Board Certified Pediatric Dentistry
Jennifer K. Hargleroad DDS MS
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Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small, “pea sized”, amount of fluoride toothpaste. Brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth and the surface of each tooth. Begin with the top teeth and when all four steps are completed, repeat on the lower teeth. It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth. Before you finish, remember to brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth! Please make sure that you spit out any excess toothpaste.
For a child over the age of three, we recommend a parent helps with brushing his/her teeth twice a day with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. For a child under the age of three, we will evaluate the child’s caries risk and all contributing factors to make a personalized recommendation on the use of fluoride toothpaste for each individual child. If fluoride toothpaste is not recommended for your child under 3, you may use a fluoride-free training toothpaste, or simply water when brushing.
When brushing, use a soft bristled brush and make sure to brush all surfaces of the teeth: the cheek sides, the biting surfaces, and the sides by the tongue/inside the mouth. Use a gentle circular motion and take your time. Brushing should be done for at least two minutes, twice a day. Work with your child to spit out any excess toothpaste. After brushing, it is best not to rinse, eat or drink for at least 30 minutes to allow the fluoride to penetrate into the tooth structure. As soon as bristles start to wear down or fray, replace your toothbrush with a new one. Also, remember to replace your toothbrush after any contagious illnesses.
Outside of front teeth. Hold your toothbrush at a 45° angle where your teeth and gums meet. Move the brush back and forth in a gentle circular motion.
Inside of front teeth.
Tilt the brush vertically and make up-and-down strokes.
Tongue side or inside of back teeth
Angle the toothbrush towards the gums (at a 45° angle) and brush in a circular motion. Make sure to get all the way to the very back teeth!
Hold the brush flat and use a gentle circular motion. Again, remember to get all the way back!
For areas between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach, dental floss is used to remove food particles and plaque. Dental floss is a thin thread of waxed nylon that is used to reach below the gum line and clean between the teeth. A child’s back teeth typically begin touching at the age of three, and flossing becomes necessary on a daily basis. At this young age, a parent should floss the child’s teeth to prevent any damage to the gum tissues. Every child is different, so our staff when your child should add flossing to their daily routine.
Dental floss is used to remove food particles and plaque in the areas between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach. Dental floss can also gently reach below the gum line and clean out the sulcus, or pocket, of the gums. A child’s back teeth typically begin touching at the age of three, and flossing becomes necessary on a daily basis. At this young age, a parent should floss the child’s teeth to prevent any damage to the gum tissues. Every child is different, so our staff will assess when it is time to add flossing to your child’s daily routine. Regular string floss or floss picks (the ones with a handle) can both work great.
Setting up and inserting floss
Pull about 18 inches of floss from the dispenser and wrap the ends around your middle fingers. Hold floss tightly, using your fingers to gently guide the floss between the teeth.
Holding the floss tightly against the tooth, move the floss away from the gum, rubbing the floss up and down against the side of the tooth.
Floss the whole mouth
Repeat flossing procedure on each tooth, upper and lower, using a clean segment of floss.
Floss the far back teeth
Don’t forget to floss behind back teeth or where there is no adjacent tooth.
Floss at night to make sure your teeth are squeaky clean before you go to bed. When you first begin to floss, your gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after several times, please let our staff know at your next appointment.
Most children do not acquire the fine motor skills necessary for brushing and flossing on their own until they are 8-10 years of age. So, until this time, it is the parent’s responsibility to ensure that the child’s teeth are being adequately cleaned. Brushing your infant’s or toddler’s teeth can be a real challenge. We often hear, “My child won’t let me brush their teeth.” Remember that you are the parent and you know what is best for your child. It is important for your child to know that keeping his or her teeth clean and healthy is necessary for overall health, for having a pleasant smile, and for speaking and eating properly and preventing dental disease. Begin to remind your child of this at an early age. Try to make tooth brushing a game and not a power struggle. Positioning your child is very important for proper brushing. You should be seated with your legs crossed at the ankles. The child should stand between your legs, facing away from you. Allow your child to rest their head against your thigh or stomach and retract the lips with your free hand. The teeth can then be more easily brushed, as you are imitating the same movements as when brushing your own teeth. By establishing healthy habits at a young age, you have the ability to positively impact your child’s dental health.
If you are having trouble with your child or toddler’s oral hygiene needs, be sure to ask our staff for helpful hints!
Rinse the area with warm water. Put a cold compress over the facial area of the injury. Recover any broken tooth fragments. Get immediate dental attention.
If your child has an accident, please call our office immediately! (970) 493-2254.
If it is an after-hours emergency, our dentist on call will be paged through the answering service.
Our schedule may occasionally be delayed in order to accommodate an injured child. Please accept our apologies in advance should an emergency occur during your child's appointment. The same attention will be given to your child, should he/she become involved in an accident.
Begin by cleaning around the sore tooth gently, yet meticulously. Using warm salt water, rinse the mouth to displace any food trapped between teeth. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you use aspirin on the aching tooth or on the gum. In the event of facial swelling, apply a cold compress to the area. For temporary pain relief, an over the counter analgesic according to the package instructions for your child’s age and weight is recommended. See a dentist as soon as possible.
Broken Braces and Wires
Remove a broken appliance only if it comes out easily. If it is lodged or painful to remove, cover any protruding edges with wax, cotton balls, gauze or chewing gum. DO NOT REMOVE any wire caught in the gums, cheek or tongue; see a dentist immediately. Emergency attention is usually not required for loose or broken appliances that cause no discomfort.
Knocked Out Permanent Tooth
The first 30 minutes after a dental accident are the most critical. If a permanent tooth is knocked out, gently and quickly rinse, but do not scrub the tooth under water. Recover the tooth, making sure to hold it by the crown (top) and not the root end. Rinse, but do not clean or handle the tooth more than necessary. Reinsert the tooth in the socket and hold it in place using a clean piece of gauze or cloth.
If this is not possible, place the tooth in a glass of milk and come to the office immediately. The faster you act, the better the chance of saving the tooth! If the tooth is fractured, please bring in any fragments you can find. Baby teeth should NOT be replaced if knocked out!
Because time is essential, see a dentist immediately.
Possible Broken Jaw
In the event of jaw injury, tie the mouth closed with a towel, tie or handkerchief. Go immediately to an emergency room.
Cold or Canker Sores
Over-the-counter medications will usually provide temporary relief. If sores persist, visit your dentist.
Bleeding After a Baby Tooth Falls Out
Fold a piece of gauze and place it (tightly) over the bleeding area. Bite down on the gauze for 15 minutes; if bleeding continues, see a dentist.