Ask Dr. Ozzie

What is a Pediatric Dentist?

What is a Pediatric Dentist?

A pediatric dentist like Dr. Ozzie or Dr. Noyan has an extra two years of specialized training after dental school that is dedicated to the oral health of children from infancy through the teenage years. The very young, pre-teens and teenagers all need different approaches in dealing with behavior, guiding their growth and development, and helping them avoid future dental problems. With the additional education, pediatric dentists have the training which allows them to offer the most thorough treatment for a wide variety of pediatric dental problems, for children of all ages as well as those with special needs.

Why should my child see a pediatric dentist instead of our regular family dentist?

Why should my child see a pediatric dentist instead of our regular family dentist?

Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. Just as you seek a pediatrician for your child, as they have been trained in all of the various aspects of pediatric medicine more specifically than a family practicioner, pediatric dentists have completed extensive training beyond the very minimal scope of pediatric dentistry presented in dental school. 

How old should my child be to come to the dentist?

How old should my child be to come to the dentist?

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), your child should visit the dentist by his/her first birthday, or 6 months after ther eruption of the first tooth. Beginning dental care at an early age allows us the opportunity to address preventive issues that are important for health teeth for yeaers to come. Early visits also help establish a positive relationship between our ofice and your child.  With each subsequent visit, your child will mature and their confidence and trust in us will most likely increase.  Usually, after age 3, we will begin preventive care visits which include examination, cleaning, fluoride treatments and appropriate radiographs.

Why are baby teeth so important?

Why are baby teeth so important?

Neglected cavities in baby teeth can cause pain and infection, and it can also lead to problems which can affect the developing permanent teeth. Primary teeth are important for (1) proper chewing and eating, (2) providing space for permanent teeth and guiding them into position, and (3) permitting normal development of the jaw bones and muscles.

Why does my child need dental x-rays?

Why does my child need dental x-rays?

Radiographs (x-rays) are a necessary part of your child's dental diagnostic process. Without them, certain cavities would be missed. They also help survey developing permanent teeth, evaluate results of an injury, or plan for orthodontic treatment. If dental problems are found and treated early, dental care is more comfortable for your child, less extensive, and more affordable for you.

On average, our office will request bitewing xrays approximately once a year, and panoramic xrays every 5 years. In children with high risk for decay, we may recommend xrays and examinations every 6 months until they are considered 'stable'.

With contemporary safeguards, the amount of radiation received in a dental x-ray is extremely small. Between a digital x-ray system, our xray head, our lead apron, and our use of a thyroid shield, we try our best to minimize your child's exposure risk.

What are sealants?

What are sealants?

A sealant is a clear or shaded plastic material that is applied to the chewing surfaces (grooves) for the back permanent teeth (premolars and molars), where most children form cavities. This sealant acts as a barrier to food, plaque, and acid, thus protecting the most decay-prone areas of the teeth. However, sealants can not protect from all types of cavities, especially those that begin between the teeth.

What are some of your favorite products for kids?

What are some of your favorite products for kids?

Take a look at Dr. Ozzie's Favorite Products!

What is an orthodontist?

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dentist who has specialized in orthodontics, the specific area of dentistry that deals with the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. To become an orthodontist, a dentist must return to school to attend a 2-3 year full time residency program of advanced education in orthodontics accredited by the American Dental Association.

What are some possible benefits of orthodontics?

What are some possible benefits of orthodontics?

  • A more attractive smile
  • Reduced appearance-consciousness during critical development years
  • Better function of the teeth
  • Possible increase in self-confidence
  • Increased ability to clean the teeth
  • Improved force distribution and wear patterns of the teeth
  • Better long term health of teeth and gums
  • Guide permanent teeth into more favorable positions
  • Reduce the risk of injury to protruded front teeth
  • Aids in optimizing other dental treatment

What are some signs that braces may be needed?

What are some signs that braces may be needed?

  • Upper front teeth protrude excessively over the lower teeth, or are bucked
  • Upper front teeth cover the majority of the lower teeth when biting together (deep bite)
  • Upper front teeth are behind or inside the lower front teeth (underbite)
  • The upper and lower front teeth do not touch when biting together (open bite)
  • Crowded or overlapped teeth
  • The center of the upper and lower teeth do not line up
  • Finger or thumb sucking habits which continue after six or seven years old
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Teeth wearing unevenly or excessively
  • The lower jaw shifts to one side or the other when biting together
  • Spaces between the teeth

At what age should orthodontic treatment occur?

At what age should orthodontic treatment occur?

Orthodontic treatment can be started at any age. Many orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected at an early age before jaw growth has slowed. Early treatment may mean that a patient can avoid surgery and more serious complications. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child first visit an orthodontist by age 7 or earlier if a problem is detected by parents, the family dentist, or the child's physician.

What is Phase I and Phase II treatment?

What is Phase I and Phase II treatment?

Phase I, or early interceptive treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment (i.e. expander or partial braces) before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Such treatment can occur between the ages of six and ten. This treatment is sometimes recommended to make more space for developing teeth, correction of crossbites, overbites, and underbites, or harmful oral habits. Phase II treatment is also called comprehensive treatment because it involves full braces when all of the permanent teeth have erupted, usually between the ages of eleven and thirteen.

How does orthodontic treatment work?

How does orthodontic treatment work?

Braces use steady gentle pressure to gradually move teeth into their proper positions. The brackets that are placed on your teeth and the archwire that connects them are the main components. When the archwire is placed into the brackets, it tries to return to its original shape. As it does so, it applies pressure to move your teeth to their new, more ideal positions.

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

Treatment times vary on a case-by-case basis, but the average time is from one to two years. Actual treatment time can be affected by rate of growth and severity of the correction necessary. Treatment length is also dependent upon patient compliance. Maintaining good oral hygiene and keeping regular appointments are important in keeping treatment time on schedule.

Do braces hurt?

Do braces hurt?

The placement of bands and brackets on your teeth does not hurt. Once your braces are placed and connected with the archwires you may feel some soreness of your teeth for one to four days. Your lips and cheeks may need one to two weeks to get used to the braces on your teeth.

Will braces interfere with playing sports?

Will braces interfere with playing sports?

No. It is recommended, however, that patients protect their smiles by wearing a mouth guard when participating in any sporting activity. Mouth guards are inexpensive, comfortable, and come in a variety of colors and patterns.

Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?

Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?

No. However, there may be an initial period of adjustment. In addition, brace covers can be provided to prevent discomfort.

Should I see my pediatric dentist while I have braces?

Should I see my pediatric dentist while I have braces?

Yes, you should continue to see your pediatric dentist every six months for cleanings and dental checkups.

Is it required that my family dentist schedule my appointment with the orthodontist?

Is it required that my family dentist schedule my appointment with the orthodontist?

No, it is not. Many of our patients are referred by their family dentist, yet many other patients take the initiative to schedule an examination themselves.

Will my teeth straighten out as they grow?

Will my teeth straighten out as they grow?

No, they will not. The space available for the front teeth does not increase as you grow. In most people, after the permanent molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth decreases with age.

How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?

How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?

If you or your child can potentially benefit from orthodontic treatment, simply call our office, send us an e-mail or fill out or appointment request form online. We will be happy to schedule an appointment for you. When you call to schedule your appointment, our front office staff will request some basic information from you.

What will happen at the initial examination appointment?

What will happen at the initial examination appointment?

Upon arriving, each patient and parent will be seen by the staff and doctor who will acclimate you to our office and prepare for the initial exam. We will take the necessary photographs and X-rays to allow us to make a proper diagnosis. The doctor will then complete a brief, but thorough, exam.

What will I learn from the initial examination?

What will I learn from the initial examination?

There are five essential questions that we will cover during the initial examination:

  • Is there an orthodontic problem, and if so, what is it?
  • What must be done to correct the problem?
  • Will any teeth need to be removed?
  • How long will the treatment take to complete?
  • How much will the treatment cost?

Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?

Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?

Removing teeth is sometimes required to achieve the best orthodontic result. Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are the goal of orthodontics. However, because new technology has provided advanced orthodontic procedures, removing teeth is not always necessary for orthodontic treatment.

How long will it take to complete treatment?

How long will it take to complete treatment?

Treatment time obviously depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem. In general, treatment time lasts from 12 months to 30 months. The "average" time frame a person is in braces is approximately 18-24 months.

How much will braces cost? Are financing options available? How does my insurance work?

How much will braces cost? Are financing options available? How does my insurance work?

It is impossible to give an exact cost for treatment until we have examined you. We will cover the exact cost and financial options during the initial examination. We have several financing options available to accommodate your needs, and we will review these with you. We will also review your insurance policy and help to maximize your benefit and file your claims.

How often will I have appointments?

How often will I have appointments?

Appointments are scheduled according to each patient's needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every 5 to 10 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.

Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?

Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?

Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for students during after-school hours. However, because most appointments are scheduled 5 to 10 weeks apart, most patients will miss minimal school due to their orthodontic treatments. We will, however, make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs.

Can I drop my child off for an appointment?

Can I drop my child off for an appointment?

Yes. We understand your busy schedule, and we are happy to help you make the most of your time. On some occasions, we may request to speak with a parent when they return, so we ask that parents check in with our staff before dropping off their child.

Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?

Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?

Yes. There is no reason to miss school because of an orthodontic appointment. 

Do you give shots?

Do you give shots?

No. Shots are not necessary in orthodontic treatment.

Do you use recycled braces?

Do you use recycled braces?

Absolutely not! It is our belief that each patient should be provided with their own braces to achieve the best orthodontic result possible.

Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?

Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?

Yes. Once treatment begins, we will explain the complete instructions and provide a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Some of those foods include: ice, hard candy, raw vegetables and all sticky foods (i.e. caramel and taffy). You can avoid most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by carefully following our instructions.

What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?

What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?

If your braces are causing extreme pain or if something breaks, you should call our office. In most cases, we can address these issues over the telephone. If you require an emergency appointment, we will set aside time for you.

Can orthodontic correction occur while a child has baby teeth?

Can orthodontic correction occur while a child has baby teeth?

Yes. Some orthodontic problems are significant enough to require early intervention. However, if a patient is not yet ready for treatment, we will follow that patient's growth and development until the time is right for treatment to begin.

Will my child need an expander?

Will my child need an expander?

At the completion of the initial examination, we will determine whether a patient will need an expander.

How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?

How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?

Patients should brush their teeth at least four times each day - after each meal and before going to bed. We will show each patient how to floss their teeth with braces and may also provide a prescription for a special fluoride, if necessary.

What if my child has a toothache?

What if my child has a toothache?

Clean the area around the sore tooth thoroughly. Rinse the mouth with warm salt water or use dental floss to dislodge impacted food or debris. For temporary pain relief,  ibuprofen is recommended.  In the event of facial swelling, you can apply a cold compress to the area and contact our office as soon as possible.

What should be done about a cut or bitten tongue, lip, or cheek?

What should be done about a cut or bitten tongue, lip, or cheek?

Apply ice to bruised areas.  If there is bleeding, apply firm pressure with a clean gauze or cloth. If bleeding does not stop after 15 minutes or it cannot be controlled by simple pressure, contact our office or seek emergency care.

What if a tooth is chipped or fractured?

What if a tooth is chipped or fractured?

Rinse debris from the injured area with warm water. Put a cold compress over the facial area of injury. Locate and save any tooth fragments in milk, trying to avoid handling fragments as much as possible.  If your child experiences severe pain, contact our office as soon as possible.

What should I do if my child has knocked out a BABY tooth?

What should I do if my child has knocked out a BABY tooth?

Contact our office as soon as possible.  We do not re-implant baby teeth but it is important to examine your child to be sure no fragments of tooth are embedded in the gums, lip or tongue, as well as determine the extent of trauma to other teeth in the area.  Bring along the knocked out tooth.

What shoud I do if my child has knocked out a PERMANENT tooth?

What shoud I do if my child has knocked out a PERMANENT tooth?

Time is of the essence in this situation. Find the tooth.  Handle the tooth by the crown, not the root portion. You may rinse the tooth, but DO NOT wipe or handle the tooth any more than absolutely necessary. Inspect the tooth for fractures. If there are no fractures, try to reinsert it into the socket. Have the patient hold the tooth in place by biting on a gauze. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, transport the tooth in a cup of milk or in a cup containing the patient's own saliva. DO NOT place the tooth in water. Call our office immediately or go to the nearest emergency room.   

What if my child sustains a really bad blow to the chin?

What if my child sustains a really bad blow to the chin?

In the event of a severe blow to the chin, or any jaw injury, tie the mouth closed with a towel, tie or handkerchief tied around the patients head, supporting the chin. In such a situation it is important to rule out a jaw fracture. Go immediately to an emergency room.

What should I do if my child has an orthodontic emergency?

What should I do if my child has an orthodontic emergency?

While orthodontic emergencies are not common, they do happen occasionally.  Fortunately, you can temporarily solve many problems yourself by following some of the simple guidelines below.  However, when you are experiencing severe pain or discomfort, please give our office a call so we can see you promptly.

Poking Wire?

Poking Wire?

Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it to alleviate the discomfort.

Loose bracket or band?

Loose bracket or band?

If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it. If the bracket comes off, bring it in on your next appointment so we can determine why it came off.

Loose wire?

Loose wire?

Using tweezers, try to place your wire back into place. If doing this and using wax does not help, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper that has been washed and sterilized in alcohol to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened.  If your discomfort continues, place wax on it, and call our office for an appointment.

Lost separators?

Lost separators?

Most patients lose a separator during their treatment. Do not worry about losing a separator, but call our office to see if it needs to be replaced.

General soreness?

General soreness?

During the first week after your braces are in place and routine adjustments are complete, you will likely feel some pain, soreness or discomfort.  Your teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days.  You may take acetaminophen or other non-aspirin pain relievers while you adjust to your new braces. A warm wash cloth or heating pad may reduce the soreness in your jaws.

The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this.