Friday, September 23, 2016

Break the Pacifier Habit—Gently and Creatively

Break the Pacifier Habit—Gently and Creatively

The Latin root for pacifier is “pax,” or peace—and any parent who has been brought relief from an infant’s screams by that bit of plastic knows why. But when the infant has become a toddler, or even preschooler, getting him or her to forgo the binky for good may feel like a war.

On the one hand—no pun intended—it can be easier to break a child of a pacifier habit than a thumb-sucking habit (you can’t take away a thumb!), so the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that you provide your baby with a safe pacifier in infancy to satisfy her natural need to suck.

But, according to the AAPD, the pacifier habit should be strongly discouraged after age 3. In fact, there’s evidence that the longer a child uses a pacifier after age 2, the greater the chances that his or her jaw and tooth development will be adversely affected and correctable only by orthodontics years later.

If your child is very attached to the pacifier, you may have to employ a creative strategy (or two) in the detachment process. Experienced parents have made the following suggestions:
  • Enlist your dentist’s help. Arrange in advance for your dentist to give your child a special gift in return for her bag of collected binkies.
  • Visit a Build-A-Bear Workshop. Along with the stuffing, fill the bear with the pacifiers. This way, your child still has the binkies, but they won’t be ruining his or her bite.
  • Create a sticker chart. Every binky-free day earns a sticker for your child. A certain number of stickers earn her a special toy.
  • Conduct a visit from the Tooth Fairy’s cousin, the Paci-Fairy. Pacifiers placed under your child’s pillow at night are “miraculously” replaced with something very special by the next morning.
Even if one of these strategies works initially, there is no guarantee that a follow-up tantrum or two won’t erupt. Be sympathetic but staunch, suggests Mark L. Brenner, author of the book Pacifiers, Blankets, Bottles, and Thumbs: What Every Parent Should Know About Starting and Stopping. Most kids, he says, will accept their binky-free state in a couple of days.

Dr. Jared would love to answer any further questions regarding pacifier habits. Click here to schedule an appointment at KiDDS Dental today! Or give us a call at (509)-891-7070.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Brace Yourself: Early Orthodontic Treatment

Brace Yourself: Early Orthodontic Treatment

When today’s generation of parents was growing up, a metal mouth was an adolescent rite of passage. Now, braces might be associated with elementary school. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children be evaluated at age 7 and, in some cases, treatment be started shortly thereafter. There are pros and cons to early orthodontic care, most of which depend on the problem being treated.

Some conditions, such as narrow upper arches, anterior crossbites or underbites, are better treated while the jaw is still growing. Early treatment may save a child from oral surgery later, and even if further treatment is required in the teen years, it will be less extensive.

Some parents opt for earlier orthodontics out of concern for their child’s self-esteem. Having a prominent underbite or protruding upper teeth can lead to teasing; other issues, such as problems with the palate, can cause speech impediments. In these cases, even if getting braces at age 8 won’t keep a child from needing them at age 14, it might be worth pursuing early orthodontic treatment. Parents should weigh the cost and discomfort of these treatments with the benefits of a better-looking smile or clearer speech.

However, some studies suggest that certain problems are best left untreated until adolescence. It’s not really a matter of the orthodontics’ damaging a child in any way, but more because the treatment is simply ineffective. For example, several randomized clinical trials since the 1990s have shown that class II malocclusions treated early lead to more treatment time (and more money spent) than those treated in adolescence. In other words, having braces applied for this problem at age 8 will be no more effective and more costly than getting them at age 13.

Your best bet? Have your child evaluated around the age of 7, and discuss the benefits and risks of early treatment with Dr. Jared at KiDDS Dental and an orthodontist. This dental specialist will have a good grasp on the best course of action, to ensure that your child’s smile is healthy—and beautiful—for years to come.

Call us to schedule an appointment today! (509)-891-7070.