Picking The Perfect Dental Home for Your Child

August 6th, 2021

You Child's Dental Home

Picking The Perfect Dental Home for Your Child

We know that selecting the right primary doctor or dentist for your child can be a difficult and complicated process. So, how do you know who to choose, or how to go about selecting the right dentist for your children? Keep reading below for a few reasons why the best choice is finding a pediatric dentist to be your kids’ dental home.

Pediatric Dentists Make Office Visits Fun

Besides quality dental care, a pediatric dental office seeks to create a fun, inviting environment designed especially for children. At Union Pediatric Dentistry, we want every child who enters our office to leave with as positive of an experience as possible. Our fun, baseball themed office is designed with children in mind.  It's a great idea to look through the photos of our office before your first visit to help familiarize your child with the new environment. You can also check out our Instagram and Facebook to see how fun we are and for news about our office. It’s also a good place to read some of our patient reviews.

Trained to Care for Children

After dental school, pediatric dentist have an addition 2-3 years of special training to care for young children and adolescents. Our board certified pediatric dentists, Dr. GreenhillDr. Jennison, and Dr. Britt, have also completed additional certifications to ensure that you can rest easy knowing that we have had extensive training which has equipped us to care for your child.

Sensitive to Special Healthcare Needs

Our office offers a variety of dental treatments, while taking into account each child's specific needs. We have created a special sensory room, for those with special needs. Our office is trained to treat kids with specific healthcare needs. Call our office to speak with us about your different care needs.

Stress-Free First Visit

Kids are often very nervous about any new experience, but especially a visit to see the dentist or a doctor for the first time. Pediatric dentists are equipped to deal with this. Your first visit to our office is designed to be a relaxed introduction to our office and all-star team of dentists. Be sure to explain to your child what to expect using positive terms. Also, let them know that you are going to meet some new people who want to help them grow up with a healthy smile!

From Toddler to Teen

Union Pediatric Dentistry provides dental care for children of all ages. From the first tooth to adolescence, we help your child develop healthy habits for a healthy smile. We provide education for you and your kids to create healthy brushing habits, understand the importance of flossing, and provide dietary tips to keep their mouth clean for years to come. We want every child to have a GRAND SLAM SMILE!

Give Us a Call

We would love the opportunity to become your child's dental home. Establishing a relationship with an office where your child feels comfortable from an early age is very important for long term dental health. Therefore, we recommend, in accordance with the recommendation of the American Pediatric Dental Association, that you begin to take your child to a pediatric dentist within six months of the first tooth emerging. If your child is already past age one and has not yet seen a dentist, that is okay, it's not too late to begin. Call our office to schedule an appointment.

How can I help my child stop thumbsucking or using a pacifier?

April 15th, 2020

Did you know that when a child sucks on a thumb, fingers, or pacifier, it can negatively impact his/her dental health?  While it is common for little ones to suck their thumbs, prolonged thumbsucking and pacifier use can cause orthodontic problems such as open bites, crossbites, and flared front teeth.

First steps to changing the habits:

  1. Limit thumbsucking or pacifier use to bedtime only or when your child is upset.
  2. Do not allow your child to carry the pacifier around in their mouth when they are playing or watching TV.
  3. If your child engages in the habit when they have a special blanket or stuffed animal with them, try to remove the comfort item.
  4. Make it fun: remember that positively reinforcing the habits you want is a great way to encourage kids as they give up their old habits.  

Check out some ideas below:

For thumb/finger sucking: 

  • Use a sticker chart to track progress. If your child is able to go a period of time without sucking his/her thumb or finger, he/she can earn a sticker. After a certain number of stickers, he/she may earn a special outing or present. Earlier in the process, some children may need to earn multiple stickers per day to keep the motivation up. As time progresses, you can work towards longer intervals. You know your child child. Think about what would motivate them. Check out grandslamsmiles.com for a free printable calendar and coloring sheets. 
  • Put a band-aid on your child’s thumb/finger every morning to help him/her remember not to suck it. We recommend using this only during the waking hours to prevent accidentally swallowing the band-aid while asleep. Pick out fun band-aids at the store together! 
  • Try the T-Guard or Finger Guard, a plastic case that covers the thumb or finger and has a bracelet so it cannot easily be removed. This can be ordered online. 
  • Try Mavala Stop, a bitter tasting liquid which is painted on the thumb or finger. This is not meant to be punishment but a gentle reminder. 
  • If these strategies do not work, talk with your dentist about an orthodontic appliance. These appliances are usually only used when a child is ready to stop but is having a hard time with other strategies. 

For pacifier use:

  • Start by limiting use to nap time and bedtime only, or when your child is upset.
  • Leave the pacifier for the “pacifier fairy.” We hear that she leaves fun surprises!
  • Cut the nipple over time, making it shorter and shorter. (Note: make sure that the pacifier is in one piece and not a choking hazard.)
  • Take to Build A Bear and put it inside the bear! 
  • Leave the pacifier for Santa Claus to take to the baby elves, or the stork to give to the new baby sibling or family member! 
  • Cut it out “cold turkey.” Most children have a few rough nights but adjust better than parents think.

What should I do if my child has a toothache?

November 19th, 2019

Toothaches in children can be tricky ordeals that cause distress for both the child and the parent. You may feel helpless and frustrated because you cannot pinpoint the location of the pain. It is so hard to see your little one experience discomfort and feel like there is nothing you can do about it. But there are ways you can help. Try these tips the next time your child has a toothache.

Zero in on the Painful Area

The first thing you need to do is find out where the pain is coming from. If your child is old enough, ask him or her to point to the painful area. In younger children, look for swelling and redness on the gums and cheek, dental caries (discolorations on the tooth), or broken teeth. Try to get as close to the location of the pain as possible so you can determine an effective course of action to relieve it.

Try to Find the Cause

Not all toothaches are actually toothaches. A child can bite his or her tongue or cheek, have sore gums, or develop ulcers in the mouth. Teeth that are coming in can also be quite painful. If a tooth is discolored, broken, loose, or has spots that are either darker or lighter than the rest of the tooth, those could be causes of pain.

Five-Step Approach to Dental Pain Relief

  1. Floss. Help your child floss to remove any food particles that may be wedged between the teeth and could be causing pain.

  2. Rinse with warm salt water. Use a warm salt-water solution and have your child rinse well by swishing or holding the salt water over the painful area.

  3. Use a cold compress. This can relieve pain and swelling. If there is no swelling, you can try it anyway to subdue the pain. Try it on for about 15 minutes, then off for 20.

  4. Give the child ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Use the appropriate dosage for your child’s age and administer it regularly as directed.

  5. If you determine that the tooth or gum is damaged, or if the pain simply cannot be relieved, call our office.

If your child is experiencing throbbing pain, fatigue, or fever, you should call your pediatrician as soon as possible. If your child is experiencing mouth pain accompanied by trouble breathing or swallowing, it can indicate a more serious situation and you should take your son or daughter to the emergency room.

Most mouth pain in children can be remedied with the simple steps here. The important thing is that you remain calm, no matter what. You child is taking cues from you and if you panic, he or she will panic.

First Trip to the Dentist: How to Make Sure it is Smooth Sailing

October 21st, 2019

Baby's First Dental ExamTrips to the dentist are an essential part of oral care, but for a child, the first time can be scary. Sitting in a chair, under a light, while a stranger pokes inside their mouth is understandably daunting.

We are often afraid of things we don’t understand, so the best way to make your child’s first trip to the dentist smooth sailing is to help them understand what to expect before they get to the office. Knowledge will make the visit more comfortable and relaxing.

Normalize visits to the dentist with books, or simply talking about it! There are many children’s books out there that help make a visit to the dentist easier! A list of books can be found here. Dr. Jennison even wrote a children's book, A Sugarbug's Delight.

We also recommend roleplaying with a pretend visit!  Making the dentist fun at home will make the outing more fun when the time comes. Be sure to use positive vocabulary, avoiding words like shot and hurt. Instead, talk about a clean, strong smile. In keeping with the positive theme, be sure not to bribe your kids with a post-appointment treat. Bribery gives the idea that there is something to be nervous about. Instead, opt for surprising them with some sort of reward after the fact.

Here at our practice, because we specialize in pediatric dentistry, we too have tactics to make the appointment go easy and smooth for both you and your child! Some children are ready to sit in the dental chair at the first appointment. Others do better in a knee to knee position, where they lay on a board between a parent and the doctor. Tell your child that the team will count and shine their teeth. Thank you for trusting us to take care of your child in a specialized way.

So when should you schedule this trip? As a rule of thumb, kids should start going to the dentist by age 1 or within six months after their first tooth erupts. We’ll see you then!