We recommend taking X-rays around the age of two or three. The first set consists of simple pictures of the front upper and lower teeth, which familiarizes your child with the process. Once the baby teeth in back are touching each other, then regular (at least yearly) X-rays are recommended. Permanent teeth start coming in around age six, and X-rays help us make sure your child’s teeth and jaw are healthy and properly aligned. If your child is at a high risk of dental problems, we may suggest having X-rays taken at an earlier age.
The large majority of children suck their thumbs or fingers as infants, and most grow out of it by the age of four, without causing any permanent damage to their teeth. If you child continues sucking after permanent teeth erupt let us know and we can check to see if any problems are arising from the habit.
Even children’s sports involve contact, and we recommend mouthguards for children active in sports. If your little one plays baseball, soccer, or other sports, ask us about having a custom-fitted mouthguard made to protect his teeth, lips, cheeks, and gums.
Sealants cover the pits and fissures in teeth that are difficult to brush and therefore susceptible to decay. We recommend sealants as a safe, simple way to help your child avoid cavities, especially for molars, which are hardest to reach.
Tooth decay that occurs in infants and toddlers is referred to as baby bottle tooth decay. Cavities and tooth decay that occur at this young age are usually found in the upper front teeth. Avoid putting your child to bed with a bottle. This will prevent sugars from collecting and residing in the mouth during sleep. Similarly, avoid using a baby bottle as a pacifier for a fussy baby, because the prolonged exposure may lead to tooth decay.
Baby teeth typically appear in pairs at different times, from age 6 months until an infant is 2-to-3 years old. Fact: The first molar is the first permanent tooth that erupts from the mouth. It is also one of the most common to have cavities because a lack of sealants and excess sugary diet.
Tooth eruption is the process in which a baby’s teeth first appear.
As baby teeth erupt, babies tend to drool more, are more irritable than normal, lose their appetite, and become sleepless. A baby’s temperature may also rise above normal levels, but not to a fever. If your baby has a fever, contact your physician. Also contact your physician if your baby develops a rash or diarrhea, as these are not common symptoms of teething.
Teething is when an infant’s first baby teeth, often-called “milk teeth,” start emerging through the gums. Teething may start as early as three months or as late as twelve months. Teething is also called “cutting teeth,” although the process of tooth eruption doesn’t actually cut a baby’s gums.
Be sure that your child brushes his teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste (if they are old enough to spit the toothpaste out). Flossing daily is also important, as flossing can reach spots between the teeth that brushing cannot. Check with your pediatric dentist about a fluoride supplement, which helps tooth enamel be harder and more resistant to decay. Avoid long periods of snacking on sugary foods and drinks; one coke sipped on over 1 hour is worse for your teeth than 2 cokes finished in 10 minutes. Finally, make regular appointments so that we can check the health of your child’s teeth and provide professional cleanings.
Certain types of bacteria live in our mouths. When these bacteria meet sugary foods left behind on our teeth after eating, they produce acids. These acids attack the enamel on the exterior of the teeth, eventually eating through the enamel and creating holes in the teeth, which we call cavities.
Once your child has a few teeth, you can start using toothpaste on the brush. Use only a tiny amount for each cleaning, and be sure to choose toothpaste without fluoride for children under two, as too much fluoride can be dangerous for very young children. Always have your child rinse and spit out toothpaste after brushing, to begin a lifelong habit he’ll need when he graduates to fluoride toothpaste. Children naturally want to swallow toothpaste after brushing, and swallowing too much fluoride toothpaste can cause teeth to stain. You should brush your child’s teeth for him until he is ready to take on that responsibility himself, which usually happens by age six or seven.
Even before your baby’s first tooth appears, we recommend you clean his gums after feedings with a damp, soft washcloth. As soon as his first tooth appears, you can start using a toothbrush. Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head. You can most likely find a toothbrush designed for infants at your local drugstore.
Although they don’t last as long as permanent teeth, your child’s first teeth play an important role in his development. While they’re in place, these primary teeth help your little one speak, smile and chew properly. They also hold space in the jaw for permanent teeth. If a child loses a tooth too early (due to damage or decay) nearby teeth may encroach on that space, which can result in crooked or misplaced permanent teeth. Also, your child’s general health is affected by the oral health of the teeth and gums.
We generally recommend scheduling checkups every six months. Depending on the circumstances of your child’s oral health, we may recommend more frequent visits.
The best preparation for your child’s first visit to our office is maintaining a positive attitude. Children pick up on adults’ apprehensions and if you make negative comments about trips to the dentist, you can be sure that your child will fear an unpleasant experience and act accordingly. Show your child the pictures of the office and staff on the website. Let your child know that it’s important to keep his teeth and gums healthy, and that the doctor will help him do that. Remember that your dentist is specially trained to handle fears and anxiety, and our staff excels at putting children at ease during treatment. For more tips, visit our page – Your Child’s First Visit.
The first visit is usually short and simple. In most cases, we focus on getting to know your child and giving you some basic information about dental care. The doctor will check your child’s teeth for placement and health, and look for any potential problems with the gums and jaw. If necessary, we may do a bit of cleaning. We will also answer any questions you have about how to care for your child’s teeth as they develop, and provide you with materials containing helpful tips that you can refer to at home. To learn more, please visit our page – Your Child’s First Visit.
Parent’s Guide for Emergencies and Oral Health by the American Academy of Pediatrics
Even if you chose to wait to have your wisdom teeth removed, it is important to continuously monitor them. Your mouth is constantly changing over time and it is possible to develop problems later in life. As with many other health conditions, as people age, they are at a greater risk for health problems and that risk includes potential problems with their wisdom teeth.
Because each patient is unique, the ideal age to remove wisdom teeth may vary. Most doctors will recommend having them removed before they are fully developed to prevent crowding after eruption. Younger patients also tend to heal faster and with fewer complications than older patients.
Most patients usually have to miss at least 1-2 days of work or school after their wisdom teeth are extracted. Your doctor may prescribe painkillers that will make it difficult to focus as they may make you dizzy or sleepy. Patients are asked to keep ice on the outside of their face for at least 24 hours to prevent inflammation or swelling. Your doctor will also usually recommend relaxing as physical activity, even as minor as walking, may increase bleeding. However, after a few days of recovery, most patients are able to return to their day-to-day activities with little to no problem.
There are two potential complications that may occur post surgery. Dry socket is a common complication that occurs when a blood clot has failed to form in the extracted tooth socket or when a clot has been dislodged. Dry sockets usually occur 3-4 days after the extraction and are accompanied by pain and a foul mouth odor. Dry sockets are easily treated by rinsing the area and placing a medication in the socket.
Paresthesia is a less common complication that occurs when nerves in the jawbone are bruised or damaged during the extraction process. This may result in numbness (paresthesia) of the tongue, lip, or chin that can last days, weeks, or be permanent.
Complete healing doesn’t fully occur for a few weeks to a few months after extraction. Usually, after about two weeks, your mouth will be reasonably comfortable.
The duration of your procedure depends on how many wisdom teeth are being removed. Usually, the procedure lasts 1 to 2 hours.
Our office uses different types of general anesthesia during wisdom teeth extractions. To learn more about the various forms of sedation we offer, visit the Sedation page of our website.
Because each patient’s needs are unique, it’s important to discuss your options with the dentist. During your consultation, you doctor will discuss how many wisdom teeth need to be removed in order to prevent future dental issues. The doctor may choose to remove all wisdom teeth at once or just remove a few potentially problematic teeth.
Your experience with oral surgery will vary based the complexity the extraction performed. Nonetheless, our goal that we’ve been successfully achieving for over 17 years is to provide virtually pain-free surgery in the most comfortable setting possible. Below is a list of what to expect if you’re planning on having oral surgery.
- All procedures will begin with a consultation process where you will be shown any issues, current or potential, with your teeth along with a course of action.
- Regardless of the type of anesthetic used, you will experience numbness and possibly difficulty chewing or speaking following your procedure. This is only temporary.
- Recovery time will vary based on what type of procedure was used. A simple, non-surgical extraction will require less time to heal than a surgical extraction.
- Inflammation to some degree is generally present after surgery. You will be given instructions for effectively managing pain and swelling.
- Your dentist will provide you with a list of foods to avoid and how to care for your wounds during your recovery period.
- Bruising and bleeding is normal, part of the healing process, and will resolve in a few days.
- Your dentist may or may not use stitches to close the incision. Some stitches will dissolve on their own while others require a follow-up visit to remove.
- You will also need to abstain from smoking during the first 24-72 hours following surgery and should avoid activities that may loosen the blood clots, such as drinking through a straw or rinsing your mouth out. This is a CRITICAL part of healing and preventing dry socket.
Oral surgery is normally performed when the patient is young because the roots have not yet fully set in the jaw, and the patient is healthy enough to quickly recover. Once the teeth are anchored, extraction becomes more difficult and requires a longer recovery time.
This kind of extraction is performed for those whose teeth have already erupted. Nitrous Oxide or Oral Sedation are typically recommended for these more straightforward procedures. During a simple extraction, the dentist will apply a local anesthetic, numbing the area but not rendering the patient unconscious. The tooth will then be lifted using an elevator and removed from the mouth with forceps. Dr. Parsi performs this process slowly so as not to break the tooth during extraction, and to eliminate discomfort.
This type of procedure is done for those whose teeth have not yet erupted or who have complications like large or curved roots. During a surgical extraction, Dr. Parsi may administer an IV anesthetic, which will render the patient relaxed but conscious. Dr. Parsi will then make an incision to facilitate removal. Often, the tooth will be sectioned (cut in smaller pieces) to ease the extraction. Again, all of this is done with the help of a local anesthetic. Local anesthetics such as Lidocaine leave the sensation of pressure but takes away all pain! (Scare dental movies wouldn’t be scary if they had today’s pain-free technology)
- Impacted teeth
- Malocclusion (pre-orthodontic treatment)
- Cysts, tumors or abscesses
- Partial eruption leading to an operculum
- Oral cancer diagnosis and excision
- Severely decayed or fractured teeth
- Dry socket: We make every effort to avoid our patients from getting dry socket after having oral surgery. Detailed instructions will be given before and after your procedure for your benefit. Dry sockets occur in less than 5% of routine extractions, and 25% of lower 3rd molar extractions. The symptoms of dry socket include severe pain between the third and fifth day after treatment, and possible tissue swelling. While dry socket will generally heal on its own, we want to provide every opportunity to keep our patients happy in the event that a dry socket occurs. This will typically consist of placing a soothing paste, prescribing pain medication, and altering your diet.
- Nerve injury: The lingual and inferior alveolar nerves run near the surgical site of lower wisdom teeth and supply sensation and taste to the genera area. While nerve injuries are often temporary, nerve damage should never be overlooked, and it’s important to inform Dr. Parsi of any prolonged feelings of anesthesia (lack of feeling) to rule out long-term nerve damage.
- Damage to existing dental work: If the teeth near the tooth to be extracted have crowns or other restorations on them, there is a risk of damaging those restorations during tooth extraction. Extreme caution is common protocol, but there is a possibility.
- Damage to surrounding areas: While it is rare, injury may occur around the sinus cavity or jaw depending on how the tooth needed to be extracted. Any injury will be treated promptly and effectively. Rest assured, every precaution is taken to preserve surrounding tissues and structures.
Though wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, may not cause problems for everyone, these teeth are often removed to prevent more serious issues like an abscess or periodontal problems. Wisdom teeth typically begin to surface in the late teens to early 20s, often times staying impacted (submerged under the gums/bone) as they develop, growing sideways into the other teeth or angled forward. Wisdom teeth may erupt from the gumline or may stay impacted in the jaw. Partially erupted wisdom teeth may present several issues as these teeth are difficult to clean and care for. Common complications of partially impacted wisdom teeth include pericoronitis (gum infection), which causes on-and-off pain, or localized periodontitis (bone and gum disease), where bone and possibly tooth structure of adjacent teeth become affected by the partially impacted wisdom tooth. Extractions are typically handled by a more experienced dentist or specialist, such as Dr. Parsi, since there are many vital structures and nerves that require a thorough understanding of the anatomy.
Dr. Parsi is one of only a few general dentists in San Antonio that received advanced certification in IV sedation for surgical extractions. He performs IV sedation on most patients needing wisdom teeth removed, as the experience of dental extractions is much more comfortable, and often forgotten. While not necessary, Dr. Parsi offers IV sedation for any patient wanting to “be asleep” for the procedure, yet have the safety of still being able to breathe on their own in a deeply relaxed state. To learn more about our San Antonio IV Sedation please visit the IV Sedation page.
Doing a root canal removes its blood supply and inner support which weakens the tooth. If the infection is severe, or excessive tooth was needed to be removed, a crown is needed to maintain the strength of the tooth.
Please chew on the other side from your root canal. Avoid sticky, chewy or crunchy foods to prevent cracking the tooth or your temporary if your final restoration has not been placed. If any problems arise, feel free to call the office.
Depending on your case, Dr. Parsi may or may not prescribe pain medication and/or antibiotics. Please take them only as directed and call us if you have any questions.
In some cases swelling will occur in the area, as this is part of the natural healing process. Ibuprofen and placing ice on the area usually help, however, antibiotic therapy may be necessary. Swelling will usually subside in 2-3 days. Occasionally, a small pimple (sinus tract) will appear on the gum tissue beside the tooth. This sinus tract is a release of pressure and bacteria from around the tooth and should go away within a week. If you feel uncomfortable or notice severe or prolonged swelling, please call us or stop by our San Antonio office to let us know.
Sometimes tooth infections spread to tissues under the roots of your tooth and cause pain. This will heal once the canals of your tooth are cleansed of the infection.
It is not uncommon for you to experience an uncomfortable or dull ache after your root canal. Sensitivity upon biting is also common. These symptoms can last up to a week and Dr. Parsi will provide you with follow-up instructions that help lessen these symptoms while you heal.
Usually one or two appointments depending on the situation. A third, short appointment is necessary if you are having a crown after the root canal.
Studies indicate that root canal treatment is 90 to 95% successful if done by an experienced clinician, like Dr. Parsi.
A root canal doesn’t cause pain, it relieves it. Our San Antonio office is equipped with excellent tooth numbing materials and Dr. Parsi will make sure you are pain-free before starting treatment. Rest assured, the days of biting on sticks for pain relief are long gone.