problem | Children’s Dentistry in Washington DC 2003

When children lose their baby teeth, it’s a rite of passage, but what happens when a permanent tooth doesn’t develop? A condition known as hypodontia is fairly common and treatable. When your child’s pediatric dentist mentions that your child is missing a tooth or teeth, you probably want to know what it means for his or her smile.

What is hypodontia?

The term “hypodontia,” also known as “tooth agenesis,” refers to a congenital condition where an individual is born without teeth. Depending on which teeth are missing, a child may experience instability in the surrounding teeth, malocclusion, insufficient bone growth, difficulties chewing, and articulation issues. The child’s self-esteem may also suffer if the missing tooth or teeth affect their smile.

Missing primary teeth can often indicate missing permanent teeth, but hypodontia typically refers to missing adult teeth. Third molars, also known as wisdom teeth, are the most commonly missing teeth. Females are more likely than males to be born with congenitally missing teeth, but approximately 20% of adults are missing one or more teeth.

Hypodontia: How is it diagnosed?

Your child’s pediatric dentist will be able to determine if your child is missing any teeth. A child’s X-rays will usually reveal gaps where permanent teeth should be, even if his or her mouth is still full of primary teeth. 

What Are the Causes of Hypodontia?

Congenitally missing teeth, in general, are caused by a trait inherited from the parents and usually affect one or two teeth. Some genetic conditions or early exposure to infections, trauma, or drugs have also been linked to hypodontia.

When a child is missing more than two teeth, they should be evaluated for a condition known as ectodermal dysplasia. The condition is rare but can result in several missing teeth, and existing teeth may be misshapen with a cone-like appearance. Symptoms may not be noticeable until a child’s teeth have formed. Ectodermal dysplasia can also affect the hair, nails, skin, and glands.

Treatment Options For Hypodontia

Since hypodontia can cause long-term problems, it’s important to have your child evaluated by a dentist to determine if treatment is necessary. Depending on the number and location of missing teeth, there are several ways to treat hypodontia. 

  • In addition to closing gaps, braces can give your child’s teeth stability.
  • Partial bridges can replace missing teeth and provide stability to the surrounding teeth.
  • When several teeth are missing or misshapen, alternative tooth replacement may be necessary.
  • Missing teeth can be replaced with dental implants.
  • Children with misshapen teeth due to ectodermal dysplasia may benefit from dental crowns in some cases.

If your child doesn’t have wisdom teeth, they are unlikely to need treatment. Considering many people need their third molars extracted, your child may be able to avoid some discomfort if they don’t have those teeth!

Our pediatric dental office wants your child to have a healthy smile that will last a lifetime. We invite you to schedule an appointment if you’re concerned about your child’s oral health.

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

Concerned About White Spots on Your Child’s Teeth? Pediatric Dentist 20003

Have you noticed white spots on your child’s teeth? Numerous factors can lead to white spots or discoloration on the teeth. Among these are illnesses and infections, vitamin deficiencies, excessive fluoride, and even trauma to the teeth. In many instances, these white spots are not harmful to their teeth, but they can make your child feel self-conscious. Our pediatric dentist can examine any white spots or discoloration on your child’s teeth to determine how best to improve their appearance.

Demineralization or decalcification

Demineralization, or decalcification, is the result of excessive and long-term bacterial buildup in the mouth. The bacteria attack the enamel, causing it to deteriorate. When the enamel wears away, white or brown spots may appear on the teeth. This type of discoloration can lead to cavities, so your child’s pediatric dentist will need to check their teeth at each dental appointment.

Enamel that is demineralizing or decalcifying is typically monitored. Other than brushing and flossing more frequently, if there is no decay present, no treatment is required. Children should brush their teeth twice a day and floss once a day to prevent excess bacteria buildup. Should a cavity form in the discolored area, restoring the tooth will be recommended. 

Enamel Hypoplasia

Teeth can develop white or brown spots as a result of enamel hypoplasia. The symptoms usually appear in childhood, but they can also appear in adults. Numerous factors contribute to this condition, including inadequate nutrition, high fevers from illness, smoking during pregnancy, and premature birth. Some medications and trauma to the teeth can also cause enamel hypoplasia. Children with enamel hypoplasia are at an increased risk of decay in areas with white spots, so it is recommended to carefully watch those areas.

Treatment options

Unless enamel hypoplasia is causing areas of tooth decay, it does not need to be treated. For children who are self-conscious about their appearance, teeth whitening, microabrasion, which involves removing a thin layer of discolored enamel, and veneers, which are thin wafers bonded over the affected teeth, can help reduce the visibility of the spots.


Fluorosis is common in children, but if left untreated, it may still be visible in adulthood. Fluorosis is caused by excessive fluoride exposure. Fluoride strengthens teeth, but too much of it can cause white, brown, or yellow spots. Most commonly, this occurs when fluoride is ingested from fluoridated water, fluoride-containing vitamin supplements, and toothpaste.

Fluorosis Treatment

Treatment options for fluorosis are similar to those for enamel hypoplasia, which include microabrasion, bleaching if the stains are yellow or brown, or having a porcelain veneer adhered to the surface of the tooth to hide the staining and discoloration.

Our pediatric dentist can examine your child’s teeth to determine the cause of tooth discoloration and recommend a treatment plan. Your child may only require a dental cleaning if their teeth are simply stained. In some situations, we may be able to improve the appearance of your child’s smile with teeth whitening, microabrasion, and, in some situations, porcelain veneers if they have fluorosis or enamel hypoplasia. If your child has decalcified areas on their tooth enamel, our pediatric dentist can suggest ways to improve their at-home oral hygiene routine and monitor the areas for signs of tooth decay.

Please contact our pediatric dental office to schedule an appointment.

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

Don’t Wait to Treat Your Child’s Abscessed Tooth | Pediatric Dentist in Washington DC

Children may complain of a toothache, a bad taste in their mouth, or a bump on their gums. These symptoms may indicate that your child has an abscessed tooth. An abscessed tooth is a dental emergency, but fortunately, it is completely treatable and preventable.

What is an abscessed tooth?

An abscessed tooth occurs when the dental pulp and its surrounding tissues become infected. When tooth decay is left untreated, bacteria can spread to the inside and outside of the tooth, which can result in an abscess. If it occurs in small children, it should be treated right away because their immune systems have not yet fully developed, which can make it difficult to fight the infection. An abscessed tooth can become very dangerous if left untreated, as the bacterial infection can spread to the jaw, head, or throughout the body, causing an illness called sepsis that can be deadly.

Signs and symptoms:

Some children may not feel any discomfort, but a dental abscess can be extremely painful for others, with visible symptoms such as swelling and redness, as well as a fever. There may also be swelling around the neck or jaw. Additionally, parents may notice darkening or discoloration of infected teeth or bad breath in their children. The gums may also develop a white pimple-like nodule, or lymph nodes may swell. 

During times when children are not eating or drinking anything, they may complain of throbbing pain, difficulty chewing in that area, pus draining from the area, and a bad or bitter taste in their mouths. Symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing or swallowing, as well as new sensitivity to hot or cold foods, are less common. When children have abscessed teeth, their appetite may be diminished, eventually resulting in weight loss.

Diagnosing an abscessed tooth 

Infections that reach the pulp chamber of the tooth, which contains nerves and blood vessels, are called abscesses. As pus (white blood cells, bacteria, and tissue debris) accumulates, it spreads throughout the surrounding area.

Often, we can tell if a child has an abscessed tooth just by looking at it. Other times, an x-ray may be necessary to determine if the child has an abscessed tooth. Using x-rays, we can see areas not visible to the naked eye and find out if your child has an abscessed tooth. They also allow us to determine the extent of the abscess. Our pediatric dentist can use digital radiography, which exposes children to less radiation than conventional radiography.

How does an abscessed tooth develop?

An abscessed tooth is most commonly caused by an untreated cavity, although other dental problems can also cause an abscessed tooth. In addition to poor dental hygiene, a high intake of sugary snacks and/or beverages, and trauma to the tooth as a result of injury (which can chip the enamel or cause other damage) can all lead to an abscess in a child’s tooth. The inner pulp of the tooth, which consists of blood vessels, tissues, and nerves, can become infected if it is cracked or if it is affected by gum disease.

Pediatric dental care for abscessed teeth

Once diagnosed, an abscess on a baby tooth will be handled differently than one on a permanent tooth. 

Extraction of the tooth and drainage of the abscess is likely to be necessary for baby teeth. Some pediatric dentists may offer pulp and crown therapy, also called pulpectomy, pulpotomy, nerve treatment, pulp therapy, or “baby root canal therapy.” By treating the nerve, you can save the tooth and preserve its nerve structure. After this treatment is completed, a restorative crown is placed on the tooth to hold it in place until the permanent tooth emerges. Treatment depends on the severity of the abscess. In severe cases, the tooth may need to be removed.

To save permanent teeth, root canal therapy and a crown are usually required, followed by antibiotics to kill the infection. When dental infections are potentially life-threatening, surgical treatment may be recommended.

What can be done to prevent an abscessed tooth?

Since untreated cavities are the main cause of abscessed teeth, proper oral hygiene is essential to prevent them. Parents should encourage their children to follow oral hygiene regimens.

This regimen usually involves:

  • Brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste (Note: Parents should replace old toothbrushes with new ones every 3-4 months). 
  • flossing daily
  • Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet that includes less sugar and healthier sweet foods
  • Sugary snacks, between-meal snacks, juice, and sugary drinks should only be consumed on special occasions.
  • Replace sugary snacks with raw vegetables, fresh fruits, nuts, or seeds.
  • Be sure to visit your pediatric dentist for a six-month checkup, along with any recommended cleanings, x-rays, and other exams and treatments. If your child’s dentist notices a cavity, make sure you keep the appointment so the cavity can be repaired right away.

After discussing the basics of abscessed teeth, you should have a better idea of what causes them and how they are diagnosed, as well as prevention and treatment options. Please contact our pediatric dental office to schedule an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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