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The American Dental Association (ADA) and Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics of Virginia are joining together to recognize February as National Children’s Dental Health Month.  This year’s theme is “Brush and clean in between to build a healthy smile” The ADA and the dental community know that teaching kids 4 steps to dental health while they’re young leads to a lifetime of great oral healthcare.

4 steps to dental health:

  • Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste   Fluoride toothpaste helps remineralize teeth, keeping them strong from the outside so they have less chance to chip or crack
  • Clean between teeth daily  Brushing misses the 60% of the tooth’s surface; only flossing can reach those hidden areas where plaque hides and cavities are formed
  • Eat a healthy diet that limits sugary food and drinks  Foods high in sugar lead to plaque formation so limiting them will help avoid the bacteria that leads to cavities in the first place
  • See a dentist every 6 months for preventive care and checkups  Only your dentist can see what’s going on beneath the surface of your smile.  Maintaining regular checkups means that our dentists will catch an issue before it becomes a problem.

The ADA reaches millions of children, parents, teachers and community leaders by sponsoring Children’s National Dental Health Month in february.  Dental professionals across the country know that with the help of this program, they have taught families the importance of taking care of their teeth and gums. Since its inception in 1941, Children’s National Dental Health Month has proven that education and care are the cornerstone to healthy smiles for a lifetime.

PDOVA is proud to join with The American Dental Association and this national initiative.  If you or your children want to learn some easy tips to maintain great teeth between checkups, ask one of our team members during your next visit.  To schedule an appointment contact us at 804-409-4725 or use our convenient online scheduling tool. A great, healthy smile is waiting for you and your child!

The post Children’s Dental Health Month Is Here appeared first on Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics of Virginia.

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Just hearing the word “braces” can take many of us back to junior high, when most of us had to wear braces or retainers.  Despite the common assumption that braces are just for kids and tweens, more and more adults are choosing to pursue orthodontics to correct their smiles.  Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics of Virginia doesn’t just see kids; our skilled orthodontists are able to provide several orthodontic options for adults who are ready to have a beautiful healthy smile.

Braces for Adults

Perhaps you never had braces as a kid and you are embarrassed by your crooked teeth. Maybe you went through a round of braces a decade ago and stopped wearing your retainer, which allowed your teeth to shift. Whatever your personal history, wearing braces in adulthood is an excellent way to create the straight, beautiful smile you deserve.

What are my options?

With recent advances in orthodontics, there are many options for adults who need braces:

  • Traditional metal braces These are best for individuals who have severely crooked teeth or a significant bite problem, or require other major orthodontic changes. Metal braces are typically the least expensive option. The greatest drawback to wearing metal braces as an adult is aesthetics. Metal braces are more noticeable and not as discreet as other teeth straightening options.
  • Clear ceramic braces If you are a professional who is worried about your personal appearance, clear braces may be a better choice. Clear braces are capable of handling very crooked teeth or bite issues, but are less noticeable than traditional metal.  The clear brackets blend with your teeth, so that coworkers and clients are less likely to notice that you’re wearing braces. You also have to be careful about smoking or drinking red wine, soda, and other dark beverages while wearing clear braces. These items may stain the adhesive that binds the brackets to your teeth.
  • Invisalign®  Another popular option for adults who need braces is the Invisalign clear aligner system.  Clear aligners are different from traditional braces by applying a series of clear, retainer-like aligners that are custom made for your teeth. In general, the Invisalign process takes anywhere from three to 18 months to complete. You should be aware that Invisalign is not as effective as traditional braces in treating bite problems, teeth that are lower or higher than others, or severely overcrowded teeth.

Although you may be nervous about the prospect of getting braces as an adult, you should not let your fears stop you from talking with our orthodontic specialists at Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics of Virginia. A complimentary consultation will address your concerns and provide information about the best course of treatment for you. Adult braces can be a great way to boost your confidence and create the smile you’ve always dreamed of!

The post We Treat Adults Too! appeared first on Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics of Virginia.

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The time is fast approaching when we’ll say goodbye to the year 2018 and welcome 365 brand new days—fresh opportunities for growth, success, and happiness. This year, don’t let anything hold your teen back from achieving their perfect smile.

For many teenagers, crooked or imperfect teeth can have a negative impact on self-confidence. Make a New Year’s resolution to correct their cosmetic dental concerns with braces or Invisalign aligners.

What is Invisalign?

This popular orthodontic treatment is a progressive series of clear aligners that change the position of your teeth through steady pressure. Invisalign can be used to treat some of the most common cosmetic dental problems, such as gaps between teeth, overbites, underbites, and mouth crowding.  As your child moves through their specific treatment plan to a new set of aligners, their teeth will gradually shift into a straighter, more attractive alignment. The aligners are clear and difficult to detect during wear—perfect for teens who want a subtle treatment solution. Invisalign is ultra-convenient, requiring no emergency orthodontist visits for broken brackets or wires. They’re easily removed for eating, drinking, and brushing. Invisalign Teen has been specially designed with wear indicators, so you can be sure your teenager is wearing their aligners for the minimum prescribed time necessary to achieve results.

Traditional Braces

Metal braces have long been the primary method for fixing crooked smiles. Modern metal braces use brackets that are smaller and less perceptible than those of their predecessors. Braces not only improve the look of a smile but also advance the practical functioning of your teen’s teeth and bite.

Metal braces do require proper care by the wearer to maximize results and prevent complications. When wearing metal braces, it’s important to avoid foods that are chewy or hard and crunchy. Some foods can easily become lodged between the braces. To decrease the risk of cavities and embarrassing food-in-the-teeth moments, be sure to cut items like fruits and vegetables into small pieces, rather than biting directly into them.

What to Expect From Your Consultation

During an orthodontic consultation, you and your child will answer some questions about their dental treatment history. You should also ask your orthodontist questions to ensure you fully understand the process and goals of the treatment being proposed.  Some questions you might want to ask include:

  • Can my child’s dental concerns be corrected by braces or invisible aligners?
  • How long will the orthodontic treatment plan take?
  • How much will the treatment cost and how can I pay?

Don’t Wait to Make a Change

Orthodontic treatment is more accessible and affordable than ever before. Whether your teen chooses to use Invisalign or metal braces, you can rest assured knowing that at the end of their  treatment, they’ll have a beautiful smile to be proud of! Take the first step by scheduling an orthodontic consultation with Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics of Virginia. We can’t wait to help your teen start their journey to a beautiful new smile!

The post Give Your Teen A New Smile For The New Year appeared first on Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics of Virginia.

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Taking care of your teeth is an important part of maintaining your overall health. Brushing twice a day, flossing regularly, and meeting with a dentist every 6 months are some of the steps we need to take to ensure optimal oral health. Most everyone probably acknowledges this. However, how many people know the importance of maintaining their children’s baby teeth? Some people may think it’s not important to brush a toddler’s teeth because they are not permanent. Their baby teeth eventually fall out so why bother keeping up with them, some may wonder. Here are six reasons why it’s important to begin your child’s oral health routine now.

Baby teeth mark the place for adult teeth

Although it’s true that children will lose their baby teeth, these teeth play an important role now because they impact your future teeth. They dictate where the adult tooth is supposed to come in. If the baby teeth are not cared for and become decayed, then the adult tooth may not come in properly. It could come in crooked or shift slightly. By brushing your child’s baby teeth and taking them to a dentist regularly, you help keep those teeth healthy and, as a result, ensure their adult teeth come in properly.

Cavities can form in baby teeth

Just because your child doesn’t have their adult teeth doesn’t mean they are not susceptible to getting cavities. In fact, they are able to get cavities as easily as older children without the proper care. If they do get a cavity, it will need to be filled. Cavities left untreated can lead to tooth decay or a cracked  or broken tooth.

Poor oral hygiene can lead to pain

No parent wants to see their children suffer pain, especially the pain of a toothache. However, if children do not receive adequate oral hygiene care, then tooth decay may set in. With tooth decay you have pain. Anyone who has experienced this knows the agony of a toothache. Children may not be able adequately to express what the problem is if they are very young, thus compounding the problem.

Not caring for your teeth may lead to bigger problems

If your child ends up with a cavity because of not brushing the baby teeth, this can lead to worse problems. In fact, an untreated cavity not only may lead to tooth decay, it could result in an abscess or infection. Any time there is an infection in the body, it is serious because you do not know where it will spread. If the infection spreads to the wrong place, it could be extremely serious.

Begin good habits now

Someday your children will be old enough to brush on their own. You want them to have the oral care habits necessary to be healthy children. As you brush their teeth for them when they’re young, it will become a habit to them when they’re older. You are teaching them good future habits when you take care of your young children’s teeth.

Eliminates fear of dentists

When children grow up going to the dentist from a very young age, it becomes a familiar place and a familiar experience. They don’t have the same fears an older child would have who is just starting out with a dentist. Having that early exposure eliminates a lot of the anxiety that older children can exhibit.

Start building healthy habits with your child today by implementing a daily oral health care plan. Brush your child’s teeth with a soft toothbrush twice a day, floss after meals, and remember to make regular appointments with your dentist.

Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics of Virginia’s team of dental professionals are available to teach you and your child the proper way to care for baby teeth.  If you need a refresher for your child’s basic oral care, let one of our team know during your next appointment and we will be happy to help! To make an appointment, contact us at 804-409-4725.  We can’t wait to see you!

The post Why Are Good Daily Toothcare Habits Important? appeared first on Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics of Virginia.

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Say goodbye to your baby’s precious gummy smile and hello to those toddler pearly whites. It’s never too early to start thinking about your child’s teeth. The American Dental Association recommends you make an appointment as soon as their first tooth comes through but no later than age 1. Starting early is the best way to give kids a road map towards overall dental health. Early childhood dental intervention is crucial to recognizing potential problems and, more importantly, for teaching children how to care for their teeth and gums for a lifetime.

Early dental checkups help prevent cavities and tooth decay in young children, which leads to overall dental health in teenagers and adults.  Children who have received early childhood dental checkups have healthy teeth without dental pain. This means they speak more clearly, chew food more thoroughly and are overall more self confident with social interactions that are important in development, such as speaking and smiling.  

Tooth decay is the most chronic childhood illness in the United States, affecting more than 40% of school aged children by the time they are enrolled in kindergarten. The number rises even higher for primary school aged children to 60% affected.  A pediatric dental visit allows the dental professional to guide parents in the importance of dental health at an early age, and may include the following information:

  • Causes of tooth decay:  such as sleeping with baby bottles, drinking milk or juice before bed, and allowing sugary substances to stay on young teeth
  • Switching to a cup after the age of 1:  to reduce the chances of milk or juice being consumed at bedtime
  • Proper brushing techniques for children:   to teach parents the best way to care for their children’s teeth until the child has the dexterity and motor skills to brush and floss for themselves

Kids may have apprehensions about the dentist since they don’t know quite what to expect. They may fear new faces, loud noises, and foreign instruments being used on them. You can ease their worries by helping to effectively prepare them long before their appointment time begins. Explain to them what the dentist and dental assistants do.  Let them ask questions about the procedures. And, if possible, schedule a practice visit before their official first appointment so that your child can get a tour and see the dental office in action.

Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics of Virginia provides expert, high quality pediatric dental care to children of all ages. Our team of professionals also provides special needs dentistry for children with developmental delays or medical conditions that require specialized care.  The importance of early childhood dental intervention and care is emphasized by our team at every visit. Contact us for an appointment to schedule your child’s dental checkup at (804) 739-0963.

The post Early Childhood Dental Intervention appeared first on Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics of Virginia.

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After you go through all of the time, effort and expense of wearing braces, the last thing that you want is for your teeth to shift once your braces come off. Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics of Virginia wants to avoid this as well. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to prevent your teeth from shifting after your braces come off.

Wear Your Retainer Regularly

The easiest way to stop your teeth from shifting after you get your braces off is to wear your retainer. As soon as your braces come off, your dentist will take impressions of your teeth and have retainers custom made for your new smile.

Your regular retainers will either be fixed or removable. If your retainers are fixed in your mouth, then you won’t have to worry about remembering to wear them because they are always there. You will  wear your removable retainer all of the time at first, but it is up to you to remember to keep it in. After your orthodontist is sure that your retainer fits properly and is doing it’s job, he may then cut this back to just wearing your retainer at night.

Take Action If You Notice Your Teeth Are Moving

If you notice that your teeth are moving, it is important that you take action right away. Your teeth may be shifting for a variety of reasons, even if you are trying to wear your retainer as you should. If your wisdom teeth come in after your braces have been removed, this can cause your teeth to shift closer together. The best way to stop this from happening is to have your wisdom teeth examined and possibly removed following the recommendations of your general dentist.

Another reason for teeth shifting  is that your retainer no longer fits properly. This may be because you didn’t wear it enough and your teeth shifted little by little, or because it somehow became bent or damaged. If you have a permanent retainer, it is important to make sure that the wire is still in place and none of the bonds have come off of your teeth because this can also cause your teeth to move out of alignment. Making an appointment with us to have your retainer fixed or replaced is a great way to ensure that your teeth don’t move any further.

Take Care Of Your Teeth

If you don’t take proper care of your teeth, they are at risk of decay. Tooth decay can damage the surface of your teeth and if it’s not treated, will eventually damage the roots. If the shape of your tooth changes due to decay, the rest of your teeth may shift around it. By having  regular checkups with your dentist, you help ensure that your teeth remain in good health, thus reducing the risk of your teeth shifting due to damage or decay.

Visiting your orthodontist regularly the first 6 months after getting your braces off and  every year or so after that, can help to ensure your smile is staying as great as the day your braces came off. They will also inspect your retainer at this time and make any necessary changes.

Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics of Virginia is always available to provide information about retainer wear and care to our patients.  Contact us at 804-739-0963 for an appointment.

The post 3 Tips To Prevent Your Teeth From Shifting After Braces appeared first on Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics of Virginia.

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Thumb sucking is normal behavior for infants, but sometimes it continues through into childhood. Thumb sucking becomes a problem if it continues after teething and especially after permanent teeth start to come through. Most children stop sucking at some point between two and four years. If your four-year-old is still sucking or if you think your child has problems with their primary (milk) teeth, then you may want to take steps to discourage thumb sucking.

The consequences of prolonged thumb sucking can include misalignment of permanent teeth and skeletal changes to the jaw, often resulting in an ‘open’ bite (the upper and lower front teeth do not touch). This may aggravate existing congenital problems such as an under or overbite. Also, children who are still sucking their thumbs may experience social isolation or teasing.

However, infants should not be discouraged from sucking, although parents often choose to offer a pacifier instead. In most cases, older children will rapidly realize the habit has ceased to be acceptable and stop (this may be harder for children with some forms of learning disabilities). If your child is three or four and still sucking, it is probably time to intervene before the permanent teeth start to come in.

Here are some good suggestions:

  1. Praise your child for not sucking: Never punish them for sucking. Sucking is often triggered by anxiety, so punishments can actually make the habit worse.
  2. Establish why your child may be continuing to suck: Insecurity can often cause thumb sucking to continue or intensify. If your child was stopping and then starts again when they start school this can indicate issues at school – possibly separation anxiety or even bullying. Investigating the cause of the habit can help both your child’s teeth and their overall health.
  3. Track the child’s progress on a chart and offer rewards for increasing periods without being caught sucking: Carefully watch the child – some children may simply stop sucking their thumbs when they can be caught at it but continue at night.
  4. Talk to the child, or have the dentist talk to the child about the consequences of thumb sucking: At four or five your child should be mature enough to recognize consequences and explaining to them that they will end up with crooked teeth may be enough of an incentive. In some cases, showing them braces may give the child incentive to stop. Explaining realistic consequences is more effective than being a disciplinarian and telling the kid to stop “Because I said so.”
  5. If needed, especially at night, take steps to make the offending thumb harder to suck: A bandaid, a sock over the affected hand or a bitter tasting substance rubbed on the thumb can all provide solid discouragement, although positive methods should always be used in concert. This can be particularly helpful if your child is sucking in their sleep. In rare instances the dentist may prescribe a dental appliance worn at night to physically prevent sucking.

As a final note, involve the child in the process. Make it clear to them that stopping is beneficial and work with them on the best way to help them quit. Again, thumb sucking is normal behavior for infants and many preschoolers and should only be discouraged if it extends further into childhood or is becoming an actual problem. Providing a pacifier to infants and toddlers can help them quit the habit early as the pacifier can be taken away. If tooth changes start to happen, then you will need to talk to your child’s dentist about the best way to keep them from worsening and treat any issues that occur.

If your child is having a difficult time breaking the thumb sucking habit, Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics of Virginia can help.  During your child’s next visit, ask a member of our team for guidance. We want your child to feel safe and comfortable while working toward a healthier, positive habit.  To schedule an appointment with one of our pediatric dentists, contact us today at (804) 739-0963 or use our convenient online scheduling tool.

The post How to Stop Thumb Sucking: A Dentist’s Guide appeared first on Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics of Virginia.

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When kids and parents think of October, they think of Halloween, bags full of candy, jack o’ lanterns, and pumpkin spice lattes!  Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics of Virginia thinks of beautiful smiles when they think of October! October brings National Orthodontic Health Month, a time to focus on and celebrate great oral care and the work that goes into creating amazing, healthy smiles.

More than 1.2 million adults and 3 million kids and teens wear braces at any given time.  That’s a lot of orthodontic treatment and a great reason to acknowledge the role orthodontic health plays in our lives.

Orthodontic treatment isn’t just for straight teeth.  The true purpose of braces is to gain a healthy bite: straight teeth that meet the opposing jaw properly, enabling you to eat, speak and chew properly.  Having correctly aligned teeth results in a happier, healthier mouth; the beautiful new smile is a bonus!

Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics of Virginia wants to share these tips for keeping your braces looking and working their best!

Avoid sticky and hard candies:  Sticky sweets and hard candies can damage the brackets that are attached to your teeth.  This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a sweet treat, though. Choose soft options, like peanut butter cups, soft chocolate bars or ice cream (minus the nuts, of course!)

Make sure to brush:  After enjoying your soft treat, be sure to brush your teeth and gums to keep your smile healthy.  Braces can trap bacteria which can lead to cavities. Thoroughly brushing and flossing in and around your braces will ensure that you avoid cavities during orthodontic treatment.

Commit to excellent oral health year round:  Taking the time to floss, brush properly and care for your teeth and braces every day will keep your mouth healthy year round.  During your next orthodontic visit, ask for tips on brushing techniques. Our team of professionals is always willing to help you learn how to manage your orthodontic appliances.

Taking the time to follow these simple steps will keep your braces looking shiny and working great!  

If you’re ready to start the journey to a beautiful new smile, contact PDOVA today for a complimentary consultation.  We can’t wait to get started!

The post Celebrate Orthodontic Health Month With PDOVA appeared first on Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics of Virginia.

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Invisalign Teen straightens teeth with clear, plastic aligners that are custom made to fit your teeth. Every two weeks you use a new set of aligners, moving the teeth just a bit more toward their ultimate destination. About every eight to ten weeks, you will visit Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics of Virgina to make certain you are on the right track.

There are numerous benefits to having Invisalign Teen. Most people would assume only adults need Invisalign, for professional reasons. However, teenagers are loving the invisible, removable alternative to straightening teeth.  Why do teens love Invisalign so much? The answers are simple!

Invisible

Invisalign aligners are completely clear and custom made for your teeth. From selfies to prom and yearbook photos to senior pictures, you will be looking your best. Since the aligners are clear, most people won’t even know you are wearing them. Your smile will be corrected without any metal bands and brackets and you can be more confident about how you look.

Removable

Invisalign trays are removable. You take them out when you eat and enjoy all of your favorite foods. You can brush and floss your teeth as you normally would, and then place the aligners back in until your next meal. Just don’t forget to put them back in, because Invisalign Teen should be worn precisely as your orthodontist prescribes so that it works the way it’s supposed to.

Activity-Friendly

If you play sports, Invisalign Teen is a perfect alternative way to straighten your smile. You can remove the aligners before games and place them back in when you are done. Invisalign also gives you the freedom to play instruments.  

Manageable

As Invisalign aligners do not contain metal or wires, there will be fewer visits to Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics of Virginia.  You will find this feature to be a great time saver. The aligners also have blue indicators that fade as you wear them so you and your parents can make sure you are wearing them as instructed. If you lose an aligner, Invisalign provides six free replacements.

Cost-Effective

Your parents will be happy about this one. Invisalign Teen costs about the same as traditional braces, and insurance companies generally offer an equivalent amount of coverage. With Invisalign Teen, you can set up a payment plan over the length of your orthodontic care, with no-interest financing.

At Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics of Virginia, we love making teens smile! We are excited to meet you and get started on your beautiful smile. We offer a complimentary orthodontic consultation, diagnostic x-rays and one-on-one time to discuss which treatment you need with you and your parents. Call PDOVA at (804) 739-0963 today for more information on the benefits of Invisalign Teen!

The post 5 Reasons Teens Love Invisalign appeared first on Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics of Virginia.

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