Sedation Appointments Demystified

At South Valley Pediatric dentistry, we know that cavities and fillings can be frightening for children, so we do everything in our power to make children feel comfortable and calm while they have dental treatment done. Sometimes this means one of our dentists will propose a treatment plan that includes sedation in one form or another. In children with high anxiety, very young children, or patients with special needs, sedation appointments can help them get dental work done which they otherwise would not be able to sit still for. However, parents sometimes find that sedation appointments can feel unfamiliar and frightening. We strive to provide all the information necessary to help parents feel at ease about these various treatment options, and the benefits and risks of each type of sedation.

Our dentists may suggest one of three types of sedation depending on the age, comfort level, special needs, and behavioral history of your child:

  1. Oral Sedation: Dr. Chamberlain and Dr. Bower often recommend Oral Sedation for children who fight their initial dental cleanings and examinations. During an Oral Sedation, children swallow medicine which calms them down and makes them very sleepy. Sometimes Oral Sedation will put the child completely to sleep, but often they will stay slightly alert, which allows the dentist to communicate with them during treatment. This mild form of sedation generally works well for children who need a little help to make the visit less scary.
  2. In-Office IV Sedation: If necessary, the dentist may instead advise an IV sedation to be done in our office. During an IV sedation an anesthesiologist comes to our office. He or she will administer medicine through a small shot, which puts the child completely asleep. To help the child ignore this unpleasant poke, a dental assistant will encourage the child to pick out a prize while the anesthesiologist gives the medicine. Often patients are not even aware that they’ve had a shot. Once the child is completely asleep, the anesthesiologist monitors breathing and heart rate while the dentist completes all necessary dental work.
  3. Hospital Visit: Occasionally, very young children (especially those younger than three), patients with special needs, or children who need extensive dental treatment may go to the hospital for a sedation. The hospital has doctors, nurses, and anesthesiologists available in case of emergency in addition to your usual dentist and dental assistants, who will preform all dental work under IV sedation.

All three forms of sedation have the added benefit of allowing the child to partially or completely forget the experience, which means they won’t have continuing fear of their dentist or dental office. Not every child requires sedation, but for those who do, having sedation options available can make dental work go much more smoothly. For more information about the various types of sedations we offer, call our office at 801-489-1301. Our staff is happy to address any questions or concerns regarding sedation appointments.


Life Hacks: Back to School

Every child wants to look and feel his or her best on the first day of school, and a healthy smile can go a long way. Unfortunately, with all the hustle and bustle of returning to school, dental health can sometimes be your last priority. Here are some simple tricks for keeping teeth looking and feeling their best during this busy time of the year.

Don’t Rush the Brush

Mornings are often the busiest time of the day, but even if you find yourself grabbing breakfast to-go, kids can still brush their teeth in the morning. Keep a travel toothbrush in the car or your child’s backpack for those mornings when you just can’t find time to brush at home. Even if they don’t use toothpaste, brushing breakfast away from those pearly whites will still prevent cavities and keep your child’s smile healthy and clean.

Wear your Water

Not only is water the best way to keep kids hydrated, it’s also the best beverage for their teeth. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for children to get enough water while at school. Clipping a water bottle to a backpack, belt loop, or lunchbox can help kids remember to drink enough water throughout the day. Even better, many reusable water bottles come with fun designs and characters on them, which makes drinking healthy much more fun.

Send Healthy Snacks
When kids are at school, they often have access to a variety of foods that mom and dad might not approve of. From sharing cookies with friends, to candy rewards from teachers, to chocolate milk at lunch, the opportunities for delicious, tooth rotting sugar are endless. Giving kids healthy, low-sugar snacks can help lessen the impact of all that sugar and give them another option to combat mid-day tummy rumbles. Try edamame beans, which are low in sugar and high in protein and fiber to keep your children full and alert in class.

This time of year can be equally exciting and frightening, but being prepared with a few quick back to school life hacks like these can help make the transition back to regular life much more enjoyable!

Dental Care for Infants and Toddlers

A common myth about dental care for children suggests that baby teeth matter less than adult teeth since they will eventually fall out. In reality, baby teeth play a vital role in talking, chewing and saving space for eventual permanent teeth. At South Valley Pediatric Dentistry we urge parents to care for baby teeth as soon as they erupt (and even before, but that’s a blog post all it’s own) to prevent dental pain and premature loss of those important baby teeth. Here are some tips for home dental care with infants and toddlers:tb

1. Tooth brushing – Brush small children’s teeth gently with a soft bristle brush. Help your child every day until they’re old enough to tie their own shoelaces. When they have the dexterity and concentration required to tie shoes, that means they are also capable of brushing thoroughly enough to prevent dental problems. After that just check that they’re getting the back molars and all four quadrants thoroughly.

water2. Drinking – Water is the healthiest drink for teeth as well as for your child. Only give your child juice about once a day with meals. If your child will only drink juice, water it down about halfway to dilute the sugars that harm teeth.

Children should also avoid milk before bed. Milk contains natural sugars called lactose. When milk is the last thing in a baby’s mouth before bed, the milk sugars begin to wear down the teeth, which leads to a condition known as bottle rot. Water should always be the last thing in your child’s mouth before bed or nap time.

Toothache23. Sweet Snacking – Avoid sticky, sugary foods like gummy candies and fruit snacks, which can stick to the teeth and cause cavities and decay. Fresh or dried fruit can often replace candy and fruit snacks, if your child has a major sweet tooth. Hint: Try frozen grapes (which have a satisfying sweetness and an ice cream like texture) instead of sticky popsicles and dried cranberries instead of fruit snacks.

4. Ban Biting: Discourage fingernail and object biting. Foreign materials can damage teeth and create microscopic fissures (cracks) on the teeth, which are the perfect spot for bacteria and plaque to hide. Check out this article from Baby Center to learn more about how to stop nail biting.

What’s With Water?

Nutritionists, Doctors and Dentists agree that water is the best beverage for your overall health. But what makes water so special? Water has many properties that contribute to its reputation as the healthiest drink of all.

Best for hydration:

Our bodies need water to perform every essential function for life, and they loose a lot of water throughout the day, so we have to keep replacing those fluids to make everything tick. Other drinks, like soda pop and juice, contain sugar, sodium and/or caffeine which can actually worsen dehydration. Water provides clean hydration, without any of the extra ingredients that make you thirstier. To learn more about how proper hydration affects your body read this article by Dr. Len Kravitz of the University of New Mexico.

Best for your waistline:

Few things help with maintaining a healthy weight like drinking enough water. For one thing, our bodies can often mistake thirst for hunger, so staying hydrated can reduce food cravings throughout the day and increase feelings of fullness after meals. Water also has zero calories, which means choosing water instead of caloric beverages like juice, milk or soda pop can greatly reduce ones daily calorie intake. Not only that but  studies (such as this one from the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism) have concluded that drinking water improves metabolism, which means the foods we eat are digested more efficiently. All of that means getting enough water is key in healthy weight loss, proper nutrition and living a balanced life.

Best for your smile:

The American Dental Association has a fantastic article explaining all the reasons why water is great for your teeth. Specifically, most other drinks contain excess sugar. Plaque, tartar, cavities and tooth decay all come from sugars sticking to your teeth. Even milk – which most consider to be a healthy beverage – isn’t great for teeth, because it can leave natural sugars called lactose on teeth. Not only is water completely sugar free, but water helps wash away the sugars that cause dental problems, making water one of the best things in the world for your smile.

Drinking More Water:

Adding more super-healthy water to your life can be easy and tasty too. If you’re a soda junkie like me, try drinking carbonated water with a few lemon wedges squeezed in. You’ll get that satisfying tingle from the carbonation, without any of the calories or caffeine from soda. If you’re a regular juice drinker, diluting juice glasses about halfway will minimize the sugar and maximize the hydration. Of course these tricks mean your drink of choice won’t be as sweet, but soon you’ll find yourself adjusting to drinks with less sugar, which is a health boost in itself. Milk is best when drunk with meals and followed by a big glass of H2O to rinse out the leftover sugar, boost your metabolism and hydrate your body.

Three things I learned from working in Dentistry

Before becoming a receptionist at South Valley Pediatric Dentistry, I knew very little about dental health. Working with our wonderful dentists, assistants and patients has taught me a lot about dental care that I might never have realized otherwise. I now know more than I ever thought I would! Here are a few of the helpful realizations I’ve had while working at SVPD.

1. Insurance is not just important, it’s absolutely vital: Dental work is expensive. I had no idea that a mouthful of cavities could cost upwards of thousands of dollars, but we genuinely see cases that costly every day. Brushing, flossing and getting regular check-ups can help prevent some expensive procedures from being necessary, but sometimes accidents and trauma can damage teeth, sometimes people just have weak enamel, or sometimes kids refuse to brush. Any number of things can cause serious dental problems and when they come, dental insurance becomes a life saver. Not to mention all the money it saves you on routine and preventive procedures, like cleanings and exams. I never want to be without it.

2. Bottle rot is a thing: Before I worked here, I had no idea you couldn’t send kids to bed with bottles of milk at night. Parents do it on television all the time! I’ve found that many parents aren’t aware of this either. Some of the most severe cases of tooth decay we see come from having milk during bed time. In order to prevent this, make sure that water is always the last thing in your child’s mouth at night. Water washes away potentially harmful sugars and other contaminants which cause decay.

3. Shark tooth is totally normal: Sometimes baby teeth won’t come out on their own. When this happens the adult tooth will sometimes grow in above or below the baby tooth giving you two teeth in one spot. We see several of these a month. Parents are often confused when a shark tooth pops up in their child’s mouth, but we’re totally used to scheduling routine extractions to correct this common dental problem. While it does need to be addressed early on to prevent future orthodontic issues, parents need not panic if they see a shark tooth or two in their child’s mouth.

You don’t have to work in a dental office to learn important facts about dental care, but some things become much clearer when seen through the lens of a dental professional. At South Valley Pediatric Dentistry, we get questions about everything from teething to dentures and are always happy to help people get the best information possible. Our highly trained and friendly staff are excited to answer questions regarding Dental Insurance, bottle rot, shark tooth and so much more. Call our office at 801-489-1301 for more information!

Find Dory at your Dentist

Our patients love looking at the colorful saltwater fish in our dental office. Like the characters in the children’s classic “Finding Nemo” and it’s new sequel “Finding Dory”, Dr. Chamberlain has a collection of bright saltwater fish. Here are a few of our favorites to look for when you visit.

Nemo: Clown Fish – recognizable by his bright orange and white stripes and rounded fins, Nemo lives in the Springville front office aquarium.
Tigger: Flame Anglefish – Just like it’s colorful name suggests, this saltwater fish is darker orange with a blue tipped dorsal fin. His black stripes earned him the name Tigger. See if you can find him in our front aquarium.
Little Blue: Purple Tang – This bright blueish-purple fish might look familiar, but she is not the same kind of fish as our friend Dory. Blue is related to Dory but different in a few key ways. Purple tangs don’t have black stripes along their backs and are closer in color to Violet or bluish-purple than the bright blue of the Blue Tang. Little Blue lives in the waiting room aquarium with Nemo and two Yellow Tang friends.
Pongo: Panther Grouper – Pongo gets his name from his black and white polka-dots, which look quite a bit like a Dalmatian’s spots. As a larger carnivorous fish, Pongo lives in the circular tank with our two saltwater sharks!
Mike and Ike: Bamboo Sharks – One all gray, the other brown with leopard-like spots, Mike and Ike are brothers who fight over food but really love each other. Look for them in our circular tank surrounding the open bay dental hygiene area.
Dory: Blue Tang –  Dory lives In our office waiting room. She is blue with black stripes and a yellow tail, just like our friend from the newest Pixar movie!
blue tang-700x700

Prepping for the first check-up: The three W’s

A child’s first dental exam is an important milestone! Like many such milestones, dental check-ups can leave a lasting impression, and depending on that first exposure, can lead to positive or negative experiences in the future. Unfortunately, some children have a preexisting fear of clinical settings, such as doctor’s offices, which can trigger unpleasant memories and cause fear or discomfort during the first check-up. Regardless of past experiences, walking a child through the steps of a dental exam beforehand can help him or her understand the new experience and make future dental visits a breeze.

Here is one way to explain dental check-ups to small children:

The Three W’s

  • Why?:

We get regular check-ups to help our teeth stay healthy and strong. We need our teeth for eating and talking, so we want to take very good care of them. Unhealthy teeth can hurt, look bad and even sometimes fall out forever, which makes it hard to eat our favorite foods.

  • Who?:

The dentist is a person who knows a lot about teeth. He or she knows how to help teeth stay healthy and how to fix sick teeth.

-The dental assistants help us with our check-ups and they help the dentist too.

  • What?:

Pictures: The dentist uses special pictures to see the insides of your teeth and check that everything is safe and healthy. The dental assistants will take these pictures using an x-ray machine. You will need to sit very still and bite on a piece of paper so that the pictures show up clearly and the dentist can see your teeth.

Toothbrush:The assistants use a special kind of toothbrush to make your teeth shiny and clean. Dental assistants know how to clean teeth really well. Cleaning your teeth keeps germs out of them, which keeps you and your teeth healthy and strong. While the assistant cleans your teeth, you can watch a movie or play a game, if you want to.

Tools: After your teeth are all clean, the Dentist counts your teeth using a metal mirror and some other special tools. While counting, the dentist will check each tooth and tell us if they all look good and strong.

Fluoride: After the dentist checks your teeth, the assistants will paint special vitamins on your teeth. These vitamins make your teeth very strong. Strong teeth stay healthier, which means you can chew all your favorite foods.

Gifts: At the end of your visit the dentist or assistant will give you a goody bag with your own toothpaste and floss. They will even give you a toy or prize if you are good!

In the end…

Every child is different, and no one knows your special little one better than you, so you may want to change some of the wording according to the comfort level of your child. The important thing is to be honest and open about dental check-ups, so they are prepared for what lies ahead.