Anesthesia and Sedation for Your Child: Questions to Ask Your Dentist

Anesthesia and Sedation for Your Child: Questions to Ask Your Dentist

The ADA offers the following questions that parents and guardians should ask concerning in-office sedation or general anesthesia for their children provided either by the dentist or by a separate sedation/anesthetic practitioner in that dental office. The ADA recommends talking to your dentist about any concerns you might have about the treatment plan prior, during and after the procedure:

Prior to the procedure:

  • Who will provide the preoperative evaluation of my child including their past medical history such as allergies, current prescription medications and previous illnesses and hospitalizations?
  • What is the recommended time that my child should be without food or drink prior to the procedure (with the exception of necessary medications taken with a sip of water)?
  • Will any sedation medication be given to my child at home prior to their coming to the office and,if so, how should they be monitored?
  • What training and experience does the sedation/anesthesia provider have in providing the level of sedation or anesthesia that is planned for the procedure? Does this training and experience meet all of the standards of the ADA Guidelines for the Use of Sedation and General Anesthesia by Dentists?
  • Does the staff assisting in the procedure have current training in emergency resuscitation procedures, such as Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers, and other advanced resuscitation courses as recommended by the ADA Guidelines? Is this training regularly renewed?
  • Does the state dental board require a special sedation/anesthesia permit or license that allows for the sedation/anesthesia provider to administer this specific level of sedation or anesthesia in the dental office?

During the procedure:

  • In addition to the use of local anesthesia (numbing), what level of sedation or general anesthesia will be given to my child? Is it minimal sedation (relaxed and awake), moderate sedation (sleepy but awake), deep sedation (barely awake) or general anesthesia (unconscious)?
  • How will my child be monitored before, during and after the procedure until the child is released to go home? Are the appropriate emergency medications and equipment immediately available if needed, and does the office have a written emergency response plan for managing medical emergencies?

After the procedure:

  • Will the sedation/anesthesia provider give me instructions and emergency contact information if there are any concerns or complications after returning home?

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How dentists get their kids to brush their teeth

As a parent, you may have more in common with your dentist than you think. Many moms and dads—even dentists—struggle to keep their children’s mouths and teeth clean. ADA dentist Dr. Gene Romo is a father of four – ages 13, 10, 8 and 2. “As you can imagine, there can be a wide range of behavior on who wants to brush and who doesn’t in our house,” he says. “I’m not just a dentist, I’m their dad, so making sure they’re establishing good habits early on is important to me.”

To keep your family’s smiles strong, try some of tricks of the trade from dentist moms and dads:

Establish a Fun Family Routine

In Dr. Romo’s house, there’s one rule everyone follows: “You have to brush before bed, and you can’t leave the house in the morning until you brush,” he says. “The most important thing is to make sure your family is brushing for 2 minutes, twice a day.”

Young kids love to imitate their parents, so take the opportunity to lead by example. “One thing I did with all my kids was play a game with them, kind of like monkey-see, monkey-do. We all have our toothbrushes, and they follow what I do,” he says. “When I open my mouth, they open their mouths. When I start brushing my front teeth, they start brushing their front teeth – and so on all the way until it’s time to rinse and spit. It’s just a fun way to teach them how to brush properly, and we get to spend a little time together, too.”

Making brushing a family affair also helps you keep an eye out for healthy habits. “Some kids want to do everything themselves, even toothpaste, so you can watch to make sure they’re not using more than they should – a rice-sized smear for kids 2 and under and a drop the size of a pea for kids 3 and up,” he says. “You can also do a quick final check for any leftover food when brush time is done.”

Try a New Angle

When her daughter was only 6 months old, ADA dentist Dr. Ruchi Sahota asked her husband to hold her while she brushed or brushed when her daughter was laying down. “You can see their teeth from front to back the best at that time,” she says.

If your child is old enough to stand and wants to brush in the bathroom, ADA dentist Dr. Richard Price suggests a different method. “Stand behind your child and have him or her look up at you,” he says. “This causes the mouth to hang open and allows you to help them brush more easily.”

Bigger Kids, Bigger Challenges

Checking up on your child’s daily dental hygiene habits doesn’t end as they get older. It’s more challenging when they get their driver’s license and head off to college, says ADA dentist Dr. Maria Lopez Howell. “The new drivers can drive through any fast food spot for the kinds of food and beverages that they can’t find in a health-minded home,” she says. “The new college student is up late either studying or socializing. They don’t have a nightly routine, so they may be more likely to fall asleep without brushing.”

While your children are still at home, check in on their brushing and talk to them about healthy eating, especially when it comes to sugary drinks or beverages that are acidic. After they leave the nest, encourage good dental habits through care packages with toothbrushes, toothpaste or interdental cleaners like floss with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. And when they’re home on break, make sure they get to the dentist for regular checkups! Or if school break is too hectic– you can find a dentist near campus to make sure they are able to keep up with their regular visits.

Play Detective…

As your children get older, they’re probably taking care of their teeth away from your watchful eye. Dr. Romo asks his older children if they’ve brushed, but if he thinks he needs to check up on them, he will check to see if their toothbrushes are wet. “There have been times that toothbrush was bone dry,” he says. “Then I’ll go back to them and say, ‘OK, it’s time to do it together.’”

If you think your child has caught on and is just running their toothbrush under water, go one step further. “I’ll say, ‘Let me smell your breath so I can smell the toothpaste,’” he says. “It all goes back to establishing that routine and holding your child accountable.”

…And Save the Evidence

It could be as simple as a piece of used floss. It sounds gross, but this tactic has actually helped Dr. Lopez Howell encourage teens to maintain good dental habits throughout high school and college.

To remind them about the importance of flossing, Dr. Lopez Howell will ask her teenage patients to floss their teeth and then have them smell the actual floss. If the floss smells bad, she reminds them that their mouth must smell the same way. “It’s an ‘ah-ha’ moment,” Dr. Lopez Howell explains. “They do not want to have bad breath, especially once they see how removing the smelly plaque might improve their social life!”

Above All, Don’t Give Up

If getting your child to just stand at the sink for two minutes feels like its own accomplishment (much less brush), you’re not alone. “It was so difficult to help my daughter to brush her teeth because she resisted big time,” says ADA dentist Dr. Alice Boghosian. Just remember to keep your cool and remain persistent.

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10 Things to Know About Your Tot’s Teeth

When Teeth Erupt

Your baby is born with 20 teeth below the gums, and they usually start coming through between 6 months and a year. Most children have their full set of teeth by 3 years old. Learn more about what teeth are coming through and when.

Teething Signs and Symptoms

Teething can be a rite of passage for babies and parents alike. As their teeth come in, some babies may become fussy, sleepless and irritable, lose their appetite or drool more than usual. Diarrhea, rashes and a fever are not caused by teething. If your baby has a fever or diarrhea while teething or continues to be cranky and uncomfortable, call your physician.

 

When to Start Brushing with Toothpaste

Decay can happen as soon as teeth first appear. If you see some pearly whites peeking out when your little one smiles, it’s time to pick up a tube of fluoride toothpaste. Find one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

How Much Toothpaste to Use

It doesn’t take much to clean your child’s teeth. Until you’re confident that your child can brush on his or her own, continue to brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a child-size toothbrush. If your child is 3 or younger, use a smear of toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice). For children 3 or older, a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste will do. Learn more about establishing healthy habits early.

When to Schedule Your Baby’s First Dental Visit

It’s another milestone in a year of exciting firsts. Your child’s first dental visit should take place after their first tooth appears, but no later than the first birthday. Why so early? As soon as your baby has teeth, they can get cavities. Learn more about what to expect and how to prepare for your child’s first dental visit.

When to Start Flossing

It doesn’t matter if you floss your child’s teeth before or after they brush as long as you clean between any teeth that touch. You can use child-friendly plastic flossing tools to more easily floss your child’s teeth until your child learns to do it.

You Can Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby bottle tooth decay most often occurs in the upper front teeth (but other teeth may also be affected). Frequent, prolonged exposure of the baby’s teeth to drinks that contain sugar can cause tooth decay. This can happen when the baby is put to bed with a bottle, or when a bottle is used as a pacifier for a fussy baby.

Keep Their Mouths Clean

The next time your child’s pacifier goes flying, don’t pick it up and put it in your mouth because you think that makes it cleaner. Cavity-causing bacteria can be passed through saliva, so you could actually be introducing germs to your child instead of protecting him or her from them. The same goes for mealtime. It can be second nature to offer a bite of your food to your baby from your fork or use their spoon to make sure their food is ready to eat. Keep your utensils, and your germs, separate for healthy mouth and body.

Water Works!

When your child has worked up a thirst, water is the best beverage to offer—especially if it has fluoride! Drinking water with fluoride (also known as “nature’s cavity fighter”) has been shown to reduce cavities by 25%. While sweetened drinks like fruit juice (even those labeled 100% natural), soda and sports drinks can cause cavities, water with fluoride protects teeth. Sugary drinks also contribute to weight gain, and water is calorie-free.

There’s One More Way to Keep Cavities at Bay

Brushing and flossing go a long way to protecting your teeth against cavities, but sealants form an extra barrier between cavity-causing bacteria and your child’s teeth. School-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants. According to the Centers for Disease Control and ADA’s Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry, sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars.

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3 Tips for Healthy Summer Smiles

Summer sun brings summer fun. While warm months are perfect for spending time together, summer vacation can also throw off your usual dental routine. Here are three ways to prevent summertime tooth decay:  

Pregnant? 9 Questions You May Have About Your Dental Health

Do I Need to Change My Daily Habits?

If you’re already brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and cleaning between your teeth once a day, keep up the good work! If not, there’s no better time to start, as poor habits during pregnancy have been associated with premature delivery, intrauterine growth restriction, gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. Talk to your dentist about your routine and if you should make any changes. Shopping for you and your growing family? Look for dental products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Why Are My Gums Bleeding?

With pregnancy come changes in your body, emotions and mouth. As many as half of all women develop pregnancy gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease that is most common between the second and eighth months of pregnancy. It usually goes away after childbirth. Hormones make your gums more easily irritated by plaque and can cause gums to be red, tender, sore and bleed. Brush twice a day for two minutes, clean between your teeth once a day, and talk to your dentist about other steps you can take to keep your gums healthy.

Do You Lose a Tooth with Each Baby?

No, this is an old wives’ tale. Losing a tooth is not a normal part of pregnancy, and if you do, you most likely already had an existing dental problem. You may, however, feel like your teeth are a bit loose. According to the Mayo Clinic, progesterone and estrogen can loosen the ligaments and bones that keep your teeth in place, even if you don’t have gum disease. Many times this goes away after pregnancy, but talk to your dentist if you feel like your teeth are moving when they shouldn’t.

I’m Struggling with Morning Sickness. What Should I Do?

Unfortunately, morning sickness can hit any time of the day. Vomit contains stomach acids that can eat away at your teeth, so waiting to brush after you’ve rinsed your mouth can help prevent those acids from doing damage. Instead of brushing, first swish and spit. You can use water, a diluted mouth rinse or a mixture of 1 cup of water and 1 tsp. of baking soda. Spit it out, and brush your teeth about 30 minutes later.

Is It Safe to See the Dentist During Pregnancy?

Yes! In fact, your dentist may recommend additional cleanings during your second trimester and early third trimester to help control gingivitis. If your last visit to the dentist was more than 6 months ago or if you notice any changes in your mouth, schedule an appointment. Always let your dental office know how far along you are when you call, and tell your dentist of any change in the medications you take or if you have received any special advice from your physician.

Help! Brushing Makes Me Gag.

During a time when anything (and possibly everything) may make you gag, take it slow and figure out what works for you. Changing your flavor of toothpaste, using a brush with a smaller head, or brushing at different times of the day may help. If you need to swish and spit before coming back to brush your teeth, try that as well. The important thing is to keep up your routine because you’re slightly more at risk for cavities, thanks to acid on your teeth from morning sickness, possible diet changes and feeling too tired to brush.

Does What I Eat Affect My Baby’s Teeth?

Your baby’s teeth begin to develop between the third and sixth months of pregnancy, and eating well can help them form correctly. Get plenty of nutrients – including vitamins A, C, and D, protein, calcium and phosphorous. To reduce the risk of neural tube defects, you need 600 mcg of folic acid each day while pregnant. Take folic acid supplements, and eat foods high in folate. While you’re at it, drink plenty of water with fluoride to keep your own teeth strong.

Are X-Rays Safe During Pregnancy?

Yes, dental X-rays are safe during pregnancy. Your dentist or hygienist will cover you with a protective apron that minimizes exposure to the abdomen. Your dental office will also whenever possible cover your throat with a protective thyroid collar to protect the thyroid from radiation.

Is It Safe to Have a Dental Procedure?

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists agrees that procedures like cavity fillings and crowns are safe and important to have during pregnancy to prevent potential infection. It may be more uncomfortable to sit in a dental chair the later you are in pregnancy, so schedule dental work in your second trimester, if possible. Cosmetic procedures, like whitening, should wait until after baby arrives. If you need an emergency procedure, work with your dentist on the best plan for the health of you and your baby.

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Better Brush Up Guys, She’s Checking Out Your…Oral Health?

What happens in the bedroom may have a lot to do with what happens in the bathroom. A Delta Dental survey finds that three-quarters of the nation’s women consider good oral health to be one of the sexiest qualities in a partner. If it’s not up to par, their partner can count on fewer kisses and possibly even the end of the relationship.

Oral health matters more to women than men, the survey details:

  • 74% of women consider good oral health one of the sexiest qualities vs. 68% of men.
  • 70% of women say they won’t kiss someone they believe has poor oral health vs. 65% of men.
  • With poor hygiene topping the list of reasons women say they’ll break up with someone (women, 67% vs. men, 60%), 27% of women say they’ll break up with someone who doesn’t brush their teeth twice a day vs. 22% of men.
  • Both sexes are near-equally as attracted to someone who smiles often: men, 73% vs. women, 72%.
  • While hygiene is more important to women, a beautiful smile matters more to men, 72%, than women, 68%.
  • Men want to make the time: 25% of men who say they have untreated oral health issues report they don’t have the time to get to the dentist to have the issues addressed.
  • Additionally, 40% of women say they’ll end a relationship with someone who uses their toothbrush versus only 20% of men. In comparison, that’s the same percentage of women who would break up someone for looking through their phone without permission.

“Good oral health and a great smile can make a difference in relationships and in people’s overall lives,” said Jennifer Elliott, vice president of marketing for Delta Dental Plans Association. “That’s why Delta Dental encourages regular oral health care for better health and overall well-being.”

Age matters when it comes to good oral health being one of the sexiest qualities, younger Baby Boomers (77%) and younger Gen Xers (74%) see near eye to eye on the matter.

Regionally, Northeasterners take oral health the most seriously when it comes to kissing: 72% won’t kiss someone if they suspect poor oral health followed by the South (69%), the West (68%), and the Midwest (64%).

“Maintaining good oral health really comes down to the basics: brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, floss, and see your dentist regularly,” advises  Bill Kohn, DDS, Delta Dental Plans Association’s vice president of dental science and policy. “Compared to finding a romantic connection, preventive oral health care is simple and painless.”

About the Survey: The Adult Oral Health Survey was conducted between December 16, 2015 and January 14, 2016 among a nationally representative sample of 1,025 Americans 18+. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent.

Source: prnewswire.com

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What Sexually Transmitted Diseases Look Like in Your Mouth

early 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases affect people in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With these highly preventable diseases often come symptoms that affect your entire body – including your mouth. Not all people who are infected will go on to have symptoms. If a person with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) develops symptoms, they are then considered to have a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

3 Things All Athletes Should Do for Their Teeth

No matter what sport or skill level, athletes need to take care of their teeth both on and off the field. “Most athletes are careful about what they eat and their workout routine. Part of that routine should include taking care of your mouth and teeth every single day,” he says. “It would be a shame to miss practice or a game because you are in the dentist’s office receiving treatment or recovering from a dental surgical procedure.”

Detecting Oral Cancer

A routine visit to my ADA dentist saved my life. I am a four-year survivor of oral cancer. I am married, 47 years old and the mother of two girls, ages 10 and 12. I am not a smoker or drinker, and have been in good health my entire life. In 2000, during a teeth cleaning, my dentist, Dr. Phillip Sacks in Woodland Hills, California, discovered precancerous white spots on my tongue.