Scarsdale Pediatric Dental Associates, LLP

Tips for Flossing with Braces

Flossing may seem impossible when you have braces – all those wires getting in the way! It normally takes people with braces three times longer to floss, but we have some pointers to help speed things up. Our team loves to suggest techniques that take the hassle out of having braces! Keep reading for a list of tools that will help clean your teeth in half the time.Tips for Flossing with Braces

  • Waxed floss: Unwaxed floss is made up of strands that catch on braces and get left behind in your mouth. Try waxed floss, instead; it glides easily between teeth and doesn’t tear so you don’t have to worry about floss residue.
  • Floss threader: It’s hard to floss properly with braces blocking your teeth and gums. Using this tool is a lot like threading a needle: pull the floss through the threader, then use the threader to maneuver the floss behind your wires and between your teeth.
  • Dental tape: If you have gum soreness you may find dental tape, or ribbon floss, more comfortable because it’s wider, spongier and gentler on gums.
  • Orthodontic brush: Also called a “proxy brush,” these have v-shaped bristles to get between brackets and reach all the places you might be missing with a regular toothbrush.
  • Water pick: Water picks can help flush out food and bacteria in hard-to-floss places. They’re convenient for getting rid of food debris between meals when you don’t have time to brush or floss. The water pressure also stimulates the gums to ease inflammation.
  • Disclosing tablets: Here’s a fun way to find out if you’re brushing and flossing well enough! Plaque disclosing tablets are chewable and contain a dye that lights up plaque and food residue you might have missed while cleaning your teeth.

You shouldn’t have to struggle with flossing just because you have braces; braces are supposed to improve your oral health, not make it more difficult to maintain! If you pick up the right materials, your dental care routine will be quick and effective.

Lunch Time! Snacks for School that Keep Teeth Healthy

With back to school right around the corner, you may be wondering how your kids’ teeth brushing habits will hold up when things start getting hectic. We know that busy schedules make it hard to stay on top of your oral health routine during the school year. Luckily, brushing and flossing aren’t the only ways to keep teeth healthy. Taking care of your teeth starts with the food you eat, so packing the right lunch foods makes it easy for your kids to practice good dental hygiene all day long! Keep reading for a list of foods that your kids can eat at school to keep their teeth healthy this school year.Lunch Time! Snacks for School that Keep Teeth Healthy

  1. Cheese is full of calcium and phosphate, which help to remineralize your teeth, or strengthen tooth enamel. It also stimulates saliva production, which helps to prevent tooth decay by washing away leftover food particles.
  2. Celery also enhances saliva production. It breaks down into fibrous strands that rub against teeth and clean them naturally.
  3. Apples and pears also induce salivation to wash teeth. These fruits have a high water content so they can neutralize the dissolving effect that acidic foods have on your enamel.
  4. Crunchy vegetables like carrots are great for protecting against cavities. Chewing on crunchy foods increases your chances of disturbing and dislodging food debris to stop the formation of bacteria.
  5. Citrus fruits, although they get a bad rap for weakening tooth enamel with their acidity, can actually be very beneficial to teeth if eaten in moderation. They contain high levels of Vitamin C, which strengthens gums and connective tissue to prevent gum disease. They also combat tooth discoloration caused by staining agents such as coffee.
  6. Nuts like almonds, cashews and walnuts are chalk full of Vitamin D, which is essential to calcium and phosphate absorption. It also boosts the immune system to help fight bacteria from the mouth.
  7. Raisins are full of polyphenols, micronutrients that prevent bacteria from bonding to the teeth and hardening to form plaque.

Filling their lunch boxes with healthy food options is a great way to make sure that your kids’ teeth are getting cleaned all day long. Stock up on these superfoods so the beginning of the school year isn’t the end of good oral hygiene!

6 Tips for Happy Kids at a Dental Checkup

Regular dental checkups are important, but it can be easy to want to skip a visit when your child is afraid of the dentist. To ease their distress (and yours!), try these tips:6 Tips Happy Kids

  1. Start young. The earlier your child visits us—the better! We recommend making an appointment around the age of 1, or when the first tooth erupts. Familiarizing them with us (and the great time they’ll have) will get them used to visiting and even make dental checkups fun!
  1. Let them learn from you. Make sure you don’t talk about your bad experiences around your child as they are often afraid of things that make their parents nervous. Children can pick up on your anxieties, so call us beforehand if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s visit.
  1. Watch your words. Stay away from words that will frighten your child like “shot, hurt, or pain.” Instead, say positive words and phrases like “strong, clean, and healthy.”
  1. Make it fun! Play games pretending to be dentists so they know what to expect. Take turns pretending to be the dentist by brushing and counting teeth like we’ll do!
  1. Bring some comfort. Let them pick out their favorite comfort item to bring along. They may not need to hold it the whole time, but they’ll feel a lot better knowing it’s around.
  1. It starts at home. Last, but definitely not least—make sure you’re teaching your child good oral health habits at home! Your child will be happier here if they don’t always need work done. We will make every experience as positive as possible, but if your child always comes to us needing work done, they’ll only think of us as the bad guys!

Give us a call today to schedule your child’s next appointment, and if you need any information on good oral health care for children, don’t hesitate to ask!

Tooth Trauma – Avulsion – What Now?

Your son is playing a championship game against the team he’s waited all season to play. The score is tied, and as the minutes wind down, the players have gotten more forceful in their actions. You blink, and all of a sudden your son is holding his mouth and a time-out has been called. You run down to him, and your mind is racing, “What happened? How hurt is he?” As you approach him, you see that in his hand he is holding an adult tooth that has been dislodged from the socket. As the sideline paramedics assess for signs of a concussion or hemorrhage you think, “Now what?”ToothTraumaWhatNow

The injury, and circumstances surrounding the injury may cloud your ability to choose your next action. You can rest assured knowing that when you mix today’s technology and the expertise you can expect from a coordinated team approach, the tooth’s fate is looking brighter already!

In the case of avulsion (when a tooth is out of the socket), the approach will most likely be a team effort. Your first course of action following the injury is to rinse off the tooth and try to place it back in the socket. If this is not possible, place the tooth in milk. If you’re expecting an injury like this (as a coach or school teacher etc. might), have Hank’s Balanced Salt Solution on hand to place the tooth in. Water should never be used to place the tooth in. Why milk? Milk maintains the correct fluid balance in the root of the dislodged tooth, which in turn increases the tooth’s chance of survival. Water causes the cells in the tooth to swell and die. If there is no option to place the tooth in any of the approved solutions, place the tooth in between the injured person’s cheek and gum to keep it moist.

After you have arrived at our office, it’s time for us to take over. The investigation phase begins. If a concussion or hemorrhage has not been ruled out, now is the time. When the coast is clear, it is time to move onto a gathering of both radiographic evidence of the injury and clinical documentation about the patient and the incident. From that extracted information, we can make a diagnosis and a subsequent treatment plan. As we mentioned before, depending on the type and severity of the injury, the process may involve a dental professional team.

The aim of treating a tooth trauma case is always to maintain or regain pulpal vitality in the affected tooth/teeth.

In the next few months we will cover other types of tooth injuries and treatments. Stay tuned!

Fluoride: Nature’s Cavity Fighter

Nobody likes coming to the dentist to have a cavity filled! Many of our patients ask us how stop a cavity before it happens. Many people have heard of fluoride but wonder how it works and if it is safe. We wrote this blog to answer your questions about fluoride and to help you understand its benefits and how to use it effectively.Fluoride Natures Cavity Fighter

Fluoride occurs naturally in certain foods. You might be surprised to learn that it can be found in black teas and raisins, and in our water sources, such as lakes and rivers. And, because it provides such good protection from tooth decay, it has been added to dental products to help prevent cavities.

Fluoride works for both children and adults. It’s true! Before teeth even erupt through the gums, fluoride taken in from certain foods and supplements makes tooth enamel stronger and therefore more resistant to decay. After teeth erupt, brushing with fluoride toothpaste helps rebuild (remineralize) weakened tooth enamel, reversing early signs of cavity formation. In addition, the fluoride you consume becomes a part of your saliva, constantly bathing your teeth with tiny amounts of the cavity fighter. While it is critical for infants and children to be exposed to fluoride when primary and permanent teeth are forming, new research indicates that topical fluoride is just as important in fighting tooth decay for adults!

Use the correct amount of toothpaste to benefit your teeth. While all toothpaste removes plaque (a thin film of bacteria that can cause gum disease and tooth decay), only toothpaste with fluoride can prevent tooth decay by making teeth stronger. Make sure you’re using the correct amount of toothpaste with your children!

  • For very little ones, under 3 years of age, parents and caregivers should begin gently brushing teeth as soon as they come into the mouth with an amount of fluoridated toothpaste the size of a few grains of rice.
  • For children ages 3 to 6, a pea-size amount of toothpaste is best. Everyone should brush their teeth twice a day and make sure to supervise children to help instill good habits.

Some mouth rinses also contain fluoride. You may already be protecting your teeth with fluoride without even knowing it! However, mouth rinses should not be used with children under the age of 6, as they may not be able it use it appropriately.

You may have fluoride in your water. Your community may have chosen water fluoridation (simply adding fluoride to drinking water) as a public health benefit. Water fluoridation is safe, effective, and healthy. The Center for Disease Control has noted water fluoridation as one of the ten best public health achievements of the 20th century.

For your best dental hygiene routine, ask us during your next visit about the right fluoride products for you and your family. Your oral health is our priority so we want to answer any questions that you have. Armed with the right information, your family can have healthy teeth for life. Contact our office to schedule your next visit! We can’t wait to see you soon!

Evolution of Braces: Then and Now

Braces are a far cry from the teeth-alignment practices of hundreds and even thousands of years ago. Now, more than half of American teenagers wear braces, but back in the day some pretty strange gadgets were used in orthodontic care. Take a look at these braces of the past!

Ancient BracesEvolution of Braces

Even ancient civilizations believed that a beautiful smile goes a long way. Ancient Greeks apparently aligned their teeth using gold wires – that would be a pretty expensive luxury today! Even stranger, Egyptian mummies have been found with catgut bands, which are made from animal intestines, wrapped around their teeth. Imagine having that in your mouth!

18th Century

A Frenchman named Pierre Fauchard invented a device called the “Bandeau,” a metal object shaped like a horseshoe that attached to gold wires and corrected tooth alignment. This bulky metal “Bandeau” would have been a lot less fun to wear than the trendy bandeau tops people wear today!

20th Century

  • In the early 1900s, people aligned their teeth using all kinds of materials: gold, silver, copper, even ivory and wood. Gold worked great because it was soft and easy to mold, but its softness was also a downside because it bent out of place and had to be adjusted frequently.
  • By the 1970s, modern braces were taking hold. Professionals ditched the bulky, embarrassing wires and headgear for direct bonding, or gluing stainless-steel brackets to the teeth using dental adhesive. The subtlety of these braces was taken a step further with lingual braces, where the brackets are placed on the backs of teeth instead of the front. Tooth-colored brackets became another new way to disguise braces.

Modern Braces and Invisalign

In the 1990s and early 2000s, Invisalign took orthodontic care to a whole new level with invisible, removable teeth alignment. With Invisalign, you can eat all the foods that you can’t eat with braces, because you simply take it out while eating and pop it back in when you’re done. No wires for food to get stuck in!

Now, people even customize their braces, adding a personal flare by choosing brightly colored rubber bands. Aren’t you glad to live in a time when braces are constantly developing from the unusual orthodontic methods of the past?

The Many Faces of Tooth Pain

Many people think that a painful tooth means they need a root canal treatment. While that is sometimes true, it’s not always the case. In fact, there are many other reasons that teeth can hurt!

Here, we offer a guide to some common types of tooth pain and what that pain may be trying to tell you:

The Many-Tooth-PainSensitivity to hot and cold foods:

If the pain is short-lived, you probably do not have a serious problem, but more likely a loose filling or a small amount of gum recession that has resulted in root surface exposure. Use sensitive teeth toothpaste and a soft brush with an up and down motion. If this doesn’t help after a week or so, give us a call.

Heat sensitivity after an appointment:

Some types of dental work can inflame the pulp inside your teeth, causing sensitivity for several weeks. If it lasts longer than that, let us know.

Sharp pain when biting:

Sometimes sharp pain can be caused by a loose filling, other times it may signal that there is a crack in your tooth. Either of these scenarios requires evaluation by a professional, so please give us a call.

Pain/Sensitivity lasting longer than 30 seconds:

Often this means that the pulp (innermost part of your tooth) has been damaged. Without intervention, you may lose this tooth so it is important to call us to find out if you may need root canal treatment.

Frequent, dull aching in the jaw.

This can happen when excessive grinding of the teeth happens (bruxism), or it could even be a sign of a sinus headache or infection. Please call us for more information.

Severe pain, pressure or swelling of the gums:

This may mean that you have an abscessed, infected tooth that may have spread to other tissues in the mouth. This is a serious situation that requires an immediate call to our office for instructions.

Does My Child Need Early Phase Braces?

Does-My--Child-Need-EarlyHave you noticed that some 7 and 8 year olds are sporting braces these days? We’re not surprised, however this is not simply a trend. As a matter of fact, some children benefit greatly from early orthodontic intervention, reducing painful and costly complications down the road. And you will be happy to know that we, as orthodontists, are getting better at spotting those kids early on that are good candidates for this treatment!

The fact is that most children don’t need early intervention. So how do you know if your child needs early phase braces?

As early as age six, we are able to identify children that have serious alignment issues in their jaws. These children are often good candidates for early phase (also called “two-phase”) braces.   If we determine that your child needs two-phase orthodontic treatment, it is because we believe that it will reduce their need for extractions, surgeries and other costly and dramatic treatments down the road.

First Phase

The first (early) phase of treatment takes place while your child still has both permanent and baby teeth (usually around age 7 or 8). This first set of braces is typically worn for 12-18 months and corrects functional and skeletal problems such as overcrowding.

Next, there is a resting period, during which we wait for all of the permanent teeth to come in.

Second Phase

Once your child has all of his or her permanent teeth, the second phase of treatment begins. During this phase, usually we place a full set of upper and lower braces. However, because the jaws are in better position and each adult tooth has its own space, we can usually focus on the aesthetics of your child/teen’s smile!

If you have questions or concerns about early phase braces, please give us a cal

A Positive Experience at the Dentist

How to help your child have a comfortable experience at the dentist.

positive experience at dentistWe do everything we can to ensure your child is in a safe, friendly, and enjoyable situation when visiting the dentist. But parents, you can help too!

Even if you haven’t had the greatest personal experiences at the dentist, or are even afraid of visiting the dentist, help your child by creating a positive attitude towards the thought of going to the dentist! Whether it be their first appointment, or they’ve been a couple times, try to avoid negative words, including; “painful,” “hurt,” “shot,” “scary,” etc when talking about the dentist. In addition to using positive words, be sure to have positive body language, such as smiling while talking about their upcoming appointment. Let them know of all the great benefits of having excellent dental health and how the dentist is there to help, not hurt them!

Keep it enjoyable at home! In addition to avoiding serious dental procedures for your child, keeping a healthy mouth at home will make each dentist visit easier and more enjoyable (and less often)! Make brushing and flossing a fun activity with positive results, not a chore, or punishment. Stay involved with your children’s oral health, and remember, lead by example! If your child sees you practicing and enjoying good dental health, it will encourage them to want to follow in your footsteps. Brush your teeth together, and when it’s time for your child to get a new toothbrush, let them pick it out, so they are happy to use it daily!

Remember, the ADA recommends a baby’s first dental appointment by their first birthday, even if their first tooth isn’t present. It’s never too early to start practicing good oral and dental health.

Give us a call to schedule your next appointment, and ask what we can do to make sure you and your child are comfortable in our office!

Children’s Teeth: A Timeline

Childrens-Teeth-TimelineDo you know when your child should be expecting their first new teeth as a baby? How about when they should be loosing those baby teeth? As with many things in development, every child is different and has a different time frame for each stage, but we’ll give you a general idea of when you can expect these different stages to occur: from the appearance of baby teeth to the arrival of permanent adult teeth.


4 to 7 months:

Usually the two front lower teeth begin to be exposed. Gums may become red and swollen where the teeth are cutting through.

Fun Fact: Lower teeth usually come in before the upper teeth.


8 to 12 months:

Upper middle teeth tend to come in next (it is common for girls to get their baby teeth before boys!)


9 to 16 months:

Teeth on both sides of the middle teeth begin to come in, for both the top and bottom.

Did You Know: Teeth usually erupt in pairs! One on the right, one on the left!


12 to 19 months:

Molars come in on the top and bottom about the same time.


16 to 23 months:

Canines (sharp, pointed teeth) begin to emerge.

Tooth Truths: Baby teeth are usually brighter and whiter than permanent teeth, and are much smaller.


2 to 3 years:

Second molars come in, and by now your child should almost completely have a full set of 20 teeth! By 4 years old, jaw and facial bones continue to grow to allow more space for the incoming permanent teeth.


NOTE: If your baby does not show signs of bottom teeth by 18 months, mention it to your doctor. Do not be alarmed, every child is different and some don’t begin showing teeth until after their first birthday, and catch up without any problems.



6 to 12 years:

Children begin loosing teeth, they can be lost in any order, but it is common to lose them in the same order they came in, starting with the front middle, gradually going back further in the mouth.


12 years:

Once your child has lost all of their baby teeth, their mouth now consists of 28 permanent teeth. Four wisdom teeth will begin to appear between 17 to 21 years old, however 85% of people end up having their wisdom teeth removed, so don’t get used to them for too long!