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Welcome to the Alligator Dental Blog!

At Alligator Dental we are passionate about helping kids have healthy, happy smiles.

Our blog is a great resource for parents to find tips on how to enhance their child’s dental health!

Check out Denty Land! This cute game was created by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry to help celebrate National Children’s Dental Health month and teach helpful tips to beat the Mouth Monsters.

http://mouthmonsters.mychildrensteeth.org/welcome-to-denty-land/

 

 

 

This new blog feature with Alligator Dental doctors is sure to bring a giggle or two from our patients! Ask your kids the same question – it will be fun to see which doctor they are most like.

Question:
Shoot Spaghetti Out of Your Fingers OR Sneeze Meatballs?

The doctors were unanimous! All chose to shoot spaghetti out of their fingers. Especially if they looked cool – like the Web Crawler himself!

 

Parents want their children to succeed in all areas of their lives, including success in school. A parent will provide healthy snacks to make sure their child gets proper nutrition, help them with their homework, encourage and nudge them along to perform well on their STAR tests. But often a parent doesn’t realize that dental health is part of a child’s overall health and can have a big impact on school success.

Anyone who has had a toothache knows how upsetting and disruptive tooth pain can be. A study in North Carolina looked at risk factors for poor school performance among schoolaged children found a strong link between poor oral health and poor school performance. Children classified with poor oral health were 4 times as likely to have poor school performance. In addition tooth pain and dental problems can lead to multiple missed school days for kids and missed work hours for parents.

To help a child have the best success in school parents should help children establish a daily routine of healthy eating, brushing and flossing. Additionally, regular 6-month visits to the dentist will help catch and correct dental decay early and eliminate unnecessary tooth pain.

Dr. Adeel Khan

 

 

 

This new blog feature with Alligator Dental doctors is sure to bring a giggle or two from our patients! Ask your kids the same question – it will be fun to see which doctor they are most like.

Question:
Would you rather… Talk in Rhymes OR Sing instead of speaking?

4/5 Alligator Dental doctors chose to SING!

Dr. Hole enthusiastically chose SING! “Everyone knows I sing when I work!” Be sure to listen for Dr. Hole the next time you are at the Seguin office.

 

Sugar is everywhere! Especially with Holiday leftovers! The New Year is a great time to start fresh and resolve to combat sugar and it’s damaging effect on little teeth.

The key to success is to set limits. How often and when a child consumes sugar is as important as how much they consume. When a parent limits the frequency and duration of sugar exposure for their child they are one step closer to winning the war!

5 Simple steps to limit sugar:

  1. Sippy Cups: Fill with water only. Children shouldn’t sip on sugary drinks. If you give your child beverages other than water serve them in a regular cup. If you do choose to use a sippy cup give limits to how quickly they need to finish the drink, then take the cup away.
  2. Bed Time: Don’t allow a child to go to sleep with a bottle of milk. Milk contains natural sugars that can weaken teeth. If your child uses a bottle in bed it should be filled only with water.
  3. Juice: Children 1-6 years of age should only consume 4-6 oz. of fruit juice per day. The best way to serve juice is in a regular cup as part of a meal or snack.
  4. Candy: Limit candy consumption. Sucking on candy extends exposure to sugar. Brush teeth after consuming candy.
  5. Brush & Floss!: Have your child floss daily & brush after meals and snacks.

Dr. Matthew Gillham

 

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry is on the look out for one of their Most Wanted Mouth Monsters: Tartar the Terrible. Kids should exercise caution if they meet up with Tartar the Terrible and take immediate evasive action.

Follow this link to meet more of the AAPD’s Most Wanted Mouth Monsters: http://mouthmonsters.mychildrensteeth.org/meet-the-mouth-monsters-tartar-the-terrible/

 

The actual name of laughing gas is Nitrous Oxide and for a small amount of people it does cause them to laugh for a while.

Nitrous Oxide has been around for over 100 years and is still used all across the country. It is the safest and quickest gas anesthetic available and works really well in children. So how does it make you laugh? Once inhaled Nitrous Oxide goes into your blood stream like oxygen and then makes its way to your brain where it begins to affect nerve receptors. These receptors then trigger you to feel happy, carefree, relaxed, weightless and even like laughing. Once turned off the gas quickly rushes out of the body and generally all effects wear off completely in a few minutes.

It is important to keep in mind that each person can have a different reaction to Nitrous Oxide. While the vast majority of patients experience the positive reactions listed above, on occasion
Nitrous Oxide can cause nausea and in rare circumstances has an opposite effect where patients can feel tension rather than relaxed. This is not common and we monitor each patient closely to ensure they are experiencing a positive response to the gas before proceeding.

Nitrous Oxide is a great way to help your kids feel a little braver and even happy as they get dental care completed.

Dr. Al Burns

 

The holiday season is a mouth monster’s favorite time of year! Check out this cute ‘Interview’ with Mouth Monster Tooth D.K. that reminds kids how to avoid his pesky presence during this festive season.

Check it out: http://mouthmonsters.mychildrensteeth.org/5-minutes-with-tooth-d-k-secrets-of-cavity-causers/

 

For a child the reason is obvious: a pediatric dentist office is FUN! It is packed with child friendly colors and activities to encourage children to enjoy their visit to the dentist – and want to come back again. The doctors and staff are expert in working with children and explain things on their level, which helps with both understanding and comfort.

However, what really is the difference?

A pediatric dentist gets two additional years of school beyond that of a general dentist, focusing on pediatrics. They are trained to not only understand how to treat baby teeth and decay but also get training in child psychology, growth and development, pediatric disease, anesthesia training, orthodontics and numerous other areas.

In short – any dentist can provide the basics of dental care but choosing a pediatric dentist has numerous advantages, especially if your child has special medical circumstances. The concept is similar to choosing a pediatrician over a general doctor for your child.

At Alligator Dental we strive to provide an exceptional dental experience that is fun for your child coupled with superior care from our highly trained doctors.

Dr. Al Burns

 

This fall the FDA came out and recommended against the use of teething tablets stating they were an unsafe way to combat teething.

Teething tablets are all natural supplements. Alligator Dental parents have been on both ends of the spectrum in their opinion of teething tablets: some swear by them and some say they are a waste of money. In the past Alligator Dental has only recommended them as a last resort.

Official reports are not fully clear on what caused the FDA to change their support of teething tablets. However, in light of the new declaration, and for the safety of our smallest patients, we feel it is best to abide by the FDA decision and discontinue support of teething tablets as well.

Dr. Al Burns

 

Teething is a stressful time accompanied by tears and sleepless nights – for the child and parents! The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists created a cute article sharing 5 things parents need to know about teething straight from the source – the little tooth!

Check it out: http://mouthmonsters.mychildrensteeth.org/teething-as-told-by-a-babytooth/

 

Halloween may be over but if you are like many parents there is still a sizable bag of candy floating around your house. So what do you do with all that candy?

Part of being a kid is getting candy at Halloween. Yes – That is coming from the Pediatric dentist! Truth is candy does not cause cavities nearly as much as constant soda, juice and milk consumption. However, it is still not a great thing to have gobs of candy in the house.

At our house we make it memorable and safe for the teeth. The kids are allowed to have one or maybe two binges on the bag on chocolate only. All hard candy and suckers get one lick and then go into the trash.

The worst thing you can do is string out the candy and let your child eat some every day for weeks. A once and over is much better for the teeth. Of course another good rule is that after the binge mom or dad brushes the teeth…and brushes…and brushes.

Commit today to loosing that bag of candy – or sneaking what is left into your own sock drawer.

Dr. Al Burns

 

In the winter months it is very common for kids to get dry, cracked and chapped lips. Some children also start to suck on their lower lips or lick their lips excessively, which leaves a visible red mark. Since children tend to moisten their dry lips with their saliva this leads to a red, irritated area that can get pretty sore! Not only does this look and feel tender, it can be an area where bacteria and fungus can live and grow.

1. Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated helps keep those lips moist from the inside out.Parents may also consider using a humidifier in the house.

2. Stay away from petroleum based products. These products cover the skin and can cause bacteria and germs to fester below them.

3. Avoid products with irritants and allergens. Products with chemicals or artificial scents may encourage children to lick their lips even more.

4. Use Lanolin based products. Lanolin promotes healing and provides better protection to those sore lips.

Excessive chapped lips or lip sucking can lead to cheilitis or dermatitis and in some cases lead to swelling and infection. If that happens make sure to call us at Alligator Dental so we can get your child on the path to healthy, happy lips!

Dr. Adeel Khan

 

Some parents have a love-hate relationship with Halloween. We love the fun, festive atmosphere that makes our children so excited but we cringe when we think about the massive amounts of sugar associated with the parties and Trick-or-Treating.

Ever wonder how a dentist would handle the Halloween sugar rush?
First remember that going trick or treating is part of being a kid and you can’t stop neighbors from dumping pounds of sugar in your child’s bag.

Here is how we keep Halloween cavity-free at Dr. Al’s house:

When your child returns home dump out all the candy into a Candy Triage.

Make 3 piles:

1. Hard Candy: (suckers, jolly ranchers, etc.) Give your child 10 minutes to try all they want. A total free-for-all. Then put it all in a bag and throw it out. Hard Candy is the worst for your child’s teeth.

2. Soft Candy: (taffy, gummy, chewy) Allow a few pieces that night and then put the rest in a bag. They can have one piece a day until it is all gone. At Dr. Al’s house it is a reward for chores or good behavior.

3. Chocolate: Let them eat all they want. Get it gone in 2-3 days. Or mom you can just keep it all. Chocolate is the least cavity forming candy and a couple of days of fun won’t hurt their teeth.

Brush like crazy! Do a five-minute brushing that night. Kids do 2 minutes and parents do 3 minutes. Reapply toothpaste half way through. Have your child spit but don’t rinse out. Go to bed with excess toothpaste on their teeth.

Dr. Al Burns

 

So what happens to the adult teeth when a baby tooth falls out early? The adult tooth will just come in won’t it? Well, one of the major reasons for preserving baby teeth is that they guide the adult teeth into their proper place. When a baby tooth is lost early drifting (moving) of the surrounding baby and adult teeth is common. This could cause that ‘proper place’ to be crowded leaving little space for the new adult tooth to come in. So what do we do? It’s spacer time!

There are many types and styles of spacers that we use at Alligator Dental. Our most common spacer is one that is fast and convenient. It can be made in one visit and be customized to the missing space. It consists of two parts: the ring and the loop. The spacer will hold surrounding teeth in place so the adult tooth can successfully grow in. The best part is that with the dental cement on them it looks like a little snowman.

Dr. Al Burns

 

It’s that time of year again when allergies are hitting. Many children suffer from allergies or asthma, the third most common medical diagnosis in children.

How do allergies affect your teeth?

Allergy and asthma medications (steroids and antihistamines) are often designed to dry out a child’s mouth, sinuses and airway. Generally they are very effective and reduce many of the side effects from allergies and asthma.

Unfortunately the most common negative side effect is causing a dry mouth. The bacteria that cause gingivitis and decay thrive in dry conditions and thus we see these problems much more frequently in children on allergy and asthma medications.

Our advice:

If your child receives daily or regular medications for allergies or asthma then we recommend they increase their brushing frequency. It is especially important that they brush right after taking these medications. This may help prevent the negative side effect of cavities.

Good luck this allergy season!

Dr. Al Burns

 

Help kids remember to balance extra sweets with healthy eating and to keep their teeth extra clean. A fun reminder is to print out these cute posters from the American Dental Association and hang them in their room!

Click here to print your own copy!

Kids poster:
http://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Public%20Programs/Files/NCDHM/NCDHM2016_YouthPoster_8,-d-,5x11_English.pdf?la=en

Teen poster:
http://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Public%20Programs/Files/NCDHM/NCDHM2016_TeenPoster_8,-d-,5x11__English.pdf?la=en

 

The safety of dental x-rays is a legitimate concern that parents have! At Alligator Dental we value the well-being of the child first and foremost. We use cutting edge digital x-ray equipment to dramatically reduce radiation and ensure the highest safety of our patients.

Are x-rays really necessary?

Yes! X-rays are necessary for accurate diagnosis of dental cavities and pathology. Without them a comprehensive exam is incomplete. Proper diagnosis of tooth development and potential decay requires the dentist to view the jaw and developing adult teeth that are behind the primary (or baby) teeth. X-rays also allow the dentist to see the extent of decay
that is visible to the eye and determine the proper treatment needed to repair the damaged tooth.

Safety Facts & Standards at Alligator Dental:

• Dental x-rays contribute to only 1 day of background exposure a child gets in 1 year from external sources

• Use of digital x-rays reduces radiation exposure by a factor of 2

• Use of rectangular collimation reduces radiation exposure by a factor of 4-5

• Use of lead apron and thyroid collar reduces exposure to radiation sensitive organs

• Adherence to the radiation safety guidelines established by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

We want parents to feel comfortable with the service their child receives at Alligator Dental. Feel free to ask your dentist about dental x-rays if you have concerns!

Dr. Adeel Khan

 

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry shares some very important information about taking care of baby teeth!

Check out the AAPD website for more information:
http://mouthmonsters.mychildrensteeth.org/little-teeth-truths-is-it-necessary-to-fill-a-cavity-in-a-baby-tooth/

 

Teething is tough!!!

There are lots of teething products and aids out there.
Alligator Dental has a standard regimen that we recommend to work through the teething blues. Pain medication, teething toys and Orajel are our major lines of defense.

However in recent years other items have come on the market. These include Amber necklaces. Do these things really work?

You may have noticed lots of little babies and toddlers walking around with necklaces made from small brown glass-like rocks – they are everywhere! They are a huge fad that has been accepted all over. The concept is that Amber has a natural medicinal purpose when it rests against the skin. I have parents with vastly different opinions on the effectiveness of Amber necklaces:
1. For: swear by Amber necklaces and say they work
2. Against: think they are a waste of money
3. Neutral: aren’t sure the necklace works but think it is a cute accessory for their child

The Facts:
There is no scientific proof that these necklaces work.

While I personally do not recommend them I can sympathize with parents who are loosing sleep and anxious to help their child find relief. In this case you can give them a try – and see how the Amber necklace works for your child.

Dr. Al Burns

 

Can a child learn a phobia from their parent?

We love this heartfelt account of a New Zealand mom who shared that her phobia of the dentist stood in her way of getting timely dental treatment for her son.

Click the link to read her touching account. Spoiler: Her son was a champ when eventually did go to the dentist! :)

http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/parenting/mums-life/83943785/i-was-scared-of-thedentist-and-my-son-paid-the-price

 

The first week of school is in the books!

If you are like many of us moms at Alligator Dental we get pumped about the first few weeks when it comes to creative and healthy meals and snacks for our kids. As time goes on everything becomes routine and the instant, processed foods creep in until they have totally taken over.

Check out this link for some kid (and teeth) friendly ideas to beat back the insta-food blahs and add a healthy punch to your kid’s diets.

http://blog.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/2016/08/28/back-to-school-recipe-roundup/

 

For those of you who have been to our office you know that we strive to be practical and conservative in our diagnosis. The truth is we do not treat every little thing that we see in a child’s mouth or on their x-rays. Not every little spot on a tooth is considered decay. If it is decay it may not be progressed enough to make it worth treating before a tooth falls out. We call these areas “starter cavities” or “precavities”. Perhaps your child has one or two of them in their mouth. Many things can lead to these areas of weakness but what does this all really mean?

Analogy of an Apple:

Teeth have a hard outer shell called enamel. This enamel is like the skin on an apple. The skin while thin provides a very important barrier to the inside of the apple, which can easily rot when exposed to the outside elements. An apple may have a spot or defect in it but until the skin is broken the inside remains normal. Baby teeth have a very thin layer of enamel. Areas where staining or the enamel has started to break down we generally do not treat but we do monitor, as these are the areas most prone to leading to a cavity.

What can you do to keep these “starter cavities” from turning into a real cavity? The basics!

1. Brushing Two times a day (after breakfast and right before bed is best)

2. Use fluoride toothpaste and spit out but don’t rinse. Have nothing to drink after your bedtime brushing.

3. Limit milk, juice and other drinks with sugar to mealtimes only. Drink water and sugar-free the rest of the time.

4. Visit your dentist regularly to ensure any areas do not need special attention

Good luck in preventing or stopping those “starter cavities” from becoming bad!

Dr. Al Burns

 

Check out this fantastic checklist for Dental Emergencies created by the American Academy of
Pediatric Dentists! Click on the link to print a full-sized copy to hang on your fridge or give to your child’s caregiver!

http://mouthmonsters.mychildrensteeth.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/active-kids-healthy-kids-english.pdf

 

Picture this…

Mom sitting by her little boy in the dental chair. She looks at doctor with big eyes and says: My child grinds their teeth and it is so loud!

Is this your story? This is something we see daily at Alligator Dental. Not to worry! In fact, as the song says…

Don’t Worry Be Happy.

Grinding is very common in children, especially at night. Almost 100% of children grind at some point but some do more than others. Most of the time this almost completely stops when your child gets their first adult molars at age 6-7. No treatment is necessary unless our child has pain on eating or waking up at night.

When this happens generally a few days of pain medication will help a lot. Our general rule is three doses of pain medicine a day for three days. If pain persists beyond this give us a call and we can troubleshoot it with you!

In the mean time it might be wise to invest in some earplugs, or some new headphones and turn the volume up.

Dr. Al Burns

 

A very common question is will my child need to be numbed? Will they get a shot?

We have a unique and specific way to ensure our patients who need to be numbed for a dental procedure have a pain free injection. Here is our magic formula…

1-Smurf Jelly: This special anesthetic jelly is used to numb the gums around the area of the injection. After drying the area it takes 30 seconds of application and the area is 50% numb.

2-Magic Hands: We avoid telling or showing the child the needle. In fact we distract them.

3-Shallow Depth and Strong Anesthetic: The injection barely penetrates the skin and stays in the zone of the jelly. We use a strong liquid injection anesthetic that then slowing soaks in and the magic is complete.

That is our Secret Sauce!

Dr. Al Burns

 

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists offers some great advice on helping an older child kick their thumb sucking habit.

Check out their website for more information:

http://mouthmonsters.mychildrensteeth.org/little-teeth-truths-is-thumbsuckinghurting-my-childs-teeth/

 

So are baby teeth really that important? They do just fall out correct?

It is actually very important to keep baby teeth healthy and cavity free.
They serve three major purposes:

1- The health of baby teeth are the first indication of the health of the adult teeth. Cavities and infection from baby teeth will eventually affect adult teeth and cause them to have decay and problems if the baby teeth aren’t taken care of.

2- Baby teeth play a key and vital role for speech development, nutrition and growth of a child. When baby teeth are negatively affected it also negatively affects these very important developmental areas and can severely affect a child for a lifetime.

3- Baby teeth guide permanent teeth into the proper position. If a back baby molar tooth is lost too early because of a cavity or infection then the teeth behind it tilt and drift forward into that empty space. When adjacent teeth shift into the empty space, they create a lack of space in the jaw for the permanent teeth. Therefore, permanent teeth are crowded and come in crooked. If left untreated, the condition may require extensive orthodontic treatment.

What do I do if it is too late and my child’s baby tooth has fallen out early?

If a baby tooth falls out early make sure to talk to us about a spacer. Space maintainers hold open the empty space left by a lost tooth. They steady the remaining teeth, preventing movement until the permanent tooth takes its natural position in the jaw. It is more affordable – and easier on your child – to keep teeth in normal positions with a space maintainer than to move them back into place with orthodontic treatment.

In the meantime keep on brushing and keeping those baby teeth cavity free!

Dr. Adeel Khan

 


We love reading about kids who give of themselves to help others! Check out this story about 12-year-old Thaddeus who set up a nonprofit, the Heads Up Penny Foundation, to help encourage and reward kids in Tennessee for summer reading.

Thaddeus had his first fundraiser at age 5 – raising $500 (with the help of his mom) to help children in need of cleft palate surgery through Smile Train. Since then he has raised funds to donate to a homeless shelter and local kids in need.

Click here to read more about Thaddeus and his efforts to raise funds to bless others: http://www.tennessean.com/story/life/2016/07/04/music-execs-son-turns-foundpennies-into-hope-kids/86181828/

 

I often get the question: “Do people get extra teeth?” They do all the time! I love extra teeth and talking about them and secretly wish I had one myself.

The most common extra tooth is to have an extra wisdom tooth, which generally is removed when your wisdom teeth are removed.

The second most common is to have an extra front tooth between your two front teeth called a Mesiodens, which looks like a small vampire tooth. These can cause real problems in the proper growth and development of the adult teeth. One of my favorite procedures is removing a Mesiodens from the roof of the mouth. This generally requires an incision and some bone removal from the palate before they come out. The coolest is when they actually are growing upside down toward the nose instead of the mouth.

If you are lucky enough to have a Mesiodens the tooth fairy pays extra for them…at least that’s what I hear.

Dr. Al Burns

 

Check out some healthy ideas for summer snacks by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists. Let your child click through options that are good “once in awhile” and “better for you” to help them make great snack choices while enjoying that hot Texas sun!

http://mouthmonsters.mychildrensteeth.org/healthy-summer-snacks/

 

We often get the question:

What do I do if my child’s tooth gets knocked out?

Excellent Question! This can be a very traumatic experience and can also cause what seems to be a lot of bleeding. The most important thing to do in any emergency is to stay calm and rational.

Baby Tooth

Thankfully baby teeth get replaced with adult teeth.

  • The best thing to do is contact your pediatric dentist for an emergency exam to ensure all is okay and to plan on a trip from the tooth fairy and having a little kid gap for a while.
  • If you aren’t sure if it is a baby tooth call the dentist immediately or send a picture to them and they can help you sort it out. In the meantime follow the directions below.

Permanent Tooth

Save any tooth that has been knocked out. Bring it to your dentist ASAP. The longer the tooth is out of the mouth the less chance that the dentist can fix the tooth.

Follow these steps:

  1. Pick up the tooth by the crown, not the root, to minimize damage.
  2. Rinse a dirty tooth briefly and gently with water. Do not scrub, dry or wrap the tooth in cloth or tissue.
  3. If possible, try to place the tooth gently back into its socket. Carefully place tooth into socket and push gently all the way back into the socket.
  4. If tooth cannot be placed in socket immediately place it in cold milk and see the dentist ASAP!

Dr. Sukhi Jasssar

 

Looking for ways to keep your kids excited about brushing their teeth? Check out this new tech-savvy gaming toothbrush called Grush. While it is still in development phase we think combining kids obsession with technology with good oral hygiene can be a win-win for kids and parents alike.

Check out Grush here: http://fortune.com/2016/05/24/americas-greatest-makers-finale-grush/

 


We often get asked how a cavity forms. In its simplest form cavities are caused by acid on the teeth. Acid results when sugar from food and drink combines with bacteria in the mouth. This is why brushing for 2 minutes 2x’s a day is so essential. It helps to remove the sugar, minimize the bacteria from plaque and reduce the acid levels on your child’s teeth.

We think this picture explains the process perfectly. Use it to show your child how the sugar they eat can change their happy teeth to sad teeth.

 

Kids and adults alike often will ask,

“What is that stuff that gets scraped off my teeth at the dental office?”

It all starts with plaque made up from food particles and bacteria that grow on our teeth throughout the day. Gross right? If you have ever missed brushing for a day and get the film on your teeth – this is plaque. In our mouth there are certain areas where plaque builds up and our toothbrush has a hard time getting to – like behind our lower front teeth. Over time if it does not get removed the calcium in our saliva actually makes the plaque hard and it becomes like concrete on our teeth. Once hardened plaque cannot be removed at home by brushing and must be removed at the dental office. Sounds exciting right?

Well in addition to being gross the build up causes swelling and gingivitis, bleeding of the gums and bad breath. Eventually it can cause periodontal disease, which after enough time leads to bone and gum loss and even loosing teeth.

Now you know why just simple brushing can save your teeth. So keep up brushing and make sure to get to all the nooks and crannies where plaque is hiding!

Dr. Jaime Simmons

 

 

Sharks have rows of teeth which make their mouths extra cool.

Every week I get to see kids who are PART SHARK!

At least that is what I tell them…

About 1 in every 30 children has their fist set of adult teeth come in behind the baby teeth instead of underneath them. We call this “Shark Syndrome”.

This is a normal problem, in fact it happened to two of the Burns kids. “Shark Syndrome” typically does not cause any long-term effects as long as the baby teeth fall out or are taken out within a few months of developing the ‘shark teeth’. It generally takes 1-6 months for the adult teeth to migrate to the proper location depending on the severity of the situation.

Dr. Al Burns

 

 

One question we get often is:

“What should I do if my child has a toothache?”

Toothaches can be very painful. They are caused by swelling. There are three ways to help with swelling until you can see your Pediatric Dentist.

1. Pain Medication: For best results use a combination of Tylenol (Acetaminophen) and Motrin (Ibuprofen). Use the recommended doses on the bottle. Alternate the doses every three hours. Over the counter medications work just as good as prescription in these situations.
For example:
9 am: 1 tsp. Tylenol
12 pm: 1 tsp. Motrin
3 pm: 1 tsp. Tylenol
6 pm: 1 tsp. Motrin

2. Apply cool compress to the face in the area of the pain. You can use ice wrapped in a cloth.

3. Rinse with lukewarm salt water, if they are old enough to do so without swallowing the water. Use ½ teaspoon salt to 1-cup water; stir to dissolve.

As a last resort you can use Orajel or Ambesol. Just remember to give this no more than once a day as you can overdose a child on these medications.

Dr. Adeel Khan

 

Encouraging a child to brush his or her teeth can be a challenge. For parents with special needs
children this can be particularly true. Dr. John Hendry, spokesperson for the American
Academy of Pediatric Dentists, shares 5 tips for helping children with special needs brush their teeth. Check it out! http://mouthmonsters.mychildrensteeth.org/5-tips-for-helping-children-with-special-needs-brush-their-teeth/

 

Mouthguards

Does your child play sports?
Do you love their beautiful smile?

If the answer to both of these questions is YES than a mouthguard is a must-have part of their uniform!

April is National Facial Protection Month and we want to celebrate by helping parents find the right mouthguard to protect their child’s smile.

Several types are available:

  • Basic – Ready to wear – these guards are a few sizes fits all and not very protective. Not custom fit but inexpensive. Good for small children who need something basic while they grown and are not concerned about a custom fit.
  • Boil & Bite – semi-custom fit. These can be purchased at Walmart or other stores selling sporting good items. Provides a somewhat customizable fit from placing in boiling water until softened, then biting down to form to your child’s mouth
  • Professional Mouthguard – The highest quality and made at a dental office. Available at Alligator Dental for patients who are serious athletes and have finished their growth or orthodontics. Will last for a few seasons if maintained. These are the most expensive but very worth the investment.

Dr. Jaime Simmons

 

Beat the Heat: Hydrate!

Spring is here and temperatures are on the rise! Keeping kids hydrated during their outdoor activities is vital in the Texas heat.

While there are many products to choose from there is no substitute for water when it comes to good hydration and healthy teeth.

Sports drinks and other beverages should be limited to 1-2 times a week. The rest of the time water should be the drink of choice.

Try an old Burns family trick by keeping half filled water bottles in your freezer and then filling up when it is time to run out the door.

Dr. Al Burns

 

We love to read stories about kids who are doing amazing things!

Check out this news report about High School students who will spend Spring Break in Haiti. One of their tasks is to visit an orphanage and school and teach dental hygiene to the children.

http://fox17online.com/2016/03/28/high-school-students-getting-ready-for-mission-trip-to-haiti/

 

Dental sealants act as a barrier to PREVENT CAVITIES! They are plastic material usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars) where decay occurs most often. They are just like nail paint but for the teeth!

WHY:
Thorough brushing and flossing help remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of the teeth but toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to extract food and plaque. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” plaque and food. Although sealants do wear naturally and may become damaged over time, they have the potential to remain effective for five years or longer, despite the heavy pressures endured by teeth each day.

HOW:
It takes only a few minutes to seal each tooth. The dentist first cleans the teeth that will be sealed, which may require the use of a dental drill to open the grooves of the teeth and determine if decay is present. Then the dentist will roughen the chewing surfaces with an acid solution, which will help the sealant stick to the teeth. The dentist then “paints” the sealant on the tooth. It bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. Sometimes the dentist will use a special curing light to help the sealant harden.

Sealant treatments are painless and take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to apply, depending on the number of teeth being sealed.

Dr. Sukhi Jasssar

 

Prevention is so much better than restoration!

Click on the link to download your own printable poster reminder.

http://mouthmonsters.mychildrensteeth.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/AAPD_Did-You-Know-Posters.8.pdf

 

We often hear that genes play a role in a child’s development of cavities. Although there is some truth to this other factors play a bigger role in whether a child will develop cavities. Unless a child has a significant genetic defect or malformation of the enamel or dentin of their teeth or bones most of the cavity related issues can still be prevented by vigorous attention to the following 3 factors.

1 – Oral Hygiene – How well a child takes care of their teeth by brushing with fluoride

2 – Diet – How well a child eats. Eating healthy and staying away from sugary foods and drinks
not only keeps a body healthy it keeps teeth cavity free.

3 – Host Response – (This is the genetic factor) How well a child’s teeth fight off bacteria. This is dictated by a child’s genetic makeup and the quality and quantity of their saliva. Genetics also play more of a role in the skeletal and dental development of a child’s mouth.

Even if a child has a genetic history of cavities giving careful attention to brushing, flossing and eating a healthy, balanced diet can give them a very good chance of preventing cavities and other oral health problems.

We encourage patients to discuss their family history and cavity experience with us so we can focus on prevention and fight cavities as a team!

Dr. Adeel Khan

 

We all know that sugar is associated with cavities and tooth decay. But how do we get our children to make better food choices? The Washington Post has a great article suggesting ways to help kids kick their sugar habit and put a little extra nutrition in their diet. This
makes little teeth happy!

Check it out: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/how-to-get-kids-to-kick-their-sugar-habit/2016/02/29/b6106ab8-db08-11e5-891a-4ed04f4213e8_story.html

 

Does laughing gas actually make you laugh? The answer is YES!

Well…at least for some people.

Laughing gas (also called Nitrous Oxide) is the most safe and simplest type of sedative you
can take. However the effect it has on each person can vary.

Teens & Adults: It is generally very effective for teenagers and adults and causes people to get the “giggles”, or laugh uncontrollably.

Children: It works well for children, but often causes them to “zone out” – much like they would if they were really into a show on television.

Laughing gas wears off quickly and generally in only a few minutes you are back to your
normal state. Laughing gas is also very safe and can be used in normal doses by almost anyone, including women who are pregnant. The only regular side effect that affects about 5% of people is mild nausea, which quickly wears off.

Dr. Al Burns

 

In celebration of National Children’s Dental Health Month enjoy The Tournament of Tooth Care – where little teeth take on the Mouth Monsters one big game at a time.

Get in on the Mouth Madness fun and nominate your own MVP by checking out this link created by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry:

http://mouthmonsters.mychildrensteeth.org/national-childrens-dental-health-month-introducing-mouth-madness/

 

New parents often ask:

“When should my child first see a dentist?”

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists has a recommended rule to follow:

1st visit by 1st birthday – or as soon as 1st tooth appears.

At Alligator Dental we start seeing children as early as 6 months of age. The idea of such early dental visits is often surprising to parents. However, national studies have shown that preschool-aged children are getting more cavities. More than 1 in 4 children in the U.S. have at least one cavity by age 4, and some are as young as age 2.

To prevent cavities parents need to determine their child’s risk of developing cavities. They also need
to learn the best diet, hygiene and fluoride patterns to follow to prevent problems.

At 1st dental appointments we focus on parent education:

How to care for an infant’s or toddler’s mouth
Proper use of fluoride
Oral habits, including finger and thumb sucking
Ways to prevent accidents that could damage face and teeth
Teething and milestones of development
The link between diet and oral health

Establishing excellent oral health is the best way to prevent early childhood cavities.

Dr. Sukhi Jassar

 

The National Educational Association has created the 2×2+20 program to bring awareness to dental health and how good and poor dental health can actually affect a child’s reading level. The site had links to great resources for children to celebrate dental health: books, science activities, posters, activity sheets, videos and more! Check it out:

http://www.nea.org/grants/National-Childrens-Dental-Health-Month.htm

 

One of the Frequently Asked Questions we get at the office is:

“Does my child need x-rays and are they safe?”

Great Question! YES! X-rays are a safe and essential step in diagnosis and treatment of dental problems.

Importance of x-rays:

X-rays help us to determine and track a lot of things:
• Cavities
• Bone Disease
• Abnormalities
• Track growth and development of child’s dentition

Are they safe?

Alligator Dental uses cutting edge digital x-ray equipment that drastically reduces the amount of radiation your child is exposed to. In addition to these intra-oral x-rays we use lead aprons to further minimize exposure.

A full mouth series (19 x-rays) exposes a child to the same
amount of radiation as being outside for an hour.

Dr. Jaime Simmons

 

Click on the link below to check out a great checklist from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists to help make your child’s 1st dental visit a success!

http://mouthmonsters.mychildrensteeth.org/healthy-new-years-resolutions-check-off-your-first-visit-to-the-pediatric-dentist/

 

There are lots of teething products and aids out there. At Alligator Dental we follow a standard regimen as our line of defense against teething pain to include pain medication, teething toys and Orajel. However, in recent years other items have come on the market. These include Teething Tablets. So what are Teething Tablets and do these things really work?

What are they?

Teething tablets are a combination of natural herbs and supplements that have similar effects as pain medications. They are simple to use, inexpensive and are considered a more ‘natural’ way to help with teething.

Do they work?

In my experience they do work, just not nearly as effectively as medications like Tylenol or Motrin. For anyone wanting to avoid medications Teething Tablets are a decent alternative and generally may help a child with mild teething pain. Anyone struggling with controlling teething pain should definitely give them a try – while keeping in mind that nothing can replace consistent use of Ibuprofen.

 

In case you were wondering how digital our world has become…

Check out the Kolibree Smart Toothbrush with apps that provide games to encourage brushing every surface and use of proper angles. The app can even store information to share brushing history with your favorite Pediatric Dentist at Alligator Dental. Click on the link to ‘read all about it’:

https://www.gottabemobile.com/2016/01/04/worlds-first-smart-toothbrush-gets-new-games-specialized-accessory/

 

One of the FAQ’s we get at the office is:

“What kind of toothbrush should I be using for my little one?”
Great Question!

Infants: Prior to teeth coming in, get in the habit of wiping down your baby’s gums and tongue with a wet washcloth. This will get your child used to you being in their mouth, and get you used to it as well! As soon as you see those first teeth coming through, get out that child sized, soft-bristled toothbrush and start brushing 2x’s a day! Most children are not a fan at this point, but even if it is a struggle it is the best way to keep their little mouths healthy. In time they will come to accept brushing if it is done consistently.

Toddlers/Small Children: We recommend parents help with brushing until the child is 7-8 years old. Have the child begin the brushing, allowing a parent to finish up afterwards. At this age little hands have developed enough to get to all the tough to reach places and keep their mouth healthy. A child sized, soft-bristled toothbrush is effective for this age. For kids who need some excitement to keep them interested in brushing, electric/battery powered toothbrushes are great!

Dr. Al Burns, DDS

 

Did you know that Alligator Dental was the pioneer office in the area to use Isolites?

Isolites are a specialized piece of equipment that combines light, suction, retraction and mouth posturing into a single instrument. Alligator Dental pioneered the use of this device in the area and has influenced over 20 other Pediatric offices begin to use this innovative equipment. Alligator Dental also helped our local Guadalupe Regional Medical Center (GRMC) implement its use in the operating room.

Isolites have proven to be a very effective way to help kids get better treatment, be more comfortable and safe during treatment and have more fun in the office. The “Dolphin Tail” as it is called in the office has now helped thousands of patients receive great dental care from sealants to root canals.

Dr. Al Burns, DDS

 

There are lots of fun things to look forward to in December for a child…cooler weather, school break, family time, and special traditions at Christmas and New Year’s.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists has some fantastic tips to help keep those tiny teeth healthy during the holidays. Did you know that eating cheese actually helps neutralize acids that attack teeth? Check out other great tips on their handy Healthy Habits at the Holidays webpage:
http://mouthmonsters.mychildrensteeth.org/healthy-habits-at-the-holidays/

 

The holiday season is full of myths and tales. There are some in dentistry as well. I thought I would share 5 that we hear often to set the record straight.

1. Wiggling your loose baby teeth will make your adult teeth crooked.

False. In fact this could not be further from the truth. Baby teeth that are left alone and “babied” are much more likely to cause an adult tooth to go off track. Baby teeth guide the adult tooth into its proper location but when they get loose they are like a piece of tire lying in the road. It is better to have it removed or else you have to swerve or power through it. Neither are great options.

2. Wisdom teeth will mess up your straight smile

False – in my opinion. I have seen thousands of kids teeth with wisdom teeth coming in. I have never seen wisdom teeth cause severe or even mild shifting in front teeth. As we age our front teeth shift naturally.

3. Fluoride is bad for you.

False. Like all things too much is a bad thing. The difference with Fluoride is that too little increases your chances of decay significantly. It’s like mosquito repellant. If you use way too much you can get sick but using correctly can be beneficial. If you want to stay away from decay then a small smear of fluoride toothpaste brushed on your child’s teeth twice a day will give you the best chance.

4. I need insurance to go to the dentist.

True. If you love to burn money. To be honest dental insurance is the closest thing to a scam. How do they make money? You pay more to them then they pay the dentist. Look closely; your dental plan is nothing more than a savings account that you lose money on. Best way to be frugal in your annual dental expenses is to save monthly in advance, pay out of pocket and take good care of your family’s teeth. You will save a ton! Sadly the people who end up paying the most are those who have dental insurance.

5. A child’s teeth are destined to be like their parent’s teeth.

False. While genetics play a big role in teeth, habits play an even bigger role. Kids with cavities who have parents with cavities are in trouble not because they have the same genetics…it is because they have the same hygiene and diet habits. If your teeth are bad don’t loose hope. Just keep great habits in your home.

Dr. Al Burns

 

We love that kids included teeth when asked what they were thankful for last month!

An honest 5th grader stated she was thankful for friends and teeth – “Because if you don’t have teeth, you don’t have friends.”

Check out the cute interview with the grateful 5th grader here:
http://www.poconorecord.com/article/20151119/NEWS/151119432

Alligator Dental is thankful for all the – little and big – that we have the honor to help keep healthy and clean!

 

Alligator Dental has been on the forefront of utilizing and integrating cutting edge technology in the dental field. We recently implemented intra-oral cameras into our practice.

Intra-oral camera is a great tool for patient and parent education. It is basically a special camera for taking pictures inside the mouth. The saying that a picture is a thousand words really holds true in this case. When we show the parents and patients pictures of their cavities or problem areas it resonates with them and they are more willing to make the necessary lifestyle changes and take extra care of their teeth.

So next time you are at Alligator Dental don’t forget to say cheese and smile for that intra-oral camera!

Dr. Adeel Khan

 

Parents ask the question: Can cavities be contagious? Joe Castellano, Secretary-Treasurer of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists answers YES! Check out this link to see how cavities can be shared through saliva.

http://mouthmonsters.mychildrensteeth.org/little-teeth-truths-can-cavities-be-spread-through-saliva/

 

In our image conscious world, our smile is a major part of our appearance. Parents often wonder if tooth whitening is needed for their child and when to start that process.

It is recommended to consider whitening when the child loses all of their baby teeth. This avoids any shade mismatches; also younger children are more at risk of misusing bleaching products. It is important to realize that adult teeth look grayish when compared to baby teeth.

Parents should carefully consider the risks and benefits of whitening before deciding if it is right for the child.

Some clear indications for whitening are:
     Discolorations due to trauma or infection
     Intrinsic stains resulting from enamel defects, tetracycline stains and excessive use of fluoride or fluorosis.
     Severe social anxiety or problems arising from discolored teeth

The risks to consider when talking about whitening:
     Tooth sensitivity
     Tissue irritation
     Damage to fillings

It is recommended to always get professional help when seeking whitening treatment, professionally made whitening trays are custom fit and help contain the bleaching material to the teeth. You get better patient compliance and rapid results.

Dr. Adeel Khan

 

Often with Halloween comes the daily question – can I have a piece of candy with my lunch? Help balance out the Halloween sweets by packing a tooth – friendly lunch with dairy, lean protein, crunchy veggies and more.

Check out some of the fantastic ideas in this article:
http://www.nj.com/helpinghands/deltadental/index.ssf/2015/10/how_to_pack_a_tooth-friendly_l.html

 

Alligator Dental just performed a cutting edge technique in our office for the first time. Results are not yet back but Dr. Al completed the first “Tooth Transplant” in the history of the office using a technique he learned while training under a world renowned Pediatric Dentist from England while at Ohio State.

This procedure included replacing a badly broken down molar with an impacted wisdom tooth. This delicate procedure was completed without complications and now we all await patiently to see how the healing process goes and if the tooth will survive.

This procedure involves removing a tooth that is no longer viable, preparing the socket space, then extracting another tooth that is in mid-root development and implanting and splinting it into the prepared socket. While this technique is common in Europe it is rather new and cutting edge in the U.S.

We will keep you posted on the results of this procedure and its success!

 

Join the Mouth Monsters as they check out 8 Spooky Halloween Activities around the country – ending in our own San Antonio! There is also a link to a fun coloring page with a cute Halloween poem to remind kids the importance of brushing all that Halloween sugar off their teeth!

http://mouthmonsters.mychildrensteeth.org/8-spooky-halloween-activities-around-the-country-with-the-mouth-monsters/

 

Feeling guilty about all that Halloween candy? Not sure how to feel better about all that sugar? Ever wonder what a dentist would do on Halloween?

Here is how we do Halloween at Dr. Al’s house:

First remember that going trick or treating is part of being a kid and you can’t stop neighbors from dumping pounds of sugar in your child’s bag.
Follow these 5 steps to make Halloween a non-cavity event:

1. When your child returns home dump out all the candy into a Candy Triage.
Make 3 piles: Hard Candy (suckers, jolly ranchers, etc), Soft Candy (Taffy, gummies, chewies), & Chocolate.

2. Hard Candy: Give your child 10 minutes to try all they want. A total free-for-all. Then put it all in a bag and throw it out. Hard Candy is the worst for your child’s teeth.

3. Soft Candy: Allow a few pieces that night and then put the rest in a bag. They can have one piece a day until it is all gone. At Dr. Al’s house it is a reward for chores or good behavior.

4. Chocolate: Let them eat all they want. Get it gone in 2-3 days. Or mom you can just keep it all. Chocolate is the least cavity forming candy and a couple of days of fun won’t hurt their teeth.

5. Brush like crazy! Do a five-minute brushing that night. Kids do 2 minutes and parents do 3 minutes. Reapply toothpaste half way through. Have your child spit but don’t rinse out. Go to bed with excess toothpaste on their teeth.

Dr. Al Burns

 

Looking for fun, creative ideas for the next visit from the Tooth Fairy? Check out this article from Time.com and get your creative juices flowing!

http://time.com/3756178/creative-ideas-for-tooth-fairy-money/

 

Teeth  grinding  in  children  is  very  natural  and  normal.    It  generally  indicates  times  when  teeth  are  coming  in.    This  happens  at  several  times  in  childhood.    Grinding  is  only  a  problem  when  wear  and  tear  begin  to  show  on  the  back  teeth  or  there  is  jaw  discomfort.    Both  of these  are  quite  rare  in  children.    It  is  generally  the  noise  that  is  most  concerning  and  drives  parents  crazy. As  long  as  there  is  no  obvious  signs  of  tooth  damage  or  jaw  discomfort  there  is  not  much  reason  to  intervene.

Children  generally  do  not  tolerate  wearing  a  night  guard  to  prevent  grinding.    Simply  giving  your  child  3-4  doses  of  Motrin  every  day  for  2-3  days  can  decrease  swelling/inflammation  and  the  desire  to  want  to  grind  their  teeth  subconsciously.

Otherwise the best thing to do is buy a pair of earplugs!

Dr. Al Burns

 

A loose tooth is a common issue I see as a pediatric dentist. It is preferred for the child to help a loose tooth along naturally, so encourage your children to wiggle baby teeth when they start to get loose. If the loose tooth starts to cause any signs or symptoms, the tooth may need our help.

In some instances you can get what’s commonly referred to as the shark tooth syndrome. This happens when the adult front teeth on the bottom grow behind the baby teeth forming 2 rows of teeth. This scenario can usually resolve itself but in some cases the baby teeth need to be extracted by a pediatric dentist.

The factors to consider are:

1. Willingness of the child and or parent to help “wiggle” the tooth

2. Presence of any pain or discomfort, especially during eating, affecting appetite of the child

3. X-ray showing a lot of root structure left on the baby tooth and no mobility

4. Adult teeth behind grow in more than 1/3 of the way without the baby teeth in front getting loose

In summary encourage the kids to play with their loose teeth for a few weeks but if they seem to have any problems call and schedule an appointment to see us.

Dr. Adeel Khan

 

Tooth Decay can begin as early as age 1. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists compiled helpful tips to keep your child Mouth Monster free at any age!

Check out their flyer using the following link:

http://mouthmonsters.mychildrensteeth.org/tips-for-parents/

 

End of the summer is a very exciting time!

Kids are excited about heading back to school and getting all their back-to-school supplies and shopping done. It is a great time to consider a dental health tune-up and re-establish good habits.
Consider the following checklist:

  1. Professional Dental Cleaning. According the Center for Disease Control, tooth decay affects more children than any other chronic disease and 19% of children ages 2 to 19 years have untreated tooth decay. Depending on the cavities risk of your child the frequency of dental visits range from every 3-6 months.
  2. Brushing and Flossing Habits. It is a good time to evaluate how the kids are brushing. Consider supervising brushing for a week and see how well they are doing. You may b e surprised that weven if they are older they are not brushing for the entire 2 minutes or not brushing as well on the back teeth.
  3. Healthy Eating. Include portable healthy lunch items and snacks in your shilc’s lunch including grains, milk, chees, raw vegetables, yogurt or fruit. If your child eats in the school cafeteria review healthy, balanced food choices with him/her. Cut back on sugary foods, juices and sodas. A child should only have 4 to 6 oz. of juice per day during meals.
  4. Sports Safety. Make sure your child wears a dental mouth guard to protect his/her teeth during practice and games. Ask your dentist about custom-fitted mouth guards for added protection.

Dr. Adeel Khan

 

It is awesome to see teens give of themselves to make the world a better place for another child!

Check out this article about two teens from Florida who spent their summer break initiating Operation SOS – Save Our Smiles – and donated thousands of dental hygiene items to impoverished children in Nepal, India, and Africa.

www.baynews9.com/content/news/baynews9/news/article.html/content/news/articles/bn9/2015/8/7/everyday_hero_teens_.html

 

Do you have a storage unit? A somewhat forgotten place where all the junk hides for a long time and accumulates?

Well, there is a storage unit in your mouth. It is behind your lower teeth. This is the most common place where build-up in your mouth occurs and remains until it is cleaned at your dental visit.

It is a unique place in your mouth for two reasons.

1 – This area may be the most skipped over area when brushing your teeth.

It takes tipping your toothbrush almost vertical in front of your nose to brush in this area. Most of us skim right over it.

2 – Under your tongue is where most of your saliva enters your mouth and thus the highest concentration of calcium in your mouth is washing over this area, hardening plaque into calculus.

So how do you keep the storage unit clean? Daily brushing and flossing alone can and will nearly eliminate this build-up and that uncomfortable scraping you get on your teeth at the dental office.

Keep your storage unit clean!!!

Dr. Al Burns, DDS

 

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry released an eye-catching infographic that illustrates the state of children’s oral health in the U.S.

Check it out and find tips to keep your child’s oral health top notch:

http://mouthmonsters.mychildrensteeth.org/pediatric-oral-health-infographic/

 

We live in a world were vanity is celebrated more than ever. Should the thought of sliver on your child’s tooth stress you out?

For over 100 years fillings in teeth were made from a silver mixture of metal and mercury called Amalgam. Times have changed and rapidly the use of Amalgam is going away and being replaced with equally strong and durable white fillings that lack the potentially toxic effects of Mercury.

However, crowns are a different story.

The gold standard for crowns on children’s teeth are Silver Stainless Steel Crowns, which are completely safe. They are very durable, quick to put on a tooth, and work very well. They just aren’t white. White crowns do exist but have limitations. Most of those limitations don’t apply to front teeth so Alligator Dental uses all white porcelain crowns on front teeth – and they are beautiful.

Back teeth are different.
There are 3 reasons most parents choose not to do white crowns on back teeth:

1 – Tooth Damage: White crowns on back teeth take twice as much tooth removal to fit. Often this leads to cutting into the nerve of the tooth and the need for unnecessary root canal just to get a white crown on. This creates a longer healing time and less long-term success of the tooth.

2 – Time: it takes 3-4 times as long to put on a white crown on a back tooth and often children do not have that kind of patience to get a tooth fixed. Especially when there are several teeth to fix. This requires the child to have additional anesthesia of some kind to make it through the appointment.

3 – Cost: Most insurance companies will not cover the cost of a white crown on a child’s back tooth, not to mention the anesthesia. They are much more expensive and can cost 2x’s as much as a silver crown.

In the end our philosophy is that silver back teeth are still the best way to go. I would have no hesitation putting one on one of my own children’s teeth. In fact there are lots of great kids running around with silver back teeth – and they have great parents!

Dr. Al Burns, DDS

 

Let your kids brush with their favorite Disney, Marvel or Star Wars characters.

Check out the Free Disney Magic Timer app by Oral-B. Link shows a brief introduction video to show how much fun the app can be.

www.oralb.com/stages/disney-timer-app

 

A common procedure in pediatric dentistry is dental crowns or caps. Sometimes however for whatever reason the crown can fall off and needs to be replaced. Most likely it falls off if the child is eating something hard or chewing.

If the crown falls off along with the baby tooth attached to it, it is not an emergency or cause for concern. This may just mean that the tooth was ready to fall out and the white or silver crown was attached to it.

If however the crown falls off and its hollow on the inside and that baby tooth is still present then it needs to be replaced or re-cemented. Do not wait long in this case and call and schedule an appointment to see us within 24 hours if possible. Leaving the tooth exposed can lead to cavities, further breakdown or fracture of tooth or an infection.

Dr. Adeel Khan

 

Teaching kids to brush properly often takes creativity. Download and print these cute mini Mouth Monster posters for the bathroom mirror. Designed by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists these posters are fun visual reminders to fight the Mouth Monsters daily!.

http://mouthmonsters.mychildrensteeth.org/mini-mouth-monster-mirror-posters/

 

It is normal for babies to suck their fingers or thumb or a pacifier. It is a source of comfort.

Most children loose interest at they get older and typically outgrow these habits by age 2-3.

Children suck their thumb when they are anxious or nervous and when they are tired and about to fall asleep.

Long-term thumb sucking habits interfere with the growth and development of the teeth and the upper jaw. It makes the palate narrow and makes your upper front teeth stick out making them look like “buck teeth”. Thumb sucking can develop an open bite where the top and bottom teeth don’t overlap. In turn a child can end up needing an expander or braces to fix the maloccluded teeth.

So these are things you can try to help them get over this habit:

  1. Acknowledge the problem and take every opportunity to help the child see it as a BAD habit.
  2. Dress child in long sleeve shirt at night and tie the end of the sleeves.
  3. Paint nails with clear, bitter-tasting nail polish
  4. Offer an alternative: it is best to encourage a child who sucks fingers or a thumb to switch to a pacifier. It is easier to take away a pacifier than the thumb.
  5. Distraction: ask child to count teeth at night, or distract with other nighttime activities to help them sleep.
  6. Be consistent and stay positive!

Dr. Adeel Khan

 

Have you ever heard of a Megalodon shark? While reports differ on how long ago it lived, all agree that it was MASSIVE in size!

One South Carolina girl found two huge Megalodon teeth during her beach treasure hunt this summer. Unfortunately for the tooth fairy the girl doesn’t plan to put these teeth under her pillow. Check out the article to read more about her amazing find.

www.wmbfnews.com/story/29276945/girl-on-vacation-finds-2-massivemegalodon-teeth-at-the-beach

 

Did you know that dental decay is the most common childhood disease? It is more than twice as prevalent as childhood obesity and almost four times as prevalent as Asthma.

In our county alone childhood decay affects over 60% of children before they get their adult teeth.

While some teeth are built stronger than other teeth we tell parents and patients that most cavities can be prevented with two simple practices:

1st: Limit milk, juice and other drinks with sugar content to meals only.

2nd: Brush for 2 minutes daily with a fluoride toothpaste: after breakfast and before bed. The secret trick is spit but never rinse after brushing unless using a mouth rinse. If using a mouth rinse pick one without alcohol and that has fluoride such a ACT.

Dr. Al Burns, DDS

 

Is it hot or what?

Are you drinking bottled water constantly? Does bottled water have fluoride? It might, but it might not. If you are confused about fluoride in water the best and most comprehensive source to refer to is not what pulls up first on Google.

For a trusted source check out the Center of Disease Control website. They have facts and the data for over 50 years on fluoride.

http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/faqs/bottled_water.htm

Dr. Al Burns, DDS

 

Teething is tough on baby and parents! Dr. Edward Moody, president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (and a dad), shares helpful tips to soothe those tender gums.

Happy baby = happy parents

http://mouthmonsters.mychildrensteeth.org/teething-101-tips-from-a-dentist-and-dad/

 

Often as I am finishing an exam a parent will tell me something like:

“Will you mention to them to not sneak candy because it will give them cavities”

or

“Tell them that those Fire Cheetos and Takis are bad for their teeth”.

Is this true and what do I say? For those parents who listen closely there are two things I generally will then proceed to explain.

1 – Most cavities in kids are caused by liquids – not foods.

However, the wrong food in combination with too much time on the teeth (not enough brushing) will lead to decay. Truth is that a child could probably eat candy several times a day and if they brushed after each time they would likely not get cavities. (Same with Fire Cheetos and Takis for that matter.) So realistically I tell the child that first they should cut back on that yummy stuff a bit and then increase their brushing when they want to really snack it up.

2 – Once I talk with the kids I turn my attention to the parent.

Most kids don’t have the income to purchase all the candy and snacks they want. It is usually the parent or relative that is doing that shopping. So the best way for your child to cut back is to eliminate them from your home and not purchase them. Or purchase fewer.

Cavities in kids are generally a group effort, just like fighting them is.

Let’s keep fighting them together as a team!

Dr. Al Burns, DDS

 

Parents want the healthiest teeth and gums for their children. Some toothpaste on the market contains plastic Microbeads. These Microbeads add color and may seem like a good idea to help scrub teeth – but can be potential trouble for gums.

Check out this article form Hustonia Magazine to get the latest update on this controversial trend – and make the best dental choice for your child.

http://www.houstoniamag.com/health-and-fitness/top-dentists/articles/scrubbing-the-plastic‐out‐of‐your-toothpaste-may-2015

 

Grinding or bruxism is the usually involuntary clenching or grinding of teeth due to contraction of jaw muscles.

This is a pretty common finding in children. It is estimated that up to 20% of children up to age 11 can exhibit grinding. Although in most cases the patient and the parents are unaware because the habit usually occurs during sleep.

The cause of grinding can range from:

• Emotional stress
• Anxiety
• Sleep disorders
• Malocclusions
• Mouth breathing
• TMJ/ jaw joint problems
• A natural reaction to growth and development.

Symptoms include:

• Wear or attrition of teeth
• Irritation of supporting gum tissues – i.e. periodontal ligament
• Muscle pains or spasms usually around the temple areas.

Treatment is limited especially for children of younger ages and the good news is majority of the children outgrow the habit when they get their adult teeth or become an adolescent. If the habit of grinding continues, the focus of the treatment is to treat the underlying cause of grinding and/or make a night guard. The night guard does not cure the habit but places the muscles of the mouth in a relaxed state and treats the signs and symptoms.

Dr. Adeel Khan

 

Kids are active and accidents happen.

What do I do if my child’s tooth is knocked out?

What do I do if my child’s tooth is chipped?

Check out this link for a super helpful guide from the American Academy of Pediatric.

Dentists: http://mouthmonsters.mychildrensteeth.org/active-kids-healthy-teeth/

 

Parents love sippy cups!

This great tool helps prevent spills and encourages independence in children as they transition from a bottle to a cup.

However, this convenience often leads to prolonged and frequent use of the sippy cup – which can put children at a higher risk for dental cavities.

To help parents reduce the risk of dental cavities the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry offers parents the following guidelines on proper use of sippy cups:

  • The sippy cup is a training tool to help children transition from a bottle to a cup. It shouldn’t be used for a long period of time. It’s not a bottle and it’s not a pacifier.
  • Unless being used at mealtime, the sippy cup should only be filled with water. Frequent drinking of any other liquid, even if diluted, from a bottle or no-­‐spill training cup should be avoided.
  • Sippy cups should not be used at naptime or bedtime unless they only have water in them.

Using a sippy cup as a transitional tool and for limited duration is the best way to take advantage of this convenient cup!

For more information check out the AAPD guidelines:
http://www.mychildrensteeth.org/education/sippycup/

Dr. Adeel Khan

 

This method to remove a loose tooth comes compliments of professional wrestler Rob Venomous and People Magazine. The video on the link made us cringe to watch but all turned out well.

Disclaimer: Doctors at Alligator Dental do NOT recommend this method! Most loose teeth will come out just fine without the need to give mom a heart attack.

http://www.people.com/article/dad-pulls-loose-tooth-camaro-video

 

Ever wondered what the big “Buzz Lightyear” type gun we use at the office
for x-rays is?

It is the most cutting edge in x-ray equipment available!

Yes, x-rays and their use have been around for over 100 years but it took until just about 10 years ago to finally make them easy and portable. They also produce less radiation. Check out how cool these are and how they are helping your child get great oral care with less radiation.

www.aribex.com

Dr. Al Burns

 

Ouch! It hurts just to think about a child getting a facial injury!

Check out 5 tips from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry on how to protect your child’s face while they play.

http://www.aapd.org/take_five_sports_safety_tips_for_national_facial_protection_month/

      

 

Often parents tell me that their spouse has bad teeth and they are hoping their kids don’t get the teeth from that side of the family.

Is there any truth to this?

The truth is that two things affect teeth: Habits & Genetics.

Habits:
If habits are bad enough over a long time it doesn’t really matter whose genetics are in there the teeth will have problems. So that is why the dentist recommends brushing, diet and product advice to help make sure habits are as good as possible.

Now for genetics…
Teeth are actually very genetic. Just like my son who gets his completely random red hair from his great-great grandfather teeth are very affected by genetics. Maybe you had Bugs Bunny teeth growing up and your spouse did not. Now one of your kids looks like mom and your other child looks like dad. The strength of teeth is also very genetic and generally a blend from both parents. The truth is that you can’t choose your genetics. You don’t get to pick your teeth.

So what can you do?
Well you do all you can with what you have. Traditionally no matter what your genetics good habits in the end will win out. You may still end up with a little work here and there but generally even a weak set of teeth, with great care and lots of good habits, can last a very long time.

Dr. Al Burns, DDS

 

The Shark Tooth Fairy!

Ever heard of a Shark Tooth Fairy?

Read about Mike Harris and his enthusiasm for hiding thousands of shark teeth and other fossils on South Carolina beaches for children to discover.

http://www.wsav.com/story/28721840/update-port-royal-shark-tooth-fairy-to-stay-in-business

    

 

We have all been there. We go to the dentist and they ask the question everyone hopes to avoid. Or worse, we take our child and dread the same question because this time not only is our personal hygiene in the tank but now we look like an irresponsible parent.

The dreaded question: Have you been flossing?.

So really what is the deal? Less than 5% of people floss regularly. Yet 95% of the population doesn’t have cavities? Here is the skinny and some practical advice:

Truth #1 – If you floss well every day in addition to other good oral hygiene and diet it is virtually impossible to get a cavity. It is also nearly impossible to have this kind of dental stamina. If you do then you are amazing!

Truth #2 – Flossing in ADULT teeth significantly reduces risk for decay. However flossing in BABY teeth does not significantly reduce risk of decay.

Truth #3 – Flossing with your child should not be a fight. Brushing twice daily is hard enough to add a 3-minute wrestling match with your three-year-old attempting to floss their teeth and ending up sweaty and tied up in floss (yes – I mean the parent).☺

Truth #4 – Flossing early on with your child will ore likely turn them into the 5% of those people who floss everyday.

Truth #5 – No, you don’t have to floss between teeth with gaps in them. Most kids have gaps in their teeth.

Basically what I am saying is don’t feel guilty or get stressed if your child’s teeth did not get flossed today, or even yesterday. Flossing 1-2 times a week is probably adequate. Do not let it turn into a fight. Simply try and instill a habit that will help them later in life. However – if your child has adult teeth in it is time to get more serious. One final truth…

Truth #6 – a child is more likely to floss if they see their parents do it. Yep – back to that guilty feeling again…

Dr. Al Burns

 

Zirconia Crowns for Baby Teeth

A recent advent and trend in pediatric dentistry are zirconia (white) crowns.

Zirconia is a very strong and reliable dental material that has been commonly used in adult dentistry. A big advantage of zirconia crowns is that they are the same color as teeth and look very esthetically pleasing.

Alligator Dental was one of the first pediatric dental offices in Texas to begin using zirconia crowns and continues to do so with fantastic results.

This is a great alternative to restoring teeth with stainless steel crowns, especially on front teeth. Baby teeth need crowns if they develop a big cavity that covers more than 2 surfaces of the tooth and/or if the baby teeth needs a baby root canal or pulpotomy because of the big cavity. Anterior or front baby teeth (primary teeth) may need crowns also due to trauma or developmental defect.

Dr. Adeel Khan

 

Looking for a way to make brushing fun? An evil sorceress has cast a spell to rot teeth and the kingdom needs your help!

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists teamed up with the Ad Council to create a mobile App for Toothsavers – a fun game that helps kids track brushing 2 minutes/2x’s a day.

Check out a preview: http://www.2min2x.org/toothsavers/

 

Oral piercings have been increasingly popular among teens and young adults.

However, the dental profession and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) strongly discourage the use of oral piercings because of complications that can occur.

An oral piercing or jewelry can cause one or more of the following:

  • Pain, infection and swelling – infection can cause the tongue to swell and cause blockage of the airway.
  • Damage to gums, teeth fillings – constantly playing with the oral piercing can damage gums, fracture teeth and fillings. Piercings can also lead to localized gum disease and recession.
  • Allergic reaction to metals from the piercing.
  • Speech impediment and problems with chewing & swallowing.
  • Nerve damage – which can cause permanent or temporary numbness and altered taste.

If you have piercings:

  • Keep area and jewelry clean.
  • Avoid biting on jewelry.
  • Remove piercing when participating in any physical activity.
  • Notify a dentist if you experience pain, swelling, or other symptoms.

Ask Us! The dentists at Alligator Dental are happy to answer questions you or your child may have about oral piercings.

Reference:
ADA Oral Piercings: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/o/oral-piercings

Dr. Adeel Khan

 

It’s cool to see a child invention in the news. When the invention is good for your child’s teeth it’s super cool! Alina Morse, a 4th grader in Detroit, created a line of lollipops that promote healthy teeth for children. The key to these “healthy” lollipops is to make sure they are SUGAR-­‐FREE, using beneficial sugar substitutes such as xylitol. Xylitol helps prevent the primary bacteria responsible for cavities and reduces acid production – which helps enamel stay strong.

Read more about Alina and her Zollipops in the Detroit News!

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/2015/01/22/zollipops-­sweet-­business/22163413/

 

The newest technology in Pediatric Dentistry is Porcelain Crowns on baby teeth.

Several companies are now making them but the first was a company out of California called EZ Pedo Alligator Dental was fortunate to be the third office in Texas to start using these crowns and have done more porcelain crowns than any office in the state!

They are fantastic and very successful. They also look very natural. Feel free to look these up further at www.ezpedo.com.

Dr. Al Burns, DDS

 

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) is raising awareness for kids and parents on the importance of fighting the Mouth Monsters!

Check out this fun in-depth coverage presented by the kid anchor on the AAPD imaginary news network and help teach your children the importance of brushing for 2 minutes/2x’s a day.

http://mouthmonsters.mychildrensteeth.org/top-stories-in-tiny-teeth/

 

The Skinny on Braces

One of the most common questions I get daily is, “Do you think my child needs braces?” This is a tricky question. Braces, no matter how you look at it, are only a true necessity in the most severe of circumstances. People have had crooked teeth since the beginning of time. It has only been in the last 50 years that having straight teeth is an option to the general public. In that time, however, we have all come to have a view point on the right of passage to have braces or not.

Truth is braces are a family decision. They require input by child and parent because both are responsible for them and both feel the impact of them day to day. The child should have a desire to have braces so that they take care of them. The parent generally has to worry about appointments, transportation, and the almighty cost. It takes a team to make braces a success and for that reason all parties should be on board.

So does your child need braces? Probably not–but could they benefit from them? Well, in our office we give your child a grade based on the ideal smile that all orthodontists strive to achieve. If your child has minor issues they may get an A or B+. If they have larger issues they may receive a C or D. With this information you can weigh the cost and sacrifice of getting braces against the benefits and outcomes. You can go along way in life with A grades. You can also make it in life with a C but we all know the value of grades differs family by family. Teeth are no different. They are a personal decision for the family. We can help you know where you sit, however, so make sure to ask us what grade we gave your child with their smile.

Dr. Al Burns, DDS

 

Food for Thought!

Fruits and veggies that are firm & crunchy are excellent for dental health.
High water content dilutes sugars and stimulates saliva – which protects against tooth decay.

Can recess encourage kids to eat more fruits & veggies?

 

Check out the answer!

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2015/01/19/how-recess-can-get-children-to-eat-more-fruits-veggies/

 

Brush 2 minutes / 2 times a day!

Most parenting is hard to do in just 2 min – but teaching kids to brush for 2 min 2 times a day is easy!

Check out this cute PSA developed by the Ad Council in partnership with the American Dental Association.

http://shar.es/1bBvUD

Also – visit 2min2x.org for a “Toothsavers” mobile game app and other activities that encourage kids to keep their smiles healthy and bright!

 

Xylitol: The “Good” Sugar

You may have heard about xylitol and its use in chewing gum.

Xylitol is sugar derived from forest and agricultural materials.

 

How Xylitol works:


Xylitol works by preventing Streptococcus Mutans – the primary bacteria responsible for initiation of cavities. It also helps reduce acid production, preventing demineralization of tooth structure.
Products with Xylitol:

  • Chewing gum
  • Mints
  • Lozenges
  • Syrups

Check ingredients list to ensure a product contains xylitol. Chewing gum with xylitol after meals also promotes salivation that helps flush the bad bacteria to prevent cavities.

Who should use Xylitol?

Studies show regular use of xylitol by mothers significantly reduces bacterial transmission, resulting in fewer cavities for the child. Children under 4 years of age should not use mints, gum and lozenges due to chocking hazard.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends using 3-8 grams per day in divided doses, at least two times a day.

Precautions: Always consult a pediatric dentist before using xylitol products for your child. They should be used for kiddos who are at risk for cavities. Side effects of overdose include gas and diarrhea.

Reference: AAPD Guidelines on Xylitol:

http://www.aapd.org/media/Policies_Guidelines/G_XylitolUse.pdf

Dr. Adeel Khan

 

How does it feel to have 80 teeth?

Ask an alligator! According to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park an alligator has 80 teeth in their mouth at a time.

One 7-year-old boy in India had the chance to experience how this could feel. Surgeons spent nearly four hours removing 80 teeth from his upper jaw.

Follow this link to read more about this amazing story.

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/12/29/surgeons-remove-80-teeth-from-boys-jaw/

 

 

 

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful ~
But my sweet baby is so delightful!

Baby kisses are the best! Getting close and snuggly with those cute chubby cheeks and sharing Eskimo kisses is one of the perks of having a baby. When the temperature drops and family gathers for the holidays those sweet babies get extra doses of loving kisses!

In the world of dentistry, the war against cavities is often focused on controlling the number of very specific cavity-causing bacteria. Studies have shown the primary way infants acquire these cavity-causing bacteria is through oral transmission in mother-child interactions. These interactions include sharing eating utensils and kissing on the mouth. Infants are most susceptible to these bacteria between the ages of 19-31 months.

This does NOT mean you should not kiss your child – or allow great-grandma Tilly to give kisses. However, there are a few important measures that moms can take to decrease the chances of transmitting cavity-causing bacteria to their infants and toddlers:

  • Ensure optimal personal dental health.Mothers should have their own dental health as a priority in order to decrease the amount of cavity-causing bacteria in their own mouth. This consists of maintaining a superior dental oral hygiene regimen and seeing a dentist every six months.

  • Limit sharing eating utensils with infants.Infants and toddlers should have their own utensils that are not shared with any other family member – including Aunt Beth or cousin Ted.

  • Brush your child’s mouth as directed by your Pediatric Dentist.While you may not be able to control the dental health of others or incidental utensil sharing you can give your child the best chance at a healthy mouth by cleaning their gums and teeth twice daily.

 


This holiday season enjoy kissing those cute plump cheeks and giving healthy kisses to your sweet baby – they grow up way too fast!

Dr. Al Burns, DDS

 

Stocking Stuffers!

The Christmas season is one of my favorite times of the year. With a house full of young children I particularly enjoy finding each a little gift that will make them smile. Being a pediatric dentist those beautiful smiles are always on my mind. We have a tradition that each stocking is stuffed with some fun dental treats in addition to the usual small surprises.

Here are some great ideas to start this tradition in your home:

Toothbrushwith an emphasis on holiday sweets a new toothbrush can be a great stocking stuffer. Any basic brush can work as long as it has a soft bristle. To really add pizzazz go with an electronic toothbrush.

  • Oral B carries a full line of great spin brushes that are economical and can have the batteries swapped out. These are great for kids between ages 3-10.
  • For families with adolescents Sonicare makes a children’s Sonic toothbrush that is very effective and cool. It is more expensive but with changeable heads can last a couple of years.
 

Other fun products:

  • Small bag of flossers
  • Sugar free gum
  • Gum made with Xylitol – a sweetener that actually fights cavities
  • New toothbrush case – especially handy for children with braces that need after lunch brushing
  • Travel sized mouth rinse – alcohol free to prevent burning!

Adding a little dental hygiene to your child’s stocking sends a great message, and helps mom and dad feel a bit better about all the accompanying sweets!


~ from all of us at Alligator Dental!

Dr. Al Burns, DDS

 

It’s Holiday Time!!!

It can be tough keeping up on daily routines when the excitement of the holiday season starts.

Brushing before bed for example! With extra social activities and school routines changing many kids have a tough time remembering to take time to brush their teeth before bed.

 

Here is a quick reminder to remember to brush those pearly whites!

  1. When going to sleep without brushing, all the food and drinks you have had before bedtime stick to your teeth and in between your teeth while you sleep and eat away at the enamel of your teeth.
  2. Saliva is what keeps cavity-causing plaque off your teeth and it dries up at night so it’s better to have all the plaque cleaned off your teeth before going to bed.
  3. Cavities are not the only bad thing that can happen if you do not brush at night. Not brushing at night can also cause gingivitis, which is a gum disease. Gingivitis is the number one cause of tooth loss!!!
  4. Last but not least, when you are brushing at night DO NOT forget to brush your tongue! Debris and bacteria can collect on your tongue and cause bad breath.

Remember: BRUSHING 2 TIMES A DAY KEEPS THE CAVITY BUGS AWAY!!!


Jennifer Santos – Treatment Assistant Alligator Dental Seguin

 

Working with the Teething Blues

A common concern for parents with infants is how to deal with the discomfort of teething. The first tooth can erupt as early as 6 months of age and the baby teeth continue to grow until about 3 years of age.

When teeth are erupting a child can experience localized discomfort, become irritable, have excessive salivation leading to drooling, and chew on everything in site!

 

 

Tips to soothe:

  • Chilled rings
  • Oral pain medicine
  • Clean, cold washcloth
  • Avoid over the counter teething tablets or gels because of potential for toxicity

 

Keep in mind:

  • Cold like symptoms are common
  • If child develops high fever contact pediatrician

Teething is part of growing up! No two children are alike – some children experience more discomfort than others.

Keeping tiny teeth healthy is vital to a healthy, happy baby.

Remember to make an appointment with your awesome pediatric dentist at Alligator Dental when your child is 6 months old!


Dr. Adeel Khan

 

Fall Sports & Safety

With Back-to-School comes fall sports!

I wanted to bring the topic of safety to the forefront. It is estimated that about 32% of injuries in children occur during sports activities. Not all sports mandate the use of proper safety equipment such as mouthguards.
 

Here are some suggestions to help prevent or at
least reduce the severity of sports related injuries:

  • Always wear protective equipment such as helmets,
    facemasks and mouthguards.
  • A mouthguard has shown to be effective in reducing the frequency and severity of injuries to the teeth and surrounding structures.
  • The Academy for Sports Dentistry recommends a custom fit mouthguard made by dentist to allow for proper fit. However, a boil and bite and stock guards are acceptable in certain cases. Remember wearing a mouthguard is better than not
    wearing one at all.
  • If an unfortunate accident does occur, remember to seek a professional opinion. Pediatric dentists are extensively trained in dealing with all kinds of injuries to children’s teeth and oral structures.
  • Also importantly if the injury results in an avulsion of a permanent tooth (tooth falls out completely), store it in a Hank’s Balanced Salt Solution also known as Save a Tooth solution, which can be available through the school nurse. If this is not available store the tooth in cold milk. Make every effort to see a dentist within the hour if possible.

Stay safe and have a great start to the school year!

Dr. Adeel Khan

 

Back to School Shopping – for TEETH!


One thing on everyone’s mind in August is Back to School Shopping. It is the one shopping trip each year that I dread. Yes, I too have fought crowds of people over the last box of crayons or taken a dive to the bottom of the glue stick bin.

What should be on your child’s Back to School list to prepare them for the daily fight against dental decay?

Here is a one simple list for every child in your home:

 

  • Toothbrush:  Either electric or regular this is the pencil to your child’s brushing homework.
  • Toothpaste:   Only one rule here. Must have fluoride as an active ingredient. Everything else is up for choosing.
  • Floss:   Most children prefer the individual disposable flossers. Try the dollar store for a reliable but inexpensive supply.
  • Timer:   Your child needs to develop a sense of time when brushing. Find something fun to use – or use the one we give after each dental appointment!
  • Mouth rinse:   This is optional but can be a great addition.


Recommit to a new and improved oral hygiene plan at home this school year!

Swing through the oral care section between trying to find that set of special markers no one can seem to find and the three ring binders with waterproof sleeves.



Your child’s teeth will thank you!


Dr. Al Burns, DDS

 

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

But it can be hard to see inside little mouths…

Alligator Dental is using a great new tool
The Intraoral Camera
to solve this dilemma.
 


The Intraoral Camera is a small digital camera that looks like a pen. This tool greatly helps in creating excellent image records to track dental changes over time and allows dentists to see cracks and cavities too small for the naked eye. The camera also allows parents to see exactly what the dentist is seeing – increasing our ability to coordinate dental care with the parents. Pictures are printed out for the parent to take home for reference. These pictures are a great way to point out what children need to focus on and remind them to limit their sugar intake.

The Intraoral Camera is a fantastic resource! Alligator Dental is excited to use cutting edge technology to benefit our "Little Gators"!


Vanessa – Clinical Manager at Alligator Dental, Seguin Office


Summer is here!

That means when you and your family are outside, you need to…

Hydrate, Hydrate,

HYDRATE!

So what things are best to drink and still keep your children’s teeth safe and healthy?

1) Water!

Water is your child’s best option for keeping hydrated. Water contains fluoride – with beneficial vitamins to keep teeth strong and cavity free!

We recommend water as the best option for:

  • snack time
  • in-between meals
  • bed time

For those of you who have children who are not big fans of plain water, try tricks to make water more exciting:

  • add ice
  • add frozen fruit – blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, kiwi, grapes – best to use with a straw to reduce choking hazard
  • keep their favorite glass with their favorite character or color for water only
  • add a fun twisty straw

2) Sugar-Free Liquid Sweeteners (like Mio). A few drops can be added to a glass of ice water to help add just a little flavor for those children who don’t like plain water.

A low sugar diet is an important factor in reducing cavities. Limit juice and carbonated drinks – and keep them to meals only.

Carbonated drinks contain phosphoric and citric acids that erode tooth enamel.

 


Laura – Front Office Manager at Alligator Dental, Seguin Office


Lazy Days of Summer? NOT for teeth!

June symbolizes a significant change in a child’s routines. School comes to an end, kids sleep in, and kids stay up later and often brushing diminishes.

I cannot tell you how many patients we see in the office who tell us that their teeth are on a summer vacation as well.

 

There is no vacation for teeth!

In fact even though the candy season is over until Halloween, the summer is the toughest season of all on teeth as kids beverage consumption doubles – often with sugary drinks.

Renew your efforts!

• Post a brushing guide in your kid’s bathroom.
• Buy a new spin brush.
• Make it different and fun in some way and keep the cavity bugs away.


Dr. Al Burns, DDS


Our goal at Alligator Dental is to help children establish good habits that lay a foundation for a lifetime of healthy teeth.

One great way to keep those little mouths clean is using an
oral rinse.

We have many people ask about mouth rinses for their children. Once a child has mastered the ability to rinse and spit a mouth rinse is a great addition to the brushing routine.

There are 3 major categories of rinses for children:

1. Traditional Rinse – Used to control bacteria by sterilizing the mouth and fighting bacteria that causes gingivitis and bad breath.

Great for:

• Kids over age 10 who are at low risk for decay
• Children with gingivitis or bad breath issues

Recommended: Crest Pro Health
• Non-alcohol brand
• Use after brushing is complete

2. Disclosing Agent Rinse – Used to show children where to target their brushing. Rinse temporarily stains plaque on teeth.
Great for:
• All ages – very popular with young children
• Children with history of plaque build-up

Recommended: Agent Cool Blue
• Adds fun element to brushing!
• Use before brushing

3. Fluoride Rinse – Used to help harden and re-mineralize teeth.
Great for:

• Children with history of cavities
• Children & Adults with high risk for cavities

Recommended: ACT
• Use after brushing – before bedtime
• Allow to soak into teeth while sleeping

~Happy Rinsing!


Dr. Al Burns, DDS

Greatest Anti-Cavity Invention: Sealants!

Next to fluoride the greatest anti-cavity invention in the last 100 years has been the development of sealants.

Sealants are a plastic material that starts out as a liquid and looks much like finger nail polish. Just like you would caulk your bathtub to keep mildew from growing in the cracks and edges, sealants fill in the cracks and crevices of your teeth (typically back teeth only) to prevent bacteria from settling in where you cannot brush, weakening the tooth, and starting a cavity.

Before sealants are placed the tooth is cleaned, prepared with an acid primer, and dried. When the sealant is placed it is runny and soaks into the cracks and crevices of the tooth. It is then hardened with an ultraviolet light causing the sealant to become hard like the tooth and making the surface of the tooth feel smooth like glass. This causes a temporary change in the bite and it takes about 24 hours to adjust to the new feeling.

Sealants are typically placed on adult molars once they are fully grown in, around age 6-7, and again around age 12-13.

Sealants are generally only 20% of the cost of the fillings they prevent!

Feel free to ask if your child is a good candidate for sealants – we can let you
know if this service is right for you.


Dr. Al Burns, DDS

Happy New Year
from
Alligator Dental!

We all keep track of so much in our busy lives these days! Seasons change quickly, and most of us have some favorites: Duck Hunting Season, Baseball Season, and Volleyball Season.

It’s a brand new year – and we are finally midway through the “Candy Season”!

What is Candy Season, you ask? It’s the time of year from Halloween all the way to Easter that is jam-packed with holidays that celebrate with CANDY! With all those choices for your little ones to have, here are some candies to avoid, and some to allow (in moderation of course!)

The Bad Stuff: * Sticky & Gooey! These candies like fruit snacks, Starbursts, and gummies can stick in the grooves of your little ones’ teeth for HOURS after they finished eating!

*Sour! These candies back in the pucker, as well as the acids! Acidic foods can wear away enamel and start cavities quickly!

*Hard Candies! Suckers, jaw breakers and Jolly Ranchers all stay in your mouth for a looong time while you slowly suck or lick them away, keeping the sugars on your teeth for an extended time, making those cavity bugs work quickly!

The Good Stuff: *Chocolate! It melts away quickly and doesn’t stick around! Keep in mind, moderation is the key! It’s best to keep sugary snacks like chocolate to an after-meal dessert and always make sure to brush the sugars away twice a day!

We hope you and your family enjoy a blessed New Year, and hope as the rest of the Candy Season continues, you can use this as a guide to some good candy choices for your little gators!


Dr. Debbie S. DeKay

New Patient Visit at Alligator Dental

Check out this cool video shared by a happy mom!

The children featured were enjoying their first dental visit to Alligator Dental in San Marcos, Texas. Looks like the kids – and mom – had a great first visit!

“All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth!”

Bumps, trips and falls seem to happen all the time with young children, especially as they are learning to walk and run. Kids of any age that have had trauma to their teeth, whether minor or major, can end up having consequences down the road on their teeth.

Here are some things to look for following a bump to the mouth:

1. Baby tooth changing color. Many times following trauma, baby teeth end up with a permanent bruise, changing them to grey, yellow, or even black. As long as the tooth is not causing pain and no signs of infection are present, the baby tooth will last until its’ time to go to the toothfairy. If the trauma happened to an adult tooth and it changes color to grey or black, this will most likely need treatment at our office.

2. The tooth starts an infection. Baby teeth and adult teeth that have been bumped can start an infection down the road. After a tooth has been bumped, keep an eye on the tooth when your child brushes their teeth, as an infection can start at any time following trauma, even months or years later. The most common sign is a small pimple-like swelling on the gums above or below the tooth. The tooth may or may not be painful. Lip swelling and pain are also signs that an infection may have started and should be checked out by our office.

3. The tooth gets knocked out. Once in a while, a tooth gets bumped hard enough that it comes out. If the tooth is a baby tooth, NEVER PUT THE TOOTH BACK IN PLACE, as you could push it into the adult tooth under it and cause damage. If the tooth is an adult tooth, find the tooth and ONLY pick it up by the crown (NOT the end that comes to a point). If the tooth is dirty, rinse the tooth for a MAXIMUM of 10 seconds under running water. Try to put tooth back in its’ place and bite on a handkerchief to hold it in place. If you cannot replace the tooth, it’s best to place it in cold milk in the child’s own mouth by their cheek, or have them spit in a cup and place the tooth in the spit. Seek dental treatment immediately.

We hope you have a safe and healthy holiday season!



Dr. Debbie S. DeKay

Tips to Combat the Halloween Candy Dilemma

With Halloween coming the candy season has begun and will run until Easter.
We get asked a lot about candy at the office. Surprisingly candy itself doesn’t account for much a lot of the dental decay we see. However here are some tips to keep candy from becoming a dental problem.

First candy that is sucked on or sticks to the teeth is the worst. (Yes that means you chocolate lovers are the best off). At the Burns house getting candy is part of being a kid but it is done in moderation. For example on Halloween night everyone can eat whatever they want for 30 minutes. Then after a great night of brushing, all hard and sticky candy gets removed and the rest is given in small doses over the upcoming weeks.

Sugar affects teeth but it takes time. It is actually not the amount of candy kids get, but how long it stays on their teeth. Brushing within 30 minutes of eating candy will eliminate almost all risk for decay. Make it a post Halloween candy party!

Good luck in keeping candy time short!

Dr. Al Burns, DDS


X-Ray Myth Busters

At Alligator Dental we strive to give children the highest quality dental care. To do so we recommend, based on decay risk, children receive either annual or semi annual dental x rays. Our doctors will help determine that risk with you.

X-rays are a critically valuable diagnostic tool but there is a lot of misinformation about the safety of the radiation caused by x-rays. Let me ease your mind. A typical set of x-rays has the equivalent radiation as an afternoon spent outside playing. Even so, at Alligator Dental we take safety seriously. We use digital x-ray sensors and portable x-ray delivery systems that decrease the radiation by an additional 80%. We also use lead lined shields with thyroid collars to eliminate all scatter radiation. This makes the dosage of radiation so low that your child gets a similar dose of radiation walking to and from the car at our office as from the x-rays themselves.

This is just another way we strive to bring you great quality dental care with you and your children’s needs in mind. Dr. Al Burns, DDS

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