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Pediatric Dental Care and Dental Anxiety

January 27, 2018

dental patient covering mouthMy son had always been okay at the dentist until our last appointment. I’m not quite sure what happened. The only thing different is he was told he had a cavity and would need a filling. He went nuts and started bawling. He’s never even had a cavity before so I don’t know what he’s afraid of. There hasn’t been any experience for him to build on. What do I do to help him? He’s terrified now.



May Need to Find a New Compassionate Dentist

November 25, 2017

dentist with male patientI’ve been going to the same dental clinic for a while. My dentist had a tragedy in his family and decided to retire early. I loved him because he was so compassionate. He knew I was skittish in the dental chair and always took his time so I’d feel comfortable. He’d talk me through everything. I know for certain that he did talk to the person who took over his practice about my anxiety because he told me he did. Yet, when I went in for my first appointment, I felt rushed. He exam also felt a bit rough to me. By the end of it I was shaking. There were lots more people there than usual. The wait was longer than I’d ever experienced and when I signed in I noticed that several of us were down for the same exact appointment time. I wonder if I should look for a new dentist. I don’t think it’s going to be at all like my old clinic.

Danielle L.


Can Breastfed Babies Skip the One Year Dental Check-Up?

September 13, 2017

I keep getting conflicting information about dental care with children. Though, I shouldn’t ‘be too surprised. I’ve only been a mom for 11 months, but so far every piece of advice or book I’ve read on child rearing has contradicted another piece of advice or book. I can read two different articles and the same action I take will either help my son grow up to be an independent genius or scar him for life. So, now I have to decide about his first dental appointment. He’s been exclusively breast fed and we’re about to start introducing table food to him. I’ve heard two things. 1. Breastfeeding is safer for teeth than formula feeding, therefore they don’t need the one-year-old check-up. 2. Every child, no matter how they’re fed, needs to have the one-year-old check-up to screen for abnormal tooth development. So, what’s your opinion?

Carlyn M.

Dear Carlyn,

Oklahoma City Pediatric Dentist

You’re right about all the conflicting in formation out there. The one thing you’ll learn throughout your lifetime as a mother is that every child is different. No child fits the norms. Because so much of the information contradicts itself, most of the time you’ll be left with following your mother’s intuition.

One thing that is true is the breastfeeding and bottle feeding have very different effects on teeth. First is the physical differences. While formula tends to pool by children’s teeth, breast milk is sent to the back of the mouth away from their teeth. Secondly, their “ingredients” for lack of a better word are different. We know that breastmilk has properties we haven’t been able to copy in formula. There is mounting evidence that the contents in breastfeeding protect children from cavities.

It would imply that breastfed children do not need to see a pediatric dentist as often. However, as you’ve learned, every child is different.

Reasons for Breastfed Children to See a Pediatric Dentist

  • Bacteria Parents with gum disease have higher levels of bacteria. That bacteria is shared through kissing and the sharing of food. As you’re about to introduce table food, that is something to consider.
  • Cavities There is always a potential for cavities. Some breastfed babies fall asleep while nursing. Generally, the fact that the milk is sent to the back of their mouth engages their swallowing reflex so no milk pools. However, sometimes the milk flows a bit after the baby stops sucking and can pool at their teeth. There isn’t evidence it does or does not cause cavities yet, but the potential is there, especially if they’re pre-disposed to decay. Which leads me to my next point.
  • Genetic Make-up Every family is different. Two people can have the same oral hygiene routine and skill. One will be cavity free, the other will end up with a mouth full of fillings and crowns simply because of their DNA.
  • Abnormal Development Your son’s teeth starting developing in the womb. Going right along with genetic issues is the possibility of abnormal development. Whenever you have an abnormality in the development of children’s teeth, it is always easier to treat the earlier it is discovered.

Your Child’s First Pediatric Dental Visit

The first visit isn’t as focused on cavities, though of course that is checked. The dentist will also check their development to make sure no intervention needs to take place. Mostly, though, it’s designed to give your son a positive experience at the dentist and show him how fun it can be.

All too often, parents wait until their son or daughter has a dental emergency pop up before bringing them in. From that moment on, they’ll associate the dentist with pain. Not to mention the more distressing procedures could likely have been avoided altogether if they’d brought them in regularly.

Insurance almost always covers the child’s first visit in full, so it won’t cost you anything but a bit of time.

I hope this helps.
This blog is brought to you by Dr. Don Swearingen.

Why are my teeth falling out?

October 31, 2013

Filed under: Dental Emergency — Tags: , , , — okcitydentist @ 3:49 pm

I have one tooth that has already come out and two more that are loose. I don’t seem to have any cavities and I don’t know what is happening.

Beverly C. – Provo, UT


Bear in mind I haven’t examined you, but it sounds like you have periodontal disease. If this gets left untreated, you will continue to lose teeth.

I’d get in to see your dentist as quickly as possible. If your dentist also considers himself an emergency dentist, you can get in today. If not, you may have to just schedule an appointment for as soon as their schedule allows. In the meantime, make sure you are brushing your teeth carefully and using floss.

You’ll need to find a way to replace these teeth. I’d start with a dental flipper, which is a temporary tooth replacement. This will give you and your dentist time to deal with the periodontal disease and decides which tooth replacement will work best in your case.

This blog is brought to you by Oklahoma City Dentist Dr. Don Swearingen.

Tooth knocked out

September 21, 2013

Filed under: Dental Emergency — Tags: , , — okcitydentist @ 12:50 pm

What do I do if my tooth gets knocked out?

Andrew M.- Ft. Worth, TX


The faster you get to the dentist, the more of a chance you have of saving your tooth. Ideally, you want to get there within thirty minutes.

If you can’t get in touch with your dentist. Google an emergency dentist. Many of them will see you even if you are not a patient. If there is any dirt on your tooth, you’ll want to remove it. Be careful not to touch the root of the tooth. Only clean the part of your tooth that is normally visible.

You’ll also want to keep the tooth moist. An easy way to do that is to put it in a glass of milk.

This blog is brought to you by Oklahoma City Dentist Dr. Don Swearingen.

12 Year old lost front tooth

February 15, 2013

I’m hoping you can help me. We were in a car accident. The only one hurt was my poor 12 year old daughter, who lost a front tooth. She is distraught. I’ve already taken her to an emergency dentist. However, I need to figure out what to do for her appearance. All the emergency dentist did was remove the root tip. What are our options?

Deanne T.- Phoenix, AZ


First lets look long-term. Once she is old enough for a permanent solution, the ideal treatment is to have a dental implant placed. A dental bridge is a good “second place” solution too.  Her mouth is still changing, so it would be unwise to do it now. However, you need to make sure she receives a treatment that will not only make her feel comfortable with her appearance, but will also keep that space open so there will be enough room for an implant or bridge in the future.

Here are some options:

Hawley Retainer– This is your least expensive solution. It is a wire and acrylic retainer that has  a fake tooth attached to it. It stays in by using the suction of your mouth.

Essix Style Retainer– This has an invisible tray (sort of like Invisalign Braces) with a fake tooth attached.

A Delineator– I’m excited about this new option just recently put on the market. It is made of acrylic and plastic and uses the adjacent teeth to help it stay put, which makes it very stable. The thing I like most about it though is it ensures optimal implant placement. If you’re even considering a dental implant in her future, this is the best temporary solution.

This blog is brought to you by Oklahoma City Dentist Dr. Don Swearingen.