Central Jersey Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics

(732) 257-5588

176 Summerhill Rd. | East Brunswick, NJ 08816
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Updated logo - east brunswick pediatric dentistry
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Dental Services at our east brunswick pediatric dentistry

At Central Jersey Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we agree with The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) when they recommend you find your child’s “Dental Home” by age one or when the first tooth emerges, whichever occurs first. It has been shown that establishing your child’s Dental Home provides the opportunity to implement preventive dental health habits that keep a child free from dental/oral disease. Our focus is on prevention, early detection, and treatment of dental diseases. We work to keep current on the latest advances in dentistry for children, and our services reflect just that.

We want to help all children feel good about visiting the dentist and educate them on how to care for their teeth. From our fun office designs to our communication style, at our east brunswick pediatric dentistry, our main concern is what is best for your child.

Dental Services at our east brunswick pediatric dentistry

At Central Jersey Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we agree with The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) when they recommend you find your child’s “Dental Home” by age one or when the first tooth emerges, whichever occurs first. It has been shown that establishing your child’s Dental Home provides the opportunity to implement preventive dental health habits that keep a child free from dental/oral disease. Our focus is on prevention, early detection, and treatment of dental diseases. We work to keep current on the latest advances in dentistry for children, and our services reflect just that.

We want to help all children feel good about visiting the dentist and educate them on how to care for their teeth. From our fun office designs to our communication style, at our east brunswick pediatric dentistry, our main concern is what is best for your child.

Young girl smiling - east brunswick pediatric dentistry

Sedation dentistry at our east brunswick pediatric dentistry

nitrous oxide

We use Nitrous oxide, sometimes called “laughing gas,” to help children become more comfortable during certain procedures. Nitrous oxide is a safe and effective sedative agent that is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a small mask that fits over your nose to help you relax. It is not intended to put them to sleep but instead is designed to help them feel calm and comfortable. The effects of nitrous oxide are temporary and wear off soon after the mask is removed.

oral sedative

For treatments that may last longer or cause more discomfort, we will often recommend a mild oral sedative that your child can take before treatment. Every effort is made to ensure proper dosage and limit mild side effects if any.

general anesthesia

More complex treatments may require deeper sedation to relieve both pain and anxiety. On occasion, general anesthesia through an IV may be used to cause a temporary loss of consciousness. Your child’s comfort and safety are especially important to us.

dental faq

  • baby teeth
  • dental emergencies
  • treatment
  • habits
  • prevention
  • frenectomy

Pediatric dentists care for children and special needs patients of all ages. From the first tooth to adolescence, they help your child develop a healthy smile until they are ready to move on to a general dentist. Pediatric dentists have had 2-3 years of special training to care for young children, adolescents, and children with special needs.

The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry say that the first dental visit should occur within the first six months after the baby’s first tooth appears, but no later than the child’s first birthday.

Your child’s first tooth will typically erupt between 6 and 12 months, although it is common to occur earlier. Usually, the two bottom front teeth – the central incisors – erupt first, followed by four upper front teeth – called the central and lateral incisors. Your child should have their first full set of teeth by their third birthday.

Most children have 20 primary, or baby teeth. Typically, there are 10 upper teeth and 10 lower teeth. These 20 primary teeth are eventually replaced by 32 permanent teeth, 16 in the upper jaw and 16 in the lower jaw.

The eruption of the permanent molars usually happens between ages 6 and 7. Therefore, these teeth are often referred to as the “six-year molars.” These molars erupt behind the baby molars. Many children will have 28 of their permanent teeth by age 13. These teeth include eight incisors, eight premolars, eight molars, and four canines.

The last teeth to develop are the third molars, better known as “wisdom teeth.” These teeth generally begin to erupt between the ages of 17 and 21. Due to these teeth being located so far back in the mouth, they often are not needed for chewing and can be difficult to clean. It may be recommended that these teeth are removed to prevent any issues in the future.

Baby teeth are temporary; however, if a baby tooth is lost too soon it can lead to other teeth crowding the vacant spot. This can cause space and alignment issues when the permanent tooth begins to emerge and could cause crooked teeth and biting problems. Baby teeth are important to help with chewing and eating, leading to proper nutrition.

One of the most common forms of early childhood caries is “baby bottle tooth decay,” which is caused by the continuous exposure of a baby’s teeth to sugary drinks. Baby bottle tooth decay primarily affects the upper front teeth, but other teeth may also be affected.

Early symptoms of baby bottle tooth decay are white spots on the surface of teeth or the gum line and tooth sensitivity. More severe symptoms can appear in advanced stages of baby bottle tooth decay and include: brown or black spots on teeth, bleeding or swollen gums, fever, and bad breath. If your child shows any of these symptoms, you need to see your pediatric dentist immediately to prevent further, more complicated problems from occurring.

1 - Don’t send your child to bed with a bottle of anything EXCEPT water.
2 - Clean your baby's gums after each meal.
3 - Gently brush your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth erupts.
4 - Limit sugary drinks and food.
5 – It is recommended to discontinue bottle use and transition to a cup between 12 and 18 months of age.

If your child fractures or knocks out a tooth, you may store the tooth or fragments in a clean container of milk. If milk is not available, you may use the child’s saliva to store the tooth. Never use water to transport a broken or knocked-out tooth. You must visit the dentist immediately to prevent infection and other complications that are brought on by chipped or knocked-out teeth. If the tooth is knocked out, only touch the crown of the tooth and not the root. Your pediatric dentist will be able to repair your child’s tooth.

If your child experiences a cut on their tongue, cheek, or lip, bleeding can usually be stopped by applying clean gauze to the affected area.  You can also apply ice to the area to help stop the bleed.  If you cannot stop the bleeding, call your pediatric dentist, or visit the emergency room.  If your child has an open oral wound for a long time, they can be susceptible to infection.

If your child has a toothache, then have them rinse their mouth with warm water to ease the pain.

You can also give your child an over-the-counter pain reliever that is appropriate for their age and weight. If the pain persists for more than 24 hours, contact your pediatric dentist. Persistent toothaches can indicate more serious problems that need to be observed by a dental professional.

X-rays are valuable aids to help dentists diagnose and treat conditions that cannot be seen by looking in the mouth. X-rays can detect much more than cavities. X-Rays can show erupting teeth, diagnose bone diseases, measure the damage of an injury, or help with the planning of orthodontic treatment. If dental problems are found and treated early, dental care is more comfortable for your child and more affordable for you.

Dental x-rays are very safe and the amount of radiation from dental x-rays is very small. Our office uses digital x-rays, which minimizes radiation and restricts the x-ray beam to the area of interest. Dental radiographs represent a far smaller risk than an undetected and untreated dental problem.

The need for Orthodontic Treatment can be recognized as early as 2-3 years of age. Often, preventative steps can be taken to help reduce the need for major orthodontic treatment later on.

From ages 2 to 6, the main concern would be habits, such as finger or thumb sucking. underdeveloped dental arches, and early loss of primary teeth.

From ages 6 to 12, treatment options deal with jaw and dental alignment problems. This is a great time to start treatment, as your child’s hard and soft tissues are usually very responsive to orthodontic or orthopedic forces.

When adult teeth come in behind the baby teeth it is often called “Shark Teeth.” It is common and occurs as the result of a lower baby tooth not falling out when the permanent tooth erupts. If the double row occurs on the bottom, we recommend allowing 4-6 weeks for the baby tooth to fall out. If it does not fall out after that time, then contact our office. If an upper permanent tooth erupts behind an upper primary tooth, we recommend contacting us as soon as possible for assessment.

If your child shows signs of disturbed sleep including long pauses in breathing, tossing and turning in the bed, chronic mouth breathing during sleep, night sweats (owing to increased effort to breathe) this may be an indication of sleep apnea. This is far more common than parents realize and is mostly seen in children between 2 and 8 years old, although it can present itself at any age.

If your child is suffering from these symptoms, we can help determine underlying causes and may refer your child to an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctor for further evaluation. While there is a possibility that affected children will “grow out of” their sleep disorders, the evidence is steadily growing that untreated pediatric sleep apnea can affect attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, bed-wetting, sleepwalking, and even failure to thrive.

Central Jersey Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics offers several options for safe and effective sedation.

We use nitrous oxide, sometimes called “laughing gas,” to help children become more comfortable during certain procedures. Nitrous oxide is a safe and effective sedative agent that is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a small mask that fits over their nose to help them relax. It is not intended to put them to sleep but instead is designed to help them feel calm and comfortable. The effects of nitrous oxide are temporary and wear off soon after the mask is removed.

For very young children and treatments that may last longer or cause more discomfort, we will often recommend a mild oral sedative that your child can take before treatment. Every effort is made to ensure proper dosage and limit mild side effects if any.

More complex treatments may require deeper sedation to relieve both pain and anxiety. On occasion, general anesthesia, at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital or in-office IV sedation may be recommended to address your child’s treatment needs. Your child’s comfort and safety are especially important to us.

Bruxism is more commonly known as teeth-grinding, and a surprising number of children suffer from it – around 3 in 10. Teeth-grinding usually occurs while children are asleep, and it can become a dental problem if left unchecked. Regular teeth-grinding can wear down tooth enamel, reinforce improper bite patterns, and leave teeth more susceptible to cavities and decay.

Bruxism can cause headaches, earaches, facial pain, and bite and jaw problems. Most children outgrow bruxism by 10 years of age.

If your child’s teeth-grinding is ongoing, then we may prescribe a nightguard to protect their teeth and mouth. A nightguard helps ease the pain of tooth grinding and protects tooth enamel from being worn away.

Thumb sucking, finger sucking, and pacifier use are habits common in many children. Nearly one-third of all children suck on their thumbs, fingers, or pacifiers in their first year of life. Thumb sucking, finger sucking, and pacifier use can lead to many oral developmental issues that negatively affect the development of the mouth. These habits can cause problems with the proper alignment of teeth and can even affect the roof of the mouth.

Boredom, anxiety, anger, hunger, or even sadness can all cause children to suck on their fingers for comfort. Children mostly suck on their fingers for comfort from an uncomfortable emotional state or stressful situation.

If your child has not stopped sucking their fingers by age 5, then you must wean them from the habit so that they can develop a healthy young smile. By 5 years of age, your child’s mouth will be rapidly developing and thumb sucking, finger sucking, or pacifier use can interfere with that process.

While it can be common for children to breathe through their mouths on occasion (when they are congested, have a cold, or are involved in strenuous activities) breathing through the mouth all the time, including when you’re sleeping, can lead to problems.

If your child is suffering from these symptoms, we can help determine underlying causes and may refer your child to an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctor for further evaluation. Mouth breathing in children can cause bad breath, crooked teeth, jaw alignment issues, and other orthodontic problems.

To prevent cavities, we suggest enjoying a mouth-healthy diet, full of fibrous fruits and vegetables. Drink more water, which prevents dry mouth and naturally cleans teeth. Brush twice a day for two minutes at a time, and floss daily. Visit your dentist every six months for routine checkups and preventative care.

It’s never too early to begin a healthy oral care routine. You should begin caring for your child’s gums long before their first tooth emerges, which is usually around the six-month mark of their life. Healthy gums are an important predictor of healthy teeth and maintaining clean gums will help ensure that your child has healthy, cavity-free baby teeth.

You can clean your infant’s gums by simply using a cold, clean washcloth. Simply rinse a clean, soft washcloth with cool water and wring it out. After your child has finished eating or drinking a sugary drink, use the damp washcloth to gently wipe out their mouth. This will remove any sugar or acid that is left by their food and help prevent early cavities.

Once your child’s first tooth erupts then you can graduate from a washcloth to a toothbrush designed for toddlers. There are a lot of toothbrushes designed for babies and toddlers from which to choose. Toothbrushes designed for babies have much softer bristles and a smaller head than those meant for older children.

Use only a smear of fluoridated toothpaste – about the size of a grain of rice – to brush their teeth. When they’ve gotten older and have more teeth, around the age of 3, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Always be sure to rinse their mouth out with cool water after you are done brushing and try to keep them from swallowing any toothpaste.

Flossing is also important for baby teeth. Flossing helps remove the plaque and food that can become lodged between teeth. Be sure to floss your child’s teeth daily.

Children should eat a variety of foods including grains, fruits, protein, vegetables, and low-fat dairy, raw vegetables like carrots, celery, and bell pepper are excellent snacking alternatives to unhealthy chips, crackers and sticky foods. Starchy carbs like potato chips and crackers can stick to teeth and cause unhealthy buildup, which can lead to cavities. Fibrous vegetables like celery can clean your teeth as you eat them! That is also true of fibrous fruits like apples, strawberries, and kiwi.

So, choose raw fruits and vegetables instead of chips, they are better for your overall health, and they will not stick to your teeth like starchy carbs and sugars.

Dental sealants work to prevent cavities by sealing pits and fissures that naturally occur in molars. Sealants “seal off” the pit and fissure of your molars to prevent food and plaque from collecting and forming cavities.

There are two types of fluoride: systemic fluoride and topical fluoride. Systemic fluoride is considered to be nature’s cavity fighter. Fluoride is naturally found in all sources of water such as lakes, rivers, and even the ocean. Fluoride is added to some public water supplies, so the tap water in your home may have fluoride added to it. If your water does not contain fluoride, then a prescription for a fluoride vitamin is recommended. Systemic fluoride helps strengthen developing teeth, by becoming incorporated in the enamel, which helps protect teeth from tooth decay.

Topical fluorides strengthen teeth already present in the mouth, making them more decay resistant. For more than half a century, the ADA has recommended using toothpaste containing fluoride to prevent cavities. Fluoridated toothpaste does an excellent job of cleaning teeth, but make sure that your child spits all of it out and rinses their mouth thoroughly after brushing since ingesting excessive fluoride can lead to a condition called fluorosis. Fluorosis is faint white lines on the teeth.

Xylitol has the sweet benefits of traditional sugar, but it does not have negative effects on teeth like sugar. The natural sugar alcohol, xylitol, helps prevent cavities by inhibiting the growth of bacteria that causes cavities. You can find natural xylitol in some fruits and berries. Xylitol can most often be found in gums and mints.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recognizes the benefits of xylitol for the oral health of infants, children, adolescents, and persons with special health care needs.

Did you know that sports drinks can contain more sugar than leading cola beverages, with as much as 19 grams of sugar per serving? The sugars increase the acidity in your mouth which attracts tooth enamel destroying bacteria. Sugar increases the acidity in your mouth which helps give bad oral bacteria the fuel it needs to create cavities.

Mouthguards – sometimes called mouth protectors – work by helping cushion a blow to the face, and minimizing the risk of broken teeth, or lacerating a lip, tongue, or cheek. Did you know that the CDC estimates that more than 3 million teeth are knocked out at youth sporting events? Mouthguards work to prevent tooth loss and other facial injuries. Mouthguards come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and are designed for multiple sports.

Contact us about custom mouthguards.

A frenectomy is the removal of connective tissue (called the frenum) from under the tongue (Lingual Frenectomy) or the upper gums (Maxillary Frenectomy). If your baby is having trouble with breastfeeding and “latching on” or your older child is experiencing certain speech, eating, or orthodontic problems, we may recommend a frenectomy as an option. The use of soft tissue lasers for frenectomies has made frenectomies a safe and convenient option for even for young children.

Babies who have difficulty achieving or maintaining proper latching with their mother’s breast may have a condition called Ankyloglossia, sometimes referred to as tongue-tie. Tongue-tie is usually related to a short, thick frenum, which limits the tongue’s capacity to move. Symptoms of a possible tongue-tie or lip-tie in a newborn are prolonged breastfeeding, difficulty latching onto the breast (causing sore nipples on the mother), and excessive gassiness. Many mothers are opting for a safe, fast healing frenectomy to help their babies establish a good seal while eating. Apart from breastfeeding difficulty, tongue ties can also impact speech and eating in children and adults. Patients often try to compensate for the lack of tongue mobility by changing their jaw position – resulting in other orthodontic issues.

Frenectomies can be an important part of orthodontic treatment when a long or short frenum is causing tooth or jaw displacement. In the case of a short lingual frenum, patients may push out the lower jaw to make eating or speaking easier – causing pain in the jaw or an underbite. In this case, a lingual frenectomy may be recommended to help ensure the success of orthodontic treatment. When treating a patient with a gap between their front teeth, the orthodontist may recommend a maxillary frenectomy after braces to prevent the teeth from spreading apart after treatment.

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