Category Archives: Uncategorized

Two Sets of Teeth in Youth

I have two sets of teeth for some of my teeth. I mean that I have both the baby teeth and the adult teeth in my mouth at the same time. How do I fix this? I’m 16 and want a pretty smile before I leave for college.

Kaycie

Dear Kaycie,

teenager smiling with braces

If you have been under the care of a dentist this whole time, you need a new dentist. This should have been addressed a long time ago. You don’t have to see a pediatric dentist. It can also be a general dentist, especially at your age. Though, I would look for a general dentist who also treats children. They tend to be more patient.

To get your mouth in proper alignment, the first thing you will need to do is have every baby tooth that has an adult tooth erupted also extracted. Make sure whoever you end up with does a full set of x-rays so you are sure which teeth have the adult teeth.

From there you have three possible scenarios.

Scenario 1: All Your Adult Teeth Have Erupted

In this situation, you have all of your adult teeth and they have all erupted. If that is the case, the solution is fairly simple and can be done in two steps. Step one is for you to have your baby teeth extracted.

Once that is completed, step two is to have your teeth straightened with orthodontics. You are not limited to metal wires and brackets and more. These days, Invisalign can handle most cases. If you’re unfamiliar with Invisalign, they use clear aligners to straighten your teeth.

Scenario 2: Not All Your Adult Teeth Have Erupted

If you have the adult teeth, but they still haven’t erupted, your dentist can open the area to make it a bit easier. In most cases, they’ll come in after that.

Then, once they are in, you can then get orthodontics done as suggested in the previous scenario.

Scenario 3: You Don’t Have All Your Adult Teeth

In some cases, a patient will have genetically missing teeth. That means there never was an adult tooth to replace the baby one. When this happens, you will still need orthodontics to open up the space where all the teeth are in their proper positions. Once that happens, you will start with a temporary tooth replacement, such as a dental flipper, in order to keep the opening in the right place.

When you are older and your jaw is fully developed, it will be time to get a more permanent replacement. The ideal tooth replacement is a dental implant, so that is what I’d recommend. Though, your dentist can give you all the options.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

Bleaching Non-Veneered TEeth

I just had four porcelain veneers placed and while I do like them, they are much whiter than my natural teeth. The difference is pretty obvious when I smile. I think I need to whiten my natural teeth but don’t know if that will damage my brand new veneers.

Cathey

Dear Cathey,

tooth bleaching trays

While any teeth whitening you do will not affect your porcelain veneers, I am a bit surprised your dentist didn’t have you do the whitening beforehand.

When you have porcelain veneers done, unless you have enough veneers to cover each tooth that is visible when you smile, which is almost always more than four teeth, it is standard operating procedure to whiten the teeth ahead of time.

One of the reasons we do the whitening first is because it is much easier to match porcelain veneers to teeth than it is to match your whitening to already established porcelain veneers.

This does give me some concern about your dentist’s knowledge of cosmetic work. One thing that will be especially important is when you go in for your next cleaning that they do not use anything like a power prophy jet or acidulated fluoride on your teeth.

This will completely remove the protective glazing from the veneers which will ruin them.

Best of luck and feel free to get your teeth whitened without the worry of damaging the veneers.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

How to prepare for a child’s first dental appointment

We have scheduled our 5 year old son for his first dental visit. He is very shy and quite apprehensive to people he isn’t comfortable around. Are there are specific ways we can prepare him so he will not be afraid?

Thank you,
Brooke

Dear Brooke,
It can definitely be stressful to take your child to the dentist for his or her first time. However, there are many things you can do to make the experience a fun and teachable one. The biggest thing to remember is that if you are stressed or anxious, he will feel that. Try not to say things like, “Don’t be afraid,” “It’s not scary,” or “It won’t hurt,” when you discuss the dental appointment. Be sure to remember that any negative dental experiences you have had are your experiences and not necessarily indicative of the type of experience he will have. Talk about the appointment like it is a natural thing for him to do, but show excitement about it being his first appointment, like you would his first haircut. It is a great idea to let him come along with you to one of your appointments, so he can become familiar with the office, the staff, and the routine. If this is not an option, or you are using a new office, call ahead to to find out what you can expect, or visit the office’s website, in order to talk with him about it. Read books about going to the dentist, or watch cartoons. You could also role play at home, first with you playing the dentist role, then switch and let your son be the dentist. But, again, the most important component in this is to build-up the experience as a positive one.

It is also a good idea to try to schedule a morning appointment, so he can be well-rested and have had a good breakfast beforehand. Be sure to arrive to your appointment somewhat early, to allow your son a chance to become used to the office. If, by chance, your office does not allow parents to accompany children to the exam room, you should be aware beforehand to decrease his anxiety about this. However, if you are able to go back, snap a photo of her being a good patient and cooperating.

Many offices give children toothbrushes and other goodies such as balloons or tokens when they are finished. If the dental office does not provide these, it’s a great idea to have a toothbrush and small toy or reward to give him at the end of the appointment. You just want to be sure to reinforce the good behavior.

Also, please remember, if the visit is not as positive as you hoped for, and practiced for, don’t fret. Many children take time to become comfortable to new places and things. It will be good to have already been in the office and provided the experience. Then, try again after a few months. Good luck!

This post is sponsored by the office of Phoenix pediatric dentist, Dr. Hillary Peck.

Does my child’s baby tooth need a filling?

My daughter is seven years old. One of her baby teeth has a cavity and her pediatric dentist says it needs filled. I’m struggling with this prognosis. If the tooth is going to eventually fall out, does it really need filled? Or, is the dentist just wanting the money?

Thank you,
Ann

Dear Ann,

If the tooth with the cavity on it happens to be one of your daughter’s eight front teeth, there is no reason to have it filled. However, if the tooth in question is in the back, there are several reasons to fill it, as it could be a few years before the tooth falls out since some baby teeth stay in a child’s mouth until age 12 or more. In fact, there are some adults who still have baby teeth due to no permanent teeth growing in under them. An x-ray is the only way to know this or not. Needless to say, if the tooth with the cavity is a back tooth, she needs to have it filled in order to keep the tooth and hold the space for the adult teeth to come in correctly.  Letting things go and not filling the tooth will cause further decay to build up and she will eventually have to have the tooth extracted, which can be a traumatic experience for a child. If the tooth is pulled, a space maintainer will be needed, in order to keep the space for the adult tooth. If the tooth is removed or comes out too soon, and nothing is put in its place, the other teeth takeover the space and will prevent the eruption of the permanent tooth. This would cause a definite need for orthodontics in her future. Another point to consider, if the tooth in question is her last baby tooth, is is likely it is her six-year molar. This is a permanent tooth and would most definitely require a filling.

This post was written by the office of Phoenix pediatric dentist, Dr. Hillary Peck.

Why are there white spots on my child’s teeth?

My son is a healthy, growing 14 month-old little boy. He is eating what he should be at this age and was breastfed for his first year. Recently, his front two teeth started to appear and have white spots on them. I haven’t seen this before and wondered if it is something I should have checked by a pediatric dentist, or mention it to my child’s pediatrician? I am not sure if this is something I should be concerned about, or if I should just let it be.

Thank you,
Abby

Dear Abby,

It is recommended by the American Dental Association that children visit a dentist for the first time after their first year of age and following the arrival of their first teeth. Typically, this is a quick visit to ensure that everything is developing as it should. It is not like that of an adult visit, which would normally include x-rays, a cleaning, and an exam. Most insurance companies cover this visit as a diagnostic visit and even have a  different billing code for it.

The spots you mention are somewhat concerning. Spots such as these are often times called decalcification spots, or signs of early decay.  They appear when minerals are removed from the tooth and it becomes exposed. Although this doesn’t mean she has a cavity, the exposure of the tooth can cause decay and lead to future cavities. It’s important that your child is seen by a pediatric dentist right away, as they may suggest fluoride treatments to strengthen the tooth and prevent future decay.

This decalcification is not typically seen in children this young and may be the cause of another issue. It’s important to take steps to care for your child’s teeth, but, at this point, it is too early to be seeing signs of decay. Therefore, it could be a problem with the development of your child’s teeth and you should work with your pediatric dentist, as well as your child’s doctor, to better determine the cause.

This post is sponsored by the office of Phoenix pediatric dentist, Dr. Hillary Peck.