Skip to content

As children enter their teenage years, it’s natural for them to want to express themselves. But if your teen’s desired form of self-expression is an oral piercing, it may fill you with dismay. First, be aware that minors may not get an oral piercing without parental consent. But if you feel that you should support your child, it’s important for both of you to be aware of the complications of oral piercings as discussed by your pediatric dentist in Overland Park, KS

At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, we offer great dental care for youth of all ages. We understand that each stage of childhood brings new challenges, and we want to help parents face these challenges with our knowledge and expertise. Whether your child already faces dental complications as a result of an oral piercing, or you are simply trying to discourage them from making this decision, we invite you to schedule an appointment with us.

Contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids today.

What are oral piercings?

There are several types of oral piercings, but tongue piercings are by far the most common. Most frequently, the tongue is pierced in the middle. But the tip can also be pierced. Some people opt to have two piercings on either side of the tongue.

Other locations for oral piercings can include the lip, cheek, uvula, or frenum (the tissue that attaches the tongue to the bottom of the mouth.)

Oral Piercings and Dental Health

Oral piercings can cause tooth erosion, as the mouth jewelry comes in frequent contact with the teeth. This is especially common with tongue tip piercings. This type of piercing can also lead to diastema, or a gap between the two front teeth, particularly if a person continuously manipulates his or her tongue piercing. 

Oral Piercings and Gum Health

Periodontal complications are even more common following an oral piercing. In fact, 50% of those with lip piercings and 44% of those with tongue piercings have reported gum erosion. In turn, receding gums can dramatically affect a person’s appearance, giving their teeth an elongated look. Even more alarming, gum recession can lead to exposed tooth roots, severe dental sensitivity, and tooth loss

Further, without vigilant hygiene and cleanings, oral piercings often trap and harbor bacteria, which can cause tooth decay and gum disease. 

Oral Piercings and Overall Health Complications 

Aside from dental complications, oral piercings can be dangerous for systemic health. For one, the tongue is a highly vascular area, so if the piercing is not performed properly, it can lead to prolonged bleeding. The tongue could also swell, which could block the airway and cause difficulty breathing

Though rare, mouth jewelry could become embedded in other soft tissues, necessitating surgical removal. And some people have experienced life threatening complications because of their oral piercings. For all of these reasons, the American Dental Association (and your pediatric dentist in Overland Park, KS) advise against this practice. 

Book an Appointment for Your Teen with a Pediatric Dentist in Overland Park, KS

Think your teen might be more receptive to advice coming from someone else? Feel free to book an appointment with us!

Contact us online or give us a call at (913) 685-9990. 

Smiles Dentistry For Kids

14700 Metcalf Ave, Suite 110
Overland Park, KS 66223
(913) 685-9990
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm

Get in Touch

"*" indicates required fields

Do you want to receive an email about promotions, news, etc?
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Dental care seems straightforward. And certainly there are some established guidelines; brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits are standard protocol. But if you want to give your child the best possible oral health, there are a few unexpected tips that you should know. Of course, along with dental care at home, it is important to find a great pediatric dentist in Overland Park, KS

At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, Dr. Matt and Dr. Craven are passionate about giving children a solid foundation for lifelong oral health. Preventive care is our focus, including exams and cleanings, as well as patient and parent education. But when problems do arise, we are ready to address them with low-stress, kid-friendly treatments. 

For more tips about dental care to to schedule your appointment with a pediatric dentist in Overland Park, KS, contact our office today.

1. Oral Care Should Begin Even Before Your Child Has Teeth!

Even before your child has teeth, oral bacteria can still build up in the mouth, feeding off of the starches in breast milk or formula. Since you won’t always know that a tooth is erupting, it’s a good idea to start cleaning your baby’s gums at a very young age. This will also acclimate your child to oral care and may make tooth brushing easier in the long run.

To clean your infant’s gums, simply wipe them down with a soft cloth or piece of gauze.

2. Start Dental Visits Early On

Just as oral care should begin much earlier than you might expect, so should dental visits. The American Dental Association recommends that children have their first dental visits soon after their first tooth comes in and no later than their first birthdays. Even if your child hasn’t started teething by twelve months, you should schedule an appointment. 

Your pediatric dentist in Overland Park, KS, believes so firmly in the importance of early dental visits that we offer free exams and cleanings for children under age 2.

3. Have Your Child Brush Before Breakfast

Brushing first thing in the morning will remove the bacteria that build up overnight. It may also help to protect teeth against acid in breakfast foods, and it can promote saliva production. 

If your after-breakfast brushing routine is set, wait at least 30 minutes after eating to keep from rubbing food particles into your child’s tooth enamel. 

4. Use Fluoride Toothpaste from a Young Age

Many children’s toothpastes carry labels proudly proclaiming, “Fluoride Free!” But in reality, it’s better to use fluoride toothpaste from the outset. Fluoride helps to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent decay. Just be sure to use the right amount for your child’s age, and there is no reason to worry.

5. Beware of “Healthy” Drinks

A lot of drinks marketed as healthy products are actually full of sugar, either added or naturally occurring. Even no-sugar-added juice can be harmful to children’s teeth. The best choices are water and milk. If your child insists on having juice, limit it appropriately and dilute it with water, if possible. 

Contact a Pediatric Dentist in Overland Park, KS, Today

For more tips for a healthy smile, contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids Today. 

Reach us online or call us at (913) 685-9990.

Smiles Dentistry For Kids

14700 Metcalf Ave, Suite 110
Overland Park, KS 66223
(913) 685-9990
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm

Get in Touch

"*" indicates required fields

Do you want to receive an email about promotions, news, etc?
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Cracked or broken teeth are among the most common injuries sustained by young children and teens. Fortunately, with parental diligence and supervision, these injuries are often preventable. And when they do occur, they can often be treated with conservative methods. With the right pediatric dentist on call, there is no reason to worry about your child’s long-term appearance or dental health

Dr. Matt and Dr. Craven of Smiles Dentistry for Kids are the doctors you want on speed dial if accidents happen. We know the best and most effective ways to care for little teeth. Our entire Overland Park, KS, team can put even very scared children at ease. And we are happy to provide guidance in the prevention of pediatric dental injuries. 

To learn more or to schedule an appointment, contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids today.

What are the different types of cracks? 

Cracks can vary in appearance and severity. 

  • Craze lines appear on the outer surface only and do not affect the softer interior of a tooth. They do not usually require treatment. 
  • A chipped tooth also affects only the dental enamel. It does not require treatment, although many choose it to improve their appearance. 
  • A fractured cusp occurs when a piece of the chewing surface breaks off. It may or may not expose the inner pulp, but will require treatment either way.
  • A cracked tooth is one in which a crack begins on the chewing surface and travels down towards the gums. 
  • If a crack travels all the way down to the dental root, this is characterized as a split tooth.
  • With a vertical root fracture, the crack begins at the bottom of the dental root and travels upwards towards the chewing surface.

Oral Hygiene and Cracked Teeth 

Decay below the surface can weaken the entire tooth, making it more prone to injury. This is why daily brushing and flossing, along with biannual dental visits, are so importanteven for the youngest children.

Bruxism, or teeth grinding, can also weaken teeth, making structural damage more likely. If your child chronically grinds their teeth, we can provide a custom-made mouthguard to be worn at night.

Accidents, Injuries, and Dental Damage

Toddlers often break teeth because of their still-developing motor skills and the likelihood of falls. To reduce the risk of damage, childproof your home, covering the sharp edges and corners of furniture and removing trip hazards. Closely supervise young children when they first become mobile, and do not allow them to walk around the house with a cup or bottle. 

Approximately 25% of school-age children will eventually damage a tooth, and most of this damage is the result of accident or injury. For older kids, sports injuries are often to blame. If your child plays a contact sport, be sure to ask us about a sports mouthguard. Our custom appliances are much more comfortable than over-the-counter versions and are less likely to impact breathing and athletic performance. 

Contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids 

Treatment for a cracked tooth will depend on the type and severity of the damage. Contact us to schedule an appointment for your child. 

Reach us online or call (913) 685-9990.

Smiles Dentistry For Kids

14700 Metcalf Ave, Suite 110
Overland Park, KS 66223
(913) 685-9990
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm

Get in Touch

"*" indicates required fields

Do you want to receive an email about promotions, news, etc?
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

When your child is in high school or early college, they are likely exploring professional interests and career opportunities. If they have expressed an interest in dentistry, you may be feeling excited by their desire to enter the medical field. Or you may be a bit apprehensive, wondering exactly what it takes to become a dentist. In this post, your pediatric dentist outlines the major steps involved in pursuing a dental career. 

Dr. Matt and Dr. Craven can heartily recommend dentistry as a vocation! We love our jobs, and we love our patients at Smiles Dentistry for Kids in Overland Park, KS. Whether your child pursues general dentistry, or they become a specialist like a pediatric dentist, they have a fantastic opportunity to make a difference in their patients’ lives. 

If you want to learn more about a career in dentistry, or you simply need to schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist, contact our office today.

Undergraduate Education 

To become a dentist, your teen will first need to earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. A degree in biology or another science can be helpful, but it is not essential. However, dental schools do require a certain number of science credits. If your child does not earn a degree in the sciences, they may need to take some additional classes before applying to graduate school.

A few colleges offer a pre-dentistry track. Pre-med tracks are much more common and can give your child an extra edge in dental school acceptance. If your child is still in high school, encourage them to take AP science. AP classes may allow them to opt out of basic science and jump into higher-level college courses.

Graduate School 

Before applying to dental school, an applicant must first take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT). The DAT is a 4.5 hour test that includes 180 questions. Dental schools have individual admission score requirements, so it’s important to check the schools in which your child is interested. 

Once accepted, a dental student will typically earn a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) or a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree in four years. The two degrees are essentially the same and differ only in name. The first two years of dental school are spent in the classroom, and the second two years consist mostly of clinical work. 

Areas of Specialization 

After earning their degree, if dentists wish to pursue a specialization, they must typically complete a two to three-year residency, focused on their particular area of interest. 

Among others, specializations can include

  • Pediatric dentistry
  • Endodontics
  • Orthodontics
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgery 
  • Periodontics 
  • Prosthodontics
  • Dental anesthesiology 

Certifications and Accreditations 

After completing their training, students must pass their licensure exams. From there, dentists can apply for positions or start their own practices. However, even after they are established, they need to take a certain amount of continuing education credits each year. Each state has their own required number of hours. 

Though not required, certifications and accreditations often allow dentists to provide a higher level of care. Recognition by outside organizations can also open up career opportunities that might not otherwise be available. 

Contact a Pediatric Dentist Today 

Learn more about how to become a general or pediatric dentist. Contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids online or call us at (913) 685-9990. 

Smiles Dentistry For Kids

14700 Metcalf Ave, Suite 110
Overland Park, KS 66223
(913) 685-9990
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm

Get in Touch

"*" indicates required fields

Do you want to receive an email about promotions, news, etc?
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Judging by the name alone, baby teeth seem like they should be flawless. After all, they’re fresh, new, and haven’t been exposed to a lifetime of food, drinks, and opportunities for damage. So when you notice stains on your little one’s teeth, it can come as a shock. What causes stains on baby teeth anyway? Some children have stained teeth for the same reason that many adults do – diet and hygiene. But other factors can contribute to children’s dental staining. 

If you notice discoloration of your child’s baby teeth, it’s important to schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist. He or she can determine which treatments are necessary to prevent further staining. At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, Dr. Matt and Dr. Craven are committed to protecting little smiles in Overland Park, KS, and the surrounding areas. 

Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your child. 

Oral Hygiene

Many parents don’t realize that they should begin brushing their children’s teeth as soon as they appear! Twice daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste and a soft brush is one of the best ways to prevent discoloration. You should also start flossing as soon as your child has two touching teeth. 

Dental visits are also essential as soon as that first tooth comes in. In fact, these visits are so vital that we are proud to offer free exams and cleanings to all children under age 2

Fluorosis

Fluoride is important for tooth development. But if your child is exposed to too much fluoride at a young age, it can cause white streaks to appear on the teeth. Fortunately, fluorosis is typically mild and does not affect tooth function. 

To avoid this condition, do not mix infant formula with fluoride-enhanced water. And be sure to check the fluoride levels where you live. Levels of less than 2 mg/l are unlikely to cause fluorosis. 

Certain Medications 

Some antibiotics, especially tetracycline, can cause brown, gray, or yellow dental stains. If your child is over age 8, these medications will have no adverse effects. However, if you took one of these medications while pregnant or nursing, your child’s teeth could be impacted. 

Weak Enamel

Enamel hypoplasia is a genetic condition that causes thin or weak tooth enamel. It can affect baby teeth only, or it could also affect the permanent teeth. With compromised enamel, your child is more susceptible to discoloration and decay. That is why it is especially important to be vigilant about hygiene and dental visits. Your dentist may recommend additional treatments to further protect your child’s teeth. 

Jaundice

If your child is born with jaundice, excess bilirubin can build up in the dental tissue, giving them a green hue. Fortunately, this effect is extremely rare and will only impact the baby teeth.

Tooth Injury 

An injured tooth could turn gray or even black. This is because a fall or blow to the tooth can damage blood vessels, causing blood to leak out inside the tooth. In some cases, children may require restorative care, such as a root canal. Fortunately, the permanent tooth will likely come in normally. 

Schedule an Appointment with a Pediatric Dentist 

If you notice staining on your child’s teeth, don’t wait to schedule an appointment. 

Contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids online or call us at (913) 685-9990.

Smiles Dentistry For Kids

14700 Metcalf Ave, Suite 110
Overland Park, KS 66223
(913) 685-9990
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm

Get in Touch

"*" indicates required fields

Do you want to receive an email about promotions, news, etc?
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

If you’re parenting littles, you may assume that orthodontia is a problem you need to face far into the future. In reality, early intervention orthodontia is becoming more common and can have enormous benefits both for health and for self-esteem. Even when children still have some of their baby teeth, they can begin phase 1 treatment. Your pediatric dentist can perform an orthodontic evaluation to determine if your child may need two-phase orthodontia. 

At Smiles Dentistry for Kids in Overland Park, KS, Dr. Matt and Dr. Craven are experts on children and their dental health. They know the signs that indicate the need for early care and can refer you to a trusted orthodontist. At the same time, they truly have your child’s best interests at heart and will never recommend unnecessary treatment

To schedule your evaluation, contact your pediatric dentist today.

When should my child have an orthodontic evaluation?

The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children have their first orthodontic evaluation at about age 7. At this age, a pediatric dentist can detect larger issues with the face and jawbone structure. Early intervention can often reduce the severity of misalignment and shorten overall treatment time. 

At the same time, if you notice some orthodontic issues or just suspect that something is wrong, you can schedule an evaluation before this time

Who is a candidate for early orthodontia?

Your pediatric dentist may recommend two-phase orthodontics if your child has a problem with face or jawbone development. These problems can include more serious concerns, such as a cleft palate. But they can also include subtler issues that only a dentist can detect. 

If your child suffers from any of the following problems, he or she may be a candidate for early orthodontics:

  • Crossbite
  • Underbite
  • Teeth that don’t meet or don’t align properly when a child bites down
  • Excessive spaces between teeth 
  • Facial imbalance 
  • Missing or extra teeth 

What happens during Phase 1?

Occasionally, phase 1 treatment can involve a limited use of braces. More often, however, an orthodontist will recommend other orthodontic appliances to correct skeletal, rather than dental, issues. These appliances could include:

  • Expanders
  • Retainers
  • Spacers
  • Headgear (typically worn only at night)

What happens during Phase 2?

Phase 2 treatment will usually take place during the pre-teen or teen years, once your child has most of their permanent teeth. Phase 2 focuses more on the teeth themselves, rather than the jawbone. At this point, your pediatric dentist will most likely recommend braces. These can include traditional braces, as well as tooth-colored braces and clear aligners.

However, according to one study, phase 2 treatment may not be necessary after early intervention. Researchers at the University of the Pacific report that 42% of patients who received phase 1 treatment did not require additional care. For those who do require treatment, they often have to wear braces for a much shorter time than those who did not receive early attention.

Schedule an Appointment with Your Pediatric Dentist Today

To schedule your child’s orthodontic evaluation, contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids.

Reach us online or call (913) 685-9990.

Smiles Dentistry For Kids

14700 Metcalf Ave, Suite 110
Overland Park, KS 66223
(913) 685-9990
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm

Get in Touch

"*" indicates required fields

Do you want to receive an email about promotions, news, etc?
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

As children grow, their curiosity about the world around them also grows, especially when it comes to their own bodies. A common question that often arises is, “How many teeth do I have?” Many parents struggle to answer these types of questions, which is why Dr. Matt Hillman is here to help!

Does your little one have a question about their dental health? Contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids in Overland Park, KS, today! We can help you explain complex topics in easy-to-understand terms so your child can learn more about their teeth and gums. Contact our friendly team at (913) 685-9990 to answer your kiddo’s most intriguing questions!

Explaining dental health to children in an engaging and informative way can foster a positive attitude towards oral hygiene. So, whether it’s, “How many teeth do I have?” or, “Do I really have to go to the dentist,” we answer some commonly asked questions that children have about their teeth, gums, and dental health.

How many teeth do I have?

This is a great question! As a child, you start with no teeth at all, but by the time you turn one, you may have around eight baby teeth

As you grow, your baby teeth fall out, and by your early teenage years, you should have a full set of 32 teeth. This includes incisors for biting, canines for tearing, premolars for grinding, and molars for chewing. 

The wisdom teeth (also known as third molars) typically make their debut in your teens or early twenties.

Why do I have to brush my teeth every day?

Brushing your teeth is like giving them a good bath! It helps remove the food particles and bacteria that can cause cavities and gum disease

By brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, you’re keeping your teeth clean and strong. It’s also a great way to prevent bad breath and ensure your smile stays bright.

What’s the big deal about flossing?

Flossing is like a superhero for your teeth! While brushing cleans the surfaces of your teeth, flossing gets into the tight spaces between them, where your toothbrush can’t reach.

Floss removes plaque and prevents cavities from forming in those hard-to-reach areas. So, by brushing and flossing together, you’re giving your teeth the ultimate protection against pesky cavities.

Do I really have to go to the dentist?

Absolutely! Dentists are like guardians for your teeth and gums. They have special tools and knowledge to make sure your teeth stay healthy.

Dentists can clean your teeth better than you can at home, and they can spot any potential problems before they become big issues. Going to the dentist is an essential part of keeping your smile in tip-top shape. That’s why experts recommend dental visits at least two times a year, every year for a healthy and strong smile.

Why do I get cavities even if I brush my teeth?

Cavities happen when tiny holes form in your teeth because of bacteria and sugar. Even if you brush, sometimes those tricky bacteria hide in the corners. Luckily, flossing and eating healthy foods can limit cavity-causing bacteria, giving you a healthier, more beautiful smile!

Have questions? Dr. Matt has answers!

By answering children’s dental questions in a way that’s relatable and fun, parents can instill good dental habits that will last a lifetime. So, the next time your little one asks, “How many teeth do I have?”, don’t hesitate to reach out to Dr. Matt at Smiles Dentistry for Kids in Overland Park, KS. You can reach our friendly team online or at (913) 685-9990 for more answers to your kiddo’s questions!

Smiles Dentistry For Kids

14700 Metcalf Ave, Suite 110
Overland Park, KS 66223
(913) 685-9990
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm

Get in Touch

"*" indicates required fields

Do you want to receive an email about promotions, news, etc?
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

As the year draws to a close, we often find ourselves caught up in the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations. But, amidst the festivities, there is one essential aspect of childcare that we shouldn’t put off until the New Year – a visit to a pediatric dentist in Overland Park, KS.

Scheduling a dental appointment for your child before the New Year is a proactive step that can contribute to their overall well-being. So, this year, give your child the gift of healthy teeth and gums with our pediatric dentist, Dr. Matt Hillman, in Overland Park. Request an appointment for your little one at Smiles Dentistry for Kids by dialing (913) 685-9990 now! 

In today’s post, we explore the compelling reasons why parents should prioritize a dental check-up for their children before 2024.

Preventive Care for a Healthy Smile

By taking your child to a pediatric dentist before the New Year, you ensure that any potential dental issues are addressed promptly. Early detection of cavities, gum problems, or orthodontic issues allows for timely intervention. This means you can prevent costly problems, and your little one can spread cheer well into the next year!

Utilizing Dental Benefits Before Year-End

Many dental insurance plans operate on a calendar year basis, resetting benefits at the start of a new year. However, there is evidence to suggest that many insured parents don’t utilize all of their yearly benefits because they simply don’t know what is covered and what isn’t

As a general rule of thumb, insurance providers cover yearly preventive maintenance, so be sure to get the most out of your plan before ringing in 2024.

By scheduling a dental visit before December 31st, you can maximize the use of your dental insurance benefits while enhancing your child’s oral health.

Establishing Healthy Habits for the Future

Regular dental check-ups set the stage for a lifetime of good oral hygiene habits. Dentists can offer guidance on effective brushing and flossing techniques, dietary choices that promote dental health, and the overall maintenance of a healthy smile.

Ease of Scheduling

Sometimes, our busy schedules can make it hard to visit a pediatric dentist. But the holiday season often coincides with a break from school for children. This break can make it easier to visit a pediatric dentistry clinic, making it the perfect time to get a check-up, cleaning, and address other concerns, such as:

  • Teeth grinding
  • Improper nutrition
  • The need for orthodontic assessments 

Scheduling an appointment with our pediatric dentist is the best way to ensure your child returns to school in 2024 with a healthy and confident smile.

Preventing Emergency Situations

Dental emergencies can happen at any time. But the holiday season, with its abundance of sugary treats and festive foods, can pose additional risks for dental issues

Scheduling a pediatric dentistry visit before 2024 allows our team to identify and address any potential problems before they escalate into painful emergencies. Prevention and early intervention can spare your child unnecessary discomfort and ensure a happy and healthy holiday season.

Pediatric Dentistry in Overland Park, KS

Prioritizing a dental visit for your child before the New Year is a proactive step that contributes to their overall well-being. By taking this small yet significant step, we can set the stage for a New Year filled with bright smiles, good oral health, and confidence that shines from the inside out. Schedule your child’s next pediatric dental appointment online here, or call Dr. Matt at (913) 685-9990 for year-end care!

Smiles Dentistry For Kids

14700 Metcalf Ave, Suite 110
Overland Park, KS 66223
(913) 685-9990
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm

Get in Touch

"*" indicates required fields

Do you want to receive an email about promotions, news, etc?
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

It seems like orthodontic care is almost a rite of passage in the adolescent years. But can orthodontia be avoided? What causes crooked teeth in the first place? As it turns out, the answer is more complex than you might expect. And while you can reduce your child’s risk for dental misalignment, there are some risk factors that are simply out of your control. 

At Smiles Dentistry for Kids in Overland Park, KS, Dr. Matt and Dr. Craven treat babies, teens, and everyone in between! By beginning dental care at a young age, we can sometimes prevent dental misalignment from occurring. And in those unavoidable cases, early detection can often reduce the severity of crooked teeth and shorten treatment time

To schedule an exam for your child, contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids today.

Genetics

Unfortunately, if you have struggled with dental misalignment your child is more likely to have crooked teeth, too. Genetics can affect jaw and tooth size, jaw alignment, palate development, and many other factors. 

Jaw Size

With a smaller jaw, there is not enough room for all adult teeth, and crowding may occur. Scientists believe that our ancient ancestors had much larger jaws. But as food became softer and more refined, humans evolved to have smaller jaws. As a result, dental crowding is a common problem. 

Oral Habits

Thumb sucking, prolonged pacifier use, and long-term bottle feeding can all contribute to dental misalignment. To help protect your child’s smile, wean them from pacifiers and bottles around their first birthday. Thumb sucking is less problematic until permanent teeth start to erupt, but you should still discuss this habit with your child’s dentist. 

Poor Diet and Oral Hygiene 

Premature baby tooth loss may not seem like a major problem, but it can have far-reaching consequences for dental health. When baby teeth come out early, the nearby teeth can drift into the gap. In this way, they get in the way of the permanent teeth so there’s not enough room for them to erupt normally. A balanced diet and regular dental cleanings can protect those important baby teeth.

Why are crooked teeth a problem?

Cosmetics are the most obvious effect of missing teeth. But malocclusion can have far more serious consequences. Crowded and overlapping teeth can greatly increase the risk of decay, since food and bacteria will be more easily trapped in the tight spaces. Severe misalignment can also cause speech impediments. 

What are the treatment options?

The right treatment will depend on your child’s age and the severity of misalignment. Some children benefit from early orthodontic intervention, such as palatal expanders, which will create more room for adult teeth. Though these kids will typically need braces at a later date, treatment time is usually much shorter. 

Dr. Matt and Dr. Craven evaluate dental alignment at every routine exam. Then they can refer your child to a trusted orthodontist for appropriate care. They can also provide tips to improve oral health and reduce the risk of malocclusion.

Contact a Pediatric Dentist Today

To make an appointment for your child, contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids. 

Reach us online or call us at (913) 685-9990.

Smiles Dentistry For Kids

14700 Metcalf Ave, Suite 110
Overland Park, KS 66223
(913) 685-9990
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm

Get in Touch

"*" indicates required fields

Do you want to receive an email about promotions, news, etc?
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Has your normally happy baby been screaming all day and refusing to be out of your sight? There’s a good chance she’s teething! Cutting teeth is no joke, and it can cause a whole host of symptoms. Your pediatric dentist can tell you what to expect, what’s normal, and what’s not. And he can also share the best – and safest! – ways to reduce teething pain.

As pediatric dentists, Dr. Matt and Dr. Tara love working with kids. And as a dad, Dr. Matt is all too familiar with the drama, tears, and rough nights that come with teething. That’s why he and the team at Smiles Dentistry for Kids in Overland Park, KS, are here to help! We’re always here to answer questions and, of course, to provide quality dental care once those teeth have come in.

Contact us for questions about your child’s teething symptoms. 

When can you expect teething to start?

Did you know that your child is already born with all 20 baby teeth formed beneath the gums? Typically, these teeth will start to erupt between the ages of 6 and 12 months. However, many babies start teething earlier, and some may get their first pearly whites after their first birthday. Nonetheless, if your child hasn’t started teething by the time he turns one, it’s best to see a pediatric dentist for an evaluation. 

The bottom two front teeth are usually the first to come in. Teeth will continue to erupt until your child gets his second molars around the time he turns two.

Normal Teething Symptoms

Teething can manifest itself in many different ways. The most common symptoms include:

  • Low-grade fever (less than 100.4 degrees F)
  • Drooling
  • Excessive chewing and biting
  • Facial rash, due to drool
  • Pulling on ears
  • Fussiness and irritability 
  • Unusual waking in the night
  • Loss of appetite

Keep in mind, however, that just as children get their teeth on their own timeline, they experience symptoms in their own way. In one of the few large-scale teething studies, only 35% of children experienced the same symptoms.

Effective Ways to Help Your Child

Of course, it hurts you to see your child in pain. Fortunately, there are several effective ways that you can reduce teething discomfort. 

  • Gently massaging your baby’s gums 
  • Offering a safe, rubber teether. Try placing it in the freezer for extra relief. Avoid frozen, water-filled teethers and anything made from brittle plastic. Only use items that are intended to be teethers.
  • For children who are already enjoying solids, offer an edible teether or large teething cracker

Do not use numbing benzocaine. The FDA has warned that benzocaine can lead to a life-threatening blood disorder in children under age 2.

Once your child has gotten her first tooth, you should schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist no more than six months later. Your dentist will monitor your child’s dental development and offer guidance on good oral hygiene. 

Contact a Pediatric Dentist Today

For more information about teething or to schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist, contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids. 

Make an appointment online or call us at (913) 685-9990.

Smiles Dentistry For Kids

14700 Metcalf Ave, Suite 110
Overland Park, KS 66223
(913) 685-9990
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm

Get in Touch

"*" indicates required fields

Do you want to receive an email about promotions, news, etc?
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.