The American Board of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a dental home be established by 1 year of age. The ongoing relationship between a dentist and a child patient is critical to maintain a healthy oral environment.
Topical fluoride application is placed at the conclusion of every exam visit. Fluoride has been found to reduce the incidence of dental decay significantly in children, and is still a highly recommended practice. Children should be using fluoridated toothpaste and mouth rinses at home to minimize cavities.
The basis of cavity prevention is simple: Eat healthy, and brush and floss 2-3 times a day, preferably after each meal. Sodas, heavy sugar-containing juices, simple carbohydrate snacks and candy are strongly discouraged in children! Remember, what tastes good to you also tastes good to the cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth, and thus dental decay is inevitable. Again, fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinses (such as ACT) will increase the likelihood of a cavity free mouth. Bringing your child to the dentist every 6 months will help us better monitor your child's teeth and gums.
Primary teeth are important for chewing and esthetics, however they also serve to hold a space for the permanent tooth developing underneath. Posterior primary molar extractions require spacer maintainers. They are stainless steel retainers that are cemented on neighboring teeth to hold the space for the permanent tooth.
Sealants are applied in a protective procedure indicated for all patients 6 years old and older. Typically only the permanent molars are sealed, however, primary teeth and permanent premolars can also benefit from this treatment. Sealants are carefully bonded to the biting surface grooves of the molar teeth and are clear in color. Our sealants are BPA-Free, greatly reduce the chance of cavities on molars by 70%!
The Pediatric Dentist has an extra two to three years of specialized training after dental school focused on infants, children, and adolescents. They are responsible for monitoring the dental growth and development of the oral cavity, and helping them avoid future dental problems. The pediatric dentist is also of course a cavity fighter! They can perform specialty procedures in anxious children if necessary such as sedation dentistry.
It is very important to maintain the health of the primary teeth. Cavities are classified infection in the mouth and can develop into problems which affect developing permanent teeth. Primary teeth, or baby teeth are important for (1) proper chewing, eating, and speech, (2) preserving adequate space for the permanent teeth and guiding them into the correct position, and (3) normal development of the bones and muscles.
Children’s teeth begin forming before birth. As early as 4 months, the first primary (or baby) teeth to erupt through the gums are the lower central incisors, then the upper central incisors. Although all 20 primary teeth usually appear by age 3, the eruption pattern is a spectrum and can vary.
Permanent teeth begin appearing around age 6, starting with the first molars and lower central incisors. This process continues until approximately age 21.
Adults have 28 permanent teeth, or up to 32 including the third molars (or wisdom teeth).
Everyone knows that visiting a dentist is one of the most anxious procedures we go through in life. The anxiety level is only greater with children. Sedation dentistry is necessary to combat some of these fears children may have.
Nitrous oxide sedation is very safe because it is the mildest form of sedation. The inhaled sedation gas is no longer in the patient’s system after the gas is turned off.
Oral conscious sedation also has minimal risks because the doctor only administers the medication according to the weight of the patient, assuring their sedation stays well within safe guidelines.
IV sedation is deep sedation (sleep sedation) and guarantees sedation success because the patient is asleep and administered medication via IV. Although out of the 3 sedations offered it presents the greatest risk, it is commonly performed in most pediatric dental offices on a daily basis to complete any necessary major dental work. Overall it has minimal adverse reactions.
Toothache: Clean the area of the problematic tooth. Rinse the mouth thoroughly with warm salt water. If the pain still exists, contact your child's dentist. Take caution in using over the counter topical anesthetics such as ambesol or orajel as in infants and toddlers they are contraindicated. If the face is swollen, apply cold compresses, stay hydrated, and contact your dentist immediately.
Cut or Bitten Tongue, Lip or Cheek: Apply ice to injured areas to help control swelling. If there is bleeding, apply firm but gentle pressure with a gauze or cloth. If bleeding cannot be controlled by simple pressure, call a doctor or visit the hospital emergency room.
Knocked Out Permanent Tooth: If possible, find the tooth. Handle it by the crown, not by the root. Rinse the tooth if necessary with cold milk if available. DO NOT wash with soap, scrub or handle the tooth unnecessarily. Inspect the tooth for fractures. If it is sound, try to reinsert it in the socket. Have the patient hold the tooth in place by biting on a gauze. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, transport the tooth in a cup containing cold milk. If the patient is old enough, the tooth may also be carried in the patient’s mouth (beside the cheek). The patient must see a dentist IMMEDIATELY! Time is a critical factor in saving the tooth. The tooth will then be splinted until fully healed.
Knocked Out Baby Tooth: Contact your pediatric dentist during business hours. This is not usually an emergency, and in most cases, no treatment is necessary. The baby tooth will NOT be repositioned back in the mouth.
Chipped or Fractured Permanent Tooth: Contact your pediatric dentist immediately. Quick action can save the tooth, prevent infection and reduce the need for extensive dental treatment. Rinse the mouth with water and apply cold compresses to reduce swelling. If possible, locate and save any broken tooth fragments and bring them with you to the dentist. Avoid eating foods that are too hot or cold; as well as foods that will further damage the area.
Chipped or Fractured Baby Tooth:
Contact your pediatric dentist to assess the area. Severe Blow to the Head: Take your child to the nearest hospital emergency room immediately. Possible Broken or Fractured Jaw: Keep the jaw from moving and take your child to the nearest hospital emergency room.
Radiographs (X-Rays) are a vital and necessary part of your child’s dental diagnostic process. Without them, certain dental conditions can and will be missed.
Besides detecting dental decay, radiographs may be needed to observe erupting permanent teeth, diagnose bone diseases, evaluate the results of an injury, or plan orthodontic treatment. Radiographs allow dentists to diagnose and treat health conditions that cannot be detected during a clinical examination. If dental problems are found and treated early, dental care is more comfortable for your child and more affordable for you.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends radiographs and examinations every six months for children with a high risk of tooth decay. If low risk for dental decay, you may request x-rays to be taken once a year.
Pediatric dentists are particularly careful to minimize the exposure of their patients to radiation. We use digital x-rays which minimizes radiation exposure! Lead body aprons and shields will protect your child. We typically start taking x-rays on a cooperative child between 3-4 years of age.
Many toothpastes, and/or tooth polishes, however, can damage young smiles. They contain harsh abrasives, which can wear away young tooth enamel. When looking for a toothpaste for your child, make sure to pick one that is recommended by the American Dental Association as shown on the box and tube. These toothpastes have undergone testing to insure they are safe to use. If your child is too young or unable to spit out toothpaste, consider providing them with a fluoride free toothpaste, a Xylitol toothpaste, or using only a "smear" amount of fluoride toothpaste if under 3 years old or a “pea size” amount of toothpaste 3-6 years old. It is safe for children to use adult toothpastes.
Braces and other orthodontic appliances may be indicated for a child with severe crowding, impacted permanent teeth, growth correction, crossbites, underbite, or overbite. A pediatric dentist will be able to refer you to an orthodontist when it is the right time. For a more effective result, braces are done in phases to be able to address issues that may need to be resolved before the child stops growing. A referral, if necessary, can be given as early as 7 years old, when baby teeth are still present.
Parents are often concerned about their child grinding their teeth at night. Often, the first indication is the noise created by the child grinding on their teeth during sleep. The parent may notice wear (teeth getting shorter) to the dentition. The majority of children grind their teeth into their teenage years. Many factors may influence this including adapting their bite, soothing mechanisms, and teething.
Grinding or bruxism in children does not require any treatment. If excessive wear of the teeth (attrition) is present, then a mouth guard (night guard) may be indicated. The negatives to a mouth guard are the possibility of choking if the appliance becomes dislodged during sleep and it may interfere with growth of the jaws. The positive is obvious by preventing wear to the primary dentition. The good news is most children outgrow bruxism. The grinding decreases between the ages 6-9 and children tend to stop grinding between ages 9-12.
Thumb sucking and pacifier habits are common in pediatric patients because it makes them feel secure and happy, or provide a sense of comfort during difficult situations. Most children do thumb suck or pacifier prior to sleeping.
Thumb sucking that persists beyond the age of 3 years old can cause permanent negative changes to the growth of the child’s jaws.
Stopping a pacifier can be controlled more easily than the thumb or finger habit. If you have concerns about thumb sucking or use of a pacifier, consult your pediatric dentist.
A few suggestions to help your child get through thumb sucking:
As a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist, Dr. Marissa Faeldan-Suarez is dedicated to caring for the oral health of infants, children, and adolescents. Dr. Faeldan-Suarez obtained her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at The University of California, Los Angeles.
At UCLA, she achieved the UCLA Award of Excellence in Pediatric Dentistry, demonstrating her desire to further her knowledge in the specialty. In recognition of Dr. Faeldan-Suarez's intimate involvement in the local community, she was awarded the Wyatt Rory Hume Scholarship. Thus began her journey into Pediatrics...
To pursue her passion for working with children, she completed her specialty training for Advanced Pediatric Dentistry at the Ostrow School of Dentistry at The University of Southern California. At USC she obtained the highest level of training in Pediatric Dentistry.
She is committed to providing a high standard of care in treating her patients, and working with their families to find the best solution to meet the oral healthcare needs of their children. In 2012, Dr. Marissa Faeldan-Suarez achieved Diplomate status with the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, naming her an official Board Certified Pediatric Dentist.
Teeth are one of Dr. Faeldan-Suarez's obvious interests, however, she also spends much time with her fellow Bruin husband, Cromwell Suarez, and with her Lhasa-Shih-Tzu named Bebe. She has a close knit relationship with her mother (also a dentist), father, and two younger sisters, Kristina and Olivia. She was born and raised in Southern California, and loves everything under the sun in this beautiful city. You may notice elements of her favorite places in your visit to Smile Street Pediatric Dentistry!
With 20 years of dental administrative and managing experience, she is passionate and dedicated to our patients’ dental care and experience. She loves to educate our patients about procedures that the doctor has diagnosed. She is an expert in helping patients with the best possible financial arrangement to fit their budget needs. Ana loves our little patients and makes sure everyone leaves the office with a smile, a prize, and a positive experience. She is multilingual in English, Armenian and Farsi. She enjoys reading, gardening and painting on her free time.
Rossana welcomes our visiting families, helps coordinate their appointments and specializes in insurance billing with over 10 years experience. She loves her job and feels lucky to work with Dr. Marissa, who is very knowledgeable, caring and patient.
During her free time she enjoys hiking, running marathons and of course spending time with her 13 year old son and 9 year old daughter.
As a resident of Los Angeles, Dr. Marissa takes pride in outreaching to the local community of Culver City, and teaching proper brushing and flossing techniques. She enjoys visiting pre-schools and daycare centers in the area and providing fun, and educational activities with the children about gums and teeth.