Dental Fluorosis 

  
One of the many types of common tooth discoloration is Dental Fluorosis.  Dental Fluorosis is a developmental distrurbance of dental enamel caused by excessive exposure to high concentrations of fluoride during tooth development.  These changes are most prone to occur in children between 20 and 30 months of age.  The critical period of exposure is between 1 and 4 years old.  Dental Fluorosis occurs when a child ingest too much fluoride.  Be certain that your child can fully spit out their toothpaste before introducing fluoride toothpaste .  When a child swallows fluoride toothpaste at a young age it can affect their permanent teeth that are forming.  The affects of fluorosis are strictly cosmetic.   The teeth are actually stronger because of the extra fluoride, however fluorosis can cause severe stain throughout the teeth.  

How to treat Dental Fluorosis?

Dental fluorosis can be cosmetically treated by a dentist.  Tooth bleaching, microabrasion, or a conservative composite restoration are commonly used treatements.  Typically bleaching and microabrasion are used for superficial staining, where constructive restorations are used for more unaesthetic situations.  Be aware that this treatment can cause severe tooth sensitivitiy, so it is recommended that you wait untill teenage years to do treatment. 


Visiting your dentist every 6 months to have a dental exam, have debris removed, and a fluoride treatment applied.  Dental hygiene is very important! Simply removing bacteria daily will significantly bring your decay risk factors down.  Brush twice a day and floss once a day. Use fluoride toothpaste around the age of 4 years old, when your child is able to spit toothpaste without swallowing it.  Fluoride make childs teeth less disolvable in acid.  Beware of frequent snacking.   Also, assure proper fluoride through drinking water (city water contains fluoride, while well water does not).  You may want to start a reward chart/sticker chart to make caring for your teeth a postitive reinforcement.  If you are already brushing twice a day and flossing but still have a high decay rate, you may want to add a fluoride rinse once per day.      

 



The average child doesn't loose all their baby teeth untill 10 to 12 years old.  The baby teeth are important space maintainers for the permanent teeth, so we need to keep the baby teeth healthy untill the permanent teeth errupt.  A cavity (infection) in a baby tooth will contiue to grow untill it is treated and it can be painfull.  It is important to remove the decay present in a child mouth in order to prevent the spread of more disease (tooth decay).  Also, it is important to maintain a healthy environment for the permanent teeth to develop.   

What causes tooth decay?  Sugar doesn't cause tooth decay.  You can put a tooth in a bowl of sugar or breast milk for years and the tooth will not decay.  Acid need to be present in order for tooth decay to occur along with sugar.  The acid is produced when the sugars in foods or drinks react with bacteria present on the tooth surface.  The acid production leads to the loss of calcium from the enamel causing deminralization which is the begining process of tooth decay.  Keeping your mouth clean by brushing twice and flossing once daily your risks of tooth decay will go down significantly.   

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Frequent snacking can contribute to your child's tooth decay.  Avoid snacking throughout the day.  Try to encourage your child to have 3 meals and 2 snacks per day.  Pick healthy tooth-friendly snacks like cheese, blueberries, whole wheat cereal, vegtables, almounds, or yogurt.  It is ok to have sweets sometimes, just not every day.   

Tooth Friendly Snacks

At Dakota Children's Dentistry we have state of the art equipment to makes dental treatment as gentle as possible.  When Dr. Glenn numbs a tooth before placing a filling, we use "the Wand" that delivers the lidocaine so slowly and precisely that your child doesn't realize they are getting an injection  Patient comfort is one of our top priorities and we are always striving to achive great kid friendly care. 

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At Dakota Children's Dentistry our gentle approach is effective for children that are frightened or have dental axiety.  We allow parents to come back with their child so they feel more secure and comfortable. 
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We take time to explain how the procedure will go, we refer to this as "tell, show, do."   This helps reassure the child that nothing bad is going to happen.  It is our goal to help make everything as easy and fun as possible.   
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We feel it is important to give choices.  We let children pick their toothpaste and fluoride flavors. This helps engage the child with our procedures.  Our goal is to provide you and your children with comfort to reassure a postitive dental experience and to treat each patient with respect for their individual concerns and needs. 
 


Most children start using a fluoride toothpaste around 4-5 years old.  Fluoride is an important preventative measure that helps make our teeth less disolvable in acid, which ultimately means less decay.  It is important for your child to use fluoride free toothpaste untill they can fully spit it out.  If fluoride toothpaste is swallowed frequently, your child could develop dental fluorosis.  Dental Fluorosis can permanently discolor the adult teeth, but is strictly cosmentic.  

thumbsuck
Children typically start sucking their thumb when they are a baby, sometimes before they are born.  As your child gets older they suck their thumb when they are bored, tired, or anxious.  Many children stop sucking their thumb on their own between 2-4 year old. 
Open bite
When a child continues to suck their thumb after the age of 4-5 year old, they may start to develope an open bite.  An open bite is when the child is unable to bite their front teeth together.  At this time we recommend wearing a sock on the child's hand at night as a reminder not to suck their thumb.  Sometimes the sock doesn't work.  If your child is ready to quit, we would recommend a thumb appliance.  Also, help your child understand that sucking their thumb is moving their teeth into the wrong place and it is important to stop.

If your child starts to develope an open bite we may recommend a thumb appliance.  A thumb appliance simply reminds the child not to suck their thumb and make it less satisfying because they can't get the same suction with the extra plastic piece attached.   

tetracycline staining due to stain removing main types of bacterial

The most common stain we see on baby teeth is black line stain.  Black line stain is harmless and strickly cosmetic.  Black line stain can be removed at your child's dental cleanings.  Patients that have black line stain tend to have less cavities, because their saliva is less acidic.  Using an electric toothbrush will help remove the stain at home.  

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