Growing Smiles Specializing in Dentistry for Infants, Children and Teens Wed, 07 Feb 2018 18:03:02 +0000 en hourly 1 Dental Tips for New Parents Wed, 07 Feb 2018 18:03:02 +0000 […]]]>      On January 28th my wife Abby and I welcomed our first child Noah. We learned quickly that being a new parent is a challenge and there are so many questions to be answered. At Growing Smiles in Floral Vale, we are here to help new parents create a healthy smile that will last a  lifetime.

Oral Health Care starts at birth. Dental caries in infants is a disease that is preventable. By minimizing your newborn’s exposure to the cavity causing bacteria Mutants Steptococci (MS) you can help prevent cavities before their first tooth erupts. Babies are not born with (MS), but transmission can occur soon after birth and is typically transferred (~70%) by their mother or primary caregiver.

Ways to prevent tooth decay before their first tooth erupts1. Clean your infant’s gums after feeding:

  1. Use a moistened washcloth wrapped around an index finger, or a very soft, baby toothbrush (with little pressure) to gently massage the gum tissue of your infant.
  2.   Do not put your baby to bed with a bottle, instead use a pacifier. Pacifiers have been shown to decrease the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and as long as your child is weaned by one there is little or no adverse effects to their developing dentition.
  3.  Avoid testing the temperature of the bottle with your mouth, or cleaning a pacifier or a bottle nipple by putting it in your mouth. These practices can help stop the transmission of of (MS).
  4.  Important for mothers or caregivers  to see their dentist regularly.  Those with poor oral health  are at greater risk for infecting their children with (MS) increasing their child’s carries risk at an early age.
  5.   Visit our office within 6 months of your child’s first tooth erupting. Providing the best dental care for your child is our top priority. Children that see the dentist by their first birthday have shown to have significantly less decay than those who are seen by  three. Establishing a dental home is important and we will create a personalized dental plan for you and your child.
  Schedule an appointment with our office today, your child’s beautiful smile begins here!
Pediatric Dentist in Yardley
The Importance of Baby Teeth Fri, 12 Jan 2018 20:17:15 +0000 […]]]> Why it is necessary to treat baby (primary) teeth?
There is a common misconception that baby teeth are not important because these teeth fall out, and, as a result, treatment in these teeth can be avoided. However, treatment of baby teeth is essential for children.

Why Are Baby Teeth So Important?

Primary teeth are important for many reasons: for example, they hold the space for the permanent teeth to come in. The first baby teeth may fall out around 6 years of age, however the baby teeth in the back of the mouth, or molars, do not fall out until the ages of 12 or 13!

Prevent Future Orthodontic Problems

When a primary molar is lost early, the permanent tooth can drift into the empty space, potentially blocking other permanent teeth from coming into the mouth properly. This drifting of permanent teeth can lead to crowding and misalignment of teeth, which can result in a need for an early orthodontic consult.

why are baby teeth importantThe Consequences of Not Treating Decayed Teeth

Next, if decayed primary teeth are left untreated, it can lead to infection of the surrounding teeth, gums, tooth loss. Also, an untreated, infected baby tooth can even harm the development of the permanent tooth underneath!
In addition, the baby teeth in the front (incisors) help with your child’s speech and smile. Children that suffer from decay or lose their incisors early struggle with many issues, including speech, self esteem and social development.
Our goal at Growing Smiles in Floral Vale is to address any dental issues that may arise so your child can eat and sleep well and function well at school.
 Schedule an appointment with our office today, your child’s beautiful smile begins here!Pediatric Dentist in Yardley
Preventative Dentistry Is Our Cornerstone Mon, 23 Oct 2017 19:54:52 +0000 Why does my child grind their teeth at night? Fri, 29 Sep 2017 17:13:37 +0000 […]]]> Teeth Grinding In Children Is Common

This is one of the most common we questions we get at Growing Smiles in Floral Vale.  Tooth-grinding or bruxism is defined as “the habitual nonfunctional forceful contact between occlusal (biting surface) tooth surfaces than can occur while awake or asleep.”  According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry a study of over 800 patients under the age of 17 found that 38% of children grind their teeth.

Reasons Why Kids Grind Their Teeth

There are several reasons why children grind or clench their jaws during sleep. Typically it is a benign behavior that can occur due to the upper and lower jaws not aligning correctly or in response to a emotional stress, such as an upcoming test. Children typically grow out of this problem by age ten without causing any permanent damage to their teeth.

When to become concerned:

If grinding is accompanied by snoring, bed wetting, or poor performance in school your child maybe suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. At this point we would recommend you speaking to your pediatrician or an otolaryngologist if we suspect sleep apnea is an underlying cause of your child’s grinding.

If grinding persists into their permanent dentition, we may recommend treatment in the form of a custom-made night-guard to wear at night.

The majority of children eventually will grow out of this habit. If it concerning to you, please don’t hesitate and call us to schedule an appointment. We can conduct an examination, offer a diagnosis and recommend treatment if necessary.

Zirconia Crowns Repair Badly Broken Teeth in Kids Thu, 17 Aug 2017 17:01:42 +0000 […]]]> Dental crowns are tooth shaped coverings that are typically placed on severely decayed teeth or teeth that have fractured due to trauma. Crowns are cemented over the remaining tooth structure restoring the tooth to its original shape and function.

Zirconia crowns are particularly useful when children damage their teeth on the playground, in a sporting event or some direct trauma that chips or cracks a child’s tooth. Cosmetically, a child can be affected negatively if other children make fun of the way they smile. Also, a badly damaged tooth can lead to additional exposure to decay. So there is good reason to repair badly damaged teeth with pediatric dental crowns.

Pediatric Dental Crowns: The Process

More than likely, the dentist will need to shape the damaged or decayed tooth. This requires removing the decayed or damaged enamel and dentin until the tooth structure is small enough for the crown to fit comfortably on top. First, you need to decide what kind of material you want your child’s crown to be made out of. The most commonly used materials are stainless steel (silver appearance) or zirconia (white appearance).

Stainless steel crowns have been used for decades in pediatric dentistry and do a wonderful job of restoring function to your child’s teeth. The only complaint with stainless steel crowns are their poor esthetics.

In contrast to the poor esthetics of stainless steel, zironica crowns are great if you want to maintain the natural aesthetic of your kid’s smile.

Cosmetic Dentistry for Kids Explained

You will need to schedule two appointments for your child to see the dentist. The first visit involves the dentist taking X-rays to make sure the tooth is structurally sound to support a crown.

Depending on the behavior of the child and the amount of work needed; you and the dentist will decide on the best type of treatment for a child.

What Are the Benefits of Dental Crowns?

Crowns provide confidence to kids who would be self-conscious. They also improve speech patterns and prevent lisps or slurred speech. Crowns are also incredibly durable and most last until the time the tooth should exfoliate.

Pediatric dental crowns are a great form of cosmetic dentistry for kids. Crowns can enhance a smile while making it easier to chew and talk. Do not delay taking your youngster to our office when there is an emergency. Your child will be thankful you took an active approach to his or her dental health.

Should Xylitol be apart of your child’s daily oral health care? Mon, 10 Jul 2017 12:17:55 +0000 […]]]> Xylitol and Teeth – What The Experts Say

What is Xylitol:

Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol found in small amounts of fruits and vegetables.  It has been used as a sweetener aimed to improve oral health1. Xylitol as well as other sugar alcohols are not readily metabolized by oral bacteria, and thus are considered non-cariogenic sugar substitutes 2

How do I get Xylitol

Xylitol is available in many forms (eg, gums, mints, chewable tablets, lozenges, toothpastes, mouthwashes, cough mixtures, and oral wipes). The chewing process enhances the caries inhibitory effect.

xylitol and teeth, whats the truth

Do Xylitol Benefits Out Weigh The Side Effects?

The main concern with xylitol is in order to see the dental benefits, one must consume 3-8 gram each day and spread out that amount 5 times throughout the day.  At this constant level abdominal distress and diarrhea have been reported 3.

What do the studies prove:

Overall the results are inconclusive for caries reduction in short term use as well as long-term use. To consume 3-8 grams of Xylitol is unrealistic in a clinical practice 4,5.

Pediatric Dentist in Yardley

Our recommendation:

At Growing Smiles in Floral Vale, we agree with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry that Xylitol is a non-cariogenic replacement for sugar. But the lack of consistent evidence that Xylitol reduces the cavity causing bacteria in children in addition to the abdominal side effects is why we do not recommend the use of Xylitol as part of a daily oral health regimen.

Xylitol and Dogs:

Xylitol is considered safe for human consumption, it is extremely toxic to dogs. Only 0.10 g/kg of xylitol can cause issues. Thus a dog weighing about 7 pounds (3kg) can get sick from eating less than 1 piece of xylitol chewing gum.





1. Mäkinen KK. Biochemical principles of the use of xylitol in medicine and nutrition with special consideration of dental aspects. Experientia Suppl 1978;30:1-160.

2. Scheinin A, Mäkinen KK, Ylitalo K. Turku sugar studies. V. Final report on the effect of sucrose, fructose and xylitol diets on caries incidence in man. Acta Odontol Scand 1976;34(4):179-216

3.Ly KA, Milgrom P, Rothen M. Xylitol, sweeteners, and dental caries. Pediatr Dent 2006;28(2):154-63. Discussion 192-8.

4. Oscarson P, Lif Holgerson P, Sjöström I, Twetman S, Stecksén-Blicks C. Influence of a low xylitol-dose on mutans streptococci colonisation and caries development in preschool children. Eur Arch Paediatr Dent 2006; 7(3):142-7.

Stecksén-Blicks C, Holgerson PL, Twetman S. Effect of xylitol and xylitol-fluoride lozenges on approximal caries development in high caries-risk children. Int J Paediatr Dent 2008;18(3):170-7.

Kovari H, Pienihäkkinen K, Alanen P. Use of xylitol chewing gum in daycare centers: A follow-up study in Savonlinna, Finland. Acta Odontol Scand 2003;61(6):367-70.

5: Hujoel PP, Mäkinen KK, Bennett CA, et al. The optimum time to initiate habitual xylitol gum-chewing for obtaining long-term caries prevention. J Dent Res 1999; 78(3):797-803.

Why are My Child’s Teeth Coming in Yellow Mon, 06 Mar 2017 15:54:44 +0000 […]]]> This is one of the most common questions I get from parents of 6 and 7 year-olds. Even though there are multiple reasons why your child’s permanent teeth are yellow, the most common reason is the intrinsic color difference between the permanent teeth and baby teeth.

What Causes Yellow Teeth in Kids

This yellow appearance is also enhanced by the fact that they sit right next to baby teeth.   This contrast between they very white baby teeth makes the grown up teeth look even more yellow.

Primary teeth have a milky white appearance when compared to the sometimes yellowish appearance of the permanent teeth. Primary teeth have thinner enamel, less amount of dentin and dentin in primary teeth is less yellow in color.

Permanent teeth have a greater amount of dentin, which is yellow in color. Since enamel is translucent the color of the dentin shows through. When all the permanent teeth have erupted the color will blend and appear uniform.

What can be done?

Young permanent teeth have very large nerve canals when they erupt and these teeth are more transparent, leading to a yellower appearance. As we age, the canals slowly calcify and the tooth will naturally lighten. 

Bleaching Kids Teeth

As for bleaching, we advise parents to wait until all of their permanent teeth to erupt (usually 12/13). Otherwise when the new adult erupt, they will not match his bleached primary teeth.

How Thumbsucking and Pacifiers Affect Babies Teeth Mon, 16 Jan 2017 20:34:36 +0000 […]]]> The effects of thumb sucking and pacifier use.

Most parents get concerned when they see their infant or toddler sucking their thumb or using a pacifier. According to the Academy of Pediatrics almost 100% of babies will engage in nonnutritive sucking and typically begins around  the 29th week of gestation.

Nonnutritive sucking has many benefits as it helps infants in their ability to manage emotions, helps them relax and provides comfort and security. Sucking tends to occur more often when the child is tired, anxious, or upset.

It has also been cited that the use of a pacifier has been shown to decrease the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

When to worry

The dental effects of nonnutritive suckling correlate to the magnitude, frequency, and duration of the habit.  The most common effect is the movement of the central incisors resulting in an anterior open-bite as seen below. Nonnutritive sucking habits can also result in maxillary constriction, resulting in a posterior cross-bite. Dental effects are generally reversible before the age of 3

Stop Thumb Sucking Before Age 3

Ideally the habit should stop by the age of 3.  If it persists, parents may notice that the habit is interfering with their child’s speech.

Baby Pacifiers vs Thumb Sucking

Several articles showed that the use of a pacifier beyond the age of 3 has an increasingly harmful effect on the developing dentition when compared to a digit (finger). The most notable changes are an increase in the prevalence of an anterior open bite, posterior cross bite, narrow intercuspid width of the maxillary arch, and a high narrow palate. According to the most recent publication of the Journal American Dental Association, “Pacifiers were associated with a higher risk
of developing most malocclusion features when compared with digit (finger) sucking.”

For more information on thumb sucking or pacifier use, or to schedule an appointment, please contact Growing Smiles in Floral Vale at 215-860-9808 or


White Spot Lesions on Primary (baby) Teeth Mon, 07 Nov 2016 14:17:11 +0000 […]]]> White Spots on Baby Teeth Should Not Be Ignored

As you can see on the picture below, the black arrow indicates  “white spots,” which first appear as dull white bands on the smooth surface of the tooth.  While the red arrow indicates a cavity where the lesion has a progressed. White spots are often one of the firsts signs of tooth decay in children. This occurs as the result of enamel demineralization when acids from the plaque harm the tooth enamel.   Some white spot lesions are signs of active tooth decay, while other white spots have a “chalky” appearance as the tooth is not as glossy as other teeth.

White Spots on Baby Teeth

Early Signs of Tooth Decay

Children with white spot lesions are considered to be at a high risk for cavities. Don’t worry just yet, there are various ways to prevent these white spots from progressing. It is important to realize that the color will not change and it will continue to have a “chalky” appearance as long as it does not progress.

Treatment focuses on helping the affected teeth to re-calcify. The best and most effective way to re-calcify these areas is by the application of topical fluoride. Topical fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel.  This can be accomplished by cleaning your child’s teeth as soon as they erupt with a “smear” of fluoride toothpaste. This should be done twice a day, after breakfast and then right before bedtime. Additionally at each dental visit a professional application of fluoride can be applied as the use of fluoride varnish has shown to consistently reduce caries.

Typically we monitor these white spot lesions  and ensure the surface remains hard and intact. With improved brushing and flossing, as well as reducing sugar consumption and maintaining a well balanced diet, these white spots will not progress to soft brown or black spots which indicates an active cavity as id.

For more information on prevention of dental decay, or to schedule an appointment, please contact Growing Smiles in Floral Vale

Weatherell J, Deutsch D, Robinson C, Hallsworth AS.Assimilation of fluoride by enamel throughout the life of the tooth. Caries Res 1977;11(2):85-115.

Beltrán-Aguilar ED, Goldstein JW, Lockwood SA. Fluoride varnishes: A review of their clinical use, cariostatic mechanism, efficacy and safety. J Am Dent Assoc 2000; 31(5):589-96.

Preventing Cavities Starts During Pregnancy Fri, 30 Sep 2016 21:28:50 +0000 […]]]> Dental caries is considered an infectious transmissible disease within our saliva. Mutans Streptococci (MS) is considered to be the principal group of bacteria responsible for the invitation of dental decay. MS adhere to teeth, metabolize sugars and produces acids that demineralize tooth structure.  Babies are not born with MS, but colonization may occur at the time of birth and over 70% of the time it is transmitted by their mother or primary caregiver (1,3).

The higher the levels of maternal/primary caregiver salivary MS, the greater the risk of the infant being colonized at a younger age. In order to suppress the reservoirs of MS, it is important for the mother or primary caregiver to maintain a healthy well rounded diet, reduce the frequency of simple carbohydrate intake, applying topical fluoride at routine dental visits, restoring active caries, and chewing xylitol gum.

Xyltiol Gum Reduces Plaque Production

Xyltiol is a 5 carbon sugar alcohol that looks, tastes and has similar sweetness to sucrose, but with 40% fewer calories. It is plant derived and is found in small quantities in fruits and vegetables. It has been shown to reduce the production of plaque and number of MS in the mouth. Evidence has shown that parents that chewed xylitol gum (4 pieces a day for 20 minutes) as early as 3 months after birth can significantly decrease the child’s caries rate(2).

Preventing Tooth Decay in Children

Transmission of caries can also occur between siblings of similar age or children in daycare(1).

A healthy smile for your child starts before they are born. By the age of 1 or 6 months after their first teeth erupt,  it important that they see a pediatric dentist for an initial exam, cleaning, and fluoride treatment. Follow these helpful hints to prevent the spread of Mutans Streptococci (MS).

  • Don’t cut your child’s food into smaller pieces by biting it in half.
  • Don’t clean off a dropped pacifier or bottle by putting it your mouth first.
  • Don’t blow on your child’s hot food to cool it off.
  • Don’t share eating utensils.

1. Genotypic diversity of mutans streptococci in Brazilian nursery children suggests horizontal transmission.

Mattos-Graner RO, Li Y, Caufield PW, Duncan M, Smith DJ. J Clin Microbiol. 2001 Jun;39(6):2313-6.

2. Influence of maternal xylitol consumption on acquisition of mutans streptococci by infants.Söderling E, Isokangas P, Pienihäkkinen K, Tenovuo J. J Dent Res. 2000 Mar;79(3):882-7.

3. Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sanguinis colonization correlated with caries experience in children.Ge Y, Caufield PW, Fisch GS, Li YCaries Res. 2008; 42(6):444-8.