Office Hours: Monday - Thursday 9:00am - 5:00pm
At the office of Portia J. Bell, the health and development of your child's smile are our top priorities. Our goals are to help children establish a strong foundation for a lifetime of good oral health and experience the benefits of healthy, beautiful smiles.
All parents want what's best for their families. When good oral care, including routine dental checkups, start at an early age, our office can closely monitor the development and health of your child's smile as they grow. It's essential to keep in mind that preventive care and timely treatment for any emerging dental issues not only helps to ensure ongoing oral health but also supports overall well-being, and contributes to a positive self-image.
You can rest assured that your child's smile is in the best of hands at our office! We provide gentle and precise care in an environment that's comfortable, warm, and engaging. At the office of Portia J. Bell, we offer a comprehensive range of dental services designed to address the dental needs of children of all ages. Whether it's your little one's first trip to the dentist, a routine visit, treatment for a dental emergency, or more, we're well equipped to provide the care that's needed.
We take a proactive approach and emphasize the importance of dental prevention as the key to good oral health. We provide you and your child with the resources as well as the tools to establish an effective brushing and flossing routine and offer nutritional guidance and advice on potentially harmful oral habits. Our entire team strives to make each visit with your child a positive, informative, and beneficial experience.
Studies show that children and teens lose an estimated 51 million school hours each year to dental problems. To help your child maintain optimal oral health and a smile that's healthy and bright, we recommend dental checkups and cleanings twice a year.
As skilled and compassionate providers of care, we understand all aspects of dental development and are sensitive to the unique needs of children. At each periodic exam, a member of our professional team will review your child's medical and dental history and then perform a thorough clinical assessment of the teeth, gums, jaws, and the surrounding oral tissues. We'll also check your child's bite, jaw alignment, and function.
Because it's vital to see what's going on below the surface, we'll take digital radiographs as needed, to check for the presence of any cavities, or infection and to evaluate the position of your child's developing teeth and the health of jaw bone. We'll also perform a professional dental cleaning to eliminate any plaque or debris that has accumulated between the teeth or in hard to reach places.
At every stage of your child's development, we'll advise you on the most effective methods of keeping his or her teeth clean and discuss the foods, beverages, and harmful oral habits that can lead to problems. While it can be difficult sometimes to get children into a regular oral hygiene routine, we'll give you tips and advice on how to make brushing and flossing a fun part of their daily activities. As your trusted partner you can rely on the office of Portia J. Bell to keep a close watch on your child's oral health and development.
Establishing a dental partnership when your child is small
Keeping your baby's and toddler's teeth clean
Not allowing your baby to sleep with a bottle of milk or juice.
Bringing your child to the dentist for routine checkups and care
Leading by example and encouraging the recommended tooth brushing and flossing routine
Promoting wise dietary choices and healthy snacking, including replacing sugary drinks with water and limiting sweets
Providing supportive guidance to help your child put away their pacifier and stop thumb or finger sucking at the appropriate time
Making sure your child wears a mouthguard when playing specific sports
Even before your child is born, your little one's first set of teeth is already forming. As a matter of fact, by the time your baby is a year old, some of the front teeth will have already emerged into place. For this reason, it's essential to establish an oral care routine at an early age. As per the recommendations of the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, parents are encouraged to have their baby see the dentist around the time of their first birthday.
Childhood is a time of incredible physical and emotional changes. As kids go through several stages of development, so do their teeth. Many things, including both genetic and environmental factors, contribute to the health and appearance of your child's smile. While some issues cannot be prevented, there's still a lot you can do to help ensure your child experiences optimal oral health and develops an attractive, functional smile. Our office will make sure your children are instructed in the best methods for caring for their teeth and will provide them with useful, age-appropriate information on following a healthy diet as well as make them aware of which oral habits and activities may be harmful to their teeth and overall well being.
In addition to checking for the presence of dental disease, we also monitor your child's facial growth, jaw development, and alignment of their smile. If orthodontic treatment is indicated, we'll advise you of our recommendations for care. Since many children and teens wear braces, paying extra attention to what they eat and how they maintain their oral hygiene is of the utmost importance.
Beyond good oral hygiene and routine dental care, a balanced, nutritious diet is essential for a healthy smile in a growing child. Sticky, sugary foods and drinks are not only harmful to children's oral health but also detrimental to their overall well-being. A diet rich in nutrients is critical for optimal growth and development and keeping the teeth and gums strong.
A baby's first teeth begin to appear in the 6 to 12-month range. Typically, it's the two lower front ones that appear first. The baby teeth come into place from the front of the mouth and then on to the back. With that said, most children will get all of their baby teeth by the time they are three.
For babies with new teeth just emerging, we may recommend just a washcloth or infant toothbrush to start. As your baby grows and more teeth come into place, an age-appropriate soft bristled brush, and a tiny dab of toothpaste will be recommended. One word of caution; be careful that your child does not swallow the dab of toothpaste. When your child gets older, we will teach him or her more about the responsibilities of self-care and oral hygiene.
While getting teeth is an important milestone in a baby's development, it's essential to be aware that teething can make a baby quite irritable. Your little one may act fussy, have trouble sleeping, avoid eating, and drool quite a bit. While you are powerless to speed up the process of teething, there are a few things that you can do to soothe your baby as their new teeth are erupting into place. Common approaches to helping your baby feel more comfortable while getting their new teeth include safe teething rings, a cold spoon, or a moist gauze rubbed over their gums. Remember, you can always call our office if you have any concerns.
The first set of teeth not only makes it possible for your baby to smile, eat, and speak, but they also play the critical role of serving as placeholders for the permanent teeth. Losing a baby tooth too early can potentially result in a misaligned smile.
When caring for your child's smile, it's important to remember that baby teeth are just as susceptible as the permanent teeth to decay. In fact, more than 50% of children develop cavities before the age of five. Not only does tooth decay pose a risk to the health of the involved baby teeth, but untreated cavities can also have consequences for your child's overall well-being and the permanent teeth that are yet to come into place.
Baby bottle syndrome, which is also known as nursing bottle syndrome, refers to the rampant tooth decay that results from babies sleeping with a bottle containing milk or juice. While the damage is most prevalent in the front teeth of the upper jaw, extensive dental work is typically required to restore the toddler's oral health and prevent infections. New parents are advised not to let their baby sleep with a bottle or at least swap the juice or milk for water.
Some children persist in sucking their thumbs or fingers beyond their preschool years. For these children, the activity continues to be a source of comfort, relaxation, and security. It may even help them fall asleep at night. However, it's essential to be aware that in the long-term, a finger sucking habit is not healthy.
If your child is still thumb or finger sucking by the age of five or six years, it's time to constructively help them stop the habit. If it has caused any alterations to the alignment of the teeth or jaws, or if it is affecting your child's speech or swallowing patterns, it's likely your child requires orthodontic care.
The American Dental Association advises parents to bring their kids in for a routine checkup and preventive care once every six months. At this time, our dentist will examine the teeth, gums, and jaws to assess your child's overall dental health and development. Your child will also have a dental cleaning performed in addition to receiving age-appropriate oral hygiene instructions and nutritional guidance. If any emerging issues are detected, our office will provide the treatment required to address these problems early in their onset.
At the office of Portia J. Bell, we take pride in providing gentle, compassionate care in an environment that is designed with comfort in mind. However, every child is different. While for some children, a trip to the dentist is taken in stride; for others, it can present challenges and produce significant anxiety. If your child is apprehensive, has a medical condition, special needs, or difficulty sitting in a dental chair, we can discuss the best choices for the provision of care and options in dental sedation.
Helping your child start the school year on the right foot not only means getting the correct school supplies, but it also involves making sure your child is in the best of health. One key to avoiding setbacks during the academic year is to make sure your child's smile is in tip-top shape! At the office of Portia J. Bell, we specialize in addressing the dental needs of children as well as helping them establish a strong foundation for a lifetime of optimal oral health.
Cavities develop when plaque is not consistently removed from around the teeth and gums. Due to inadequate oral hygiene practices and dietary habits, children are especially prone to developing cavities. As an added level of protection against tooth decay in children, our office typically recommends periodic fluoride treatments and dental sealants.
Sometimes, due to tooth decay or a traumatic injury, a child may lose a primary tooth early, before the permanent one underneath is ready to come into place. When this happens, our dentist will consider the best way to hold the space left by the baby tooth in order to maintain a clear path for the succeeding adult tooth. Sometimes a small dental appliance, known as a space maintainer, is required to make sure the permanent tooth does not become crowded out of the dental arch or impacted by shifting adjacent teeth.
In addition to checking for the presence of dental disease, harmful oral habits, as well as the presence of other unhealthy activities or conditions, our office will also monitor your child's facial growth, jaw development, and alignment of their smile. If orthodontic treatment is indicated, we'll advise you of our recommendations for care. One common misconception regarding orthodontic treatment is to wait until all of the permanent teeth (except the wisdom teeth) are present. However, most problems involving the alignment of the teeth and jaw growth can be identified by the time a child is in the first or second grade. For this reason, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have a check up with an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7.
If your child or teen plays sports, a sports mouthguard is an excellent idea. Properly fitted, mouthguards are a fundamental component of protective athletic gear and have been demonstrated to reduce trauma to the teeth, tongue, lips, and jaws. Based on your child's involvement in a particular sport, we'll advise you on the most appropriate mouthguard to protect his or her smile.
After your child's permanent molars and premolars come into place, we typically recommend the placement of dental sealants. As an ultra-thin, clear coating that is painlessly applied to the biting surfaces and grooves on the back teeth, dental sealants block the bacteria and acids that cause decay.
Wisdom teeth, which are also known as the third molars, are the last permanent teeth to develop in the oral cavity as well as the final ones to come into place. However, as is often the case, many wisdom teeth do not have sufficient room to erupt, are not developing correctly, or are causing issues for the adjacent teeth and the surrounding tissues. If the wisdom teeth are not fully or partially impacted, they tend to emerge between the ages of 17 and 21 years. At every checkup visit, our office will monitor the development and position of your child's wisdom teeth recommend if and when any extractions are indicated.
Recognizing the fact that children have active lifestyles means there is always a chance an accident involving a hit or blow to the mouth or teeth can occur. These traumatic injuries can happen at home, in the playground, or on the playing field. Common injuries to the teeth and oral cavity seen in a pediatric dental office include everything from soft tissue lacerations of the lips, cheeks, or tongue to chipped, fractured, dislodged, or "knocked out" teeth.
Equally frequent reasons for children to require urgent dental care are painful toothaches, dental infections, and mouth ulcerations. Whatever your child's dental emergency may be, you can rely on our office to provide skilled, compassionate, and reliable care. Our goal is to get your child back on the road to oral health while alleviating any associated discomfort and preventing more serious consequences to their dental health and overall well-being.
At the office of Portia J. Bell, we welcome patients of all ages for care and provide a comprehensive range of services designed to address the needs of every member of your family. We're passionate about what we do and maintain a position at the forefront of advances in dentistry to offer our patients the best options in care. You can depend on our office to help you and your children enjoy good oral health. To schedule an appointment, or to learn more about our office, give us a call today.