Poiset and Associates Pediatric Dental Group, A Professional Corporation

Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics

Mitchell Poiset DDS • Tracy Hagan DMD

Shay Brannan DDS • Jodi McGrady DMD

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10 Tips To Find A Great Pediatric Dentist For Your Child

April 10th, 2017

pediatric dentistryEvery parent wants the best health care possible for their child and if you’re looking for a pediatric dentist, you know it can be a daunting task.  You want someone who is kind, caring, experienced, has a fun and inviting office, and will provide outstanding dental and preventive care to your child.  However, it can be very difficult to wade through the vast amount of information available in print, on the web and on social media.  Here are some tips to help you get started.

1. Ask a friend

Personal referrals are an excellent way to start.  Friends and family who have already taken their child to an office know first-hand the quality of care their child has received.

2. Ask your pediatrician

Your child’s pediatrician or medical specialist will know which pediatric dentists in your area have excellent reputations.  Getting a medical referral is especially important if your child has special needs.

3. Once you’ve got some names, then research the doctor on the web

Check out the quality of their website.  Take a virtual tour of the office.  See where they trained. See how long they’ve been in practice. See what organizations they belong to.  Ones to look for are:

  • American Dental Association (ADA)
  • California Dental Association (CDA)
  • San Diego County Dental Society (SDCDS)
  • American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD)
  • California Society of Pediatric Dentistry (CSPD)
  • American Board of Pediatric Dentistry (ABPD)

Belonging to these organizations means your child’s dentist will adhere to the high professional and ethical standards required for membership.

Keep an open mind when reading online reviews.  If someone gets nothing but negative comments, watch out.  But even a fantastic dentists can get a bad review once in a while.

4. Make sure the dentist who will be treating your child is a pediatric dentist

Pediatric dentists receive 2 years of additional training beyond dental school to learn the special skills required to treat children.  Therefore, make sure your child’s dentist graduated from a pediatric dental residency accredited by the ADA and is a member of the AAPD and the CSPD.

Be careful:  many dental offices advertise as children’s dental offices but are staffed by a general dentist with no specialty training.  They often even have non-dentist doing much of the dental treatment! Your child deserves the best, so ask about the education and training of the people who will be treating your young one.

5. Board certification

This is especially important.  To become board certified, a dentist must first graduate from an accredited residency.  Next, they must pass a difficult and detailed written examination on the science of pediatric dentistry.  Then, they must pass a day-long oral examination on the clinical aspects of pediatric dentistry.  Board certification must be maintained annually by completing continuing education specific to pediatric dentistry, and a new written examination must be taken and passed every 10 years.

Only experienced and well trained pediatric dentistry are able to obtain board certification.  Therefore make sure your child’s dentist is a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry.  Any pediatric dentist who is board certified will have it displayed prominently on their website.

6. Be careful about picking the office that has the biggest ad online or in print media

There are many large corporate chains around these days, and they have big marketing budgets.  But that doesn’t mean they provide the best care.  Look for an office that is owned and run by the dentist on the website.

7. Look for familiar faces

Ask if your child will see the same doctor each visit.  You want a dentist and staff that is familiar with your child’s medical and dental history and knows how to make your little one comfortable.  New faces every visit can cause anxiety in some kids.

8. Hospital membership

If you child has special needs, either medical or developmental, you may want to find a pediatric dentist with privileges at your local children’s hospital.  This means the dentist has a passion for treating atypical kids and is experienced in interacting with medical colleagues.  Also if your child needs a great deal of dental care, the pediatric dentist will be able to use the hospital operating room if necessary.

9. Sedation and in office anesthesia

Unfortunately, some children’s teeth do not come in well-formed and decay quickly.  If a great deal of work is needed, it can be traumatic for a young child to have the treatment done while fully awake.  Make sure the office has a range of treatment options available including light to moderate oral sedation, deep sedation or in office anesthesia, and treatment in the operating room at the local children’s hospital.

10. Emergency services

Dental emergencies for kids often don’t happen during regular office hours.  If your child falls on an evening or a weekend, receiving timely care can be extremely important.  Make sure the office you choose for your child has a dentist on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

6 Tips For Maintaining Good Dental Health

March 28th, 2017

Pediatric Dental Care

Good dental health is one of the most important factors in good overall health. There is a long list of serious illnesses and expensive procedures that can be easily avoided with just a little regular dental care and regular checkups with the best pediatric dentist for your child. To help you and your child avoid discomfort in the dental chair, here are 6 key tips to maintaining good dental health:

1. Start Early

One of the very most important keys to life-long dental health is to start young. Dental health requires practicing daily habits and routines that promote strong healthy teeth and gums. And the best way to make these routines stick is to make them a part of your child’s life as early as possible. One way to do this is to practice dental health together with your children at the same times every day and night. This is the best thing you can do to set them up for success.

2. Brushing

Brushing is the easiest way to help prevent dental health issues, but in order to be effective it has to be done regularly and properly. Select a toothbrush that fits well in your mouth (sometimes the head of the brush can be too large, which can prevent you from brushing those hard-to-reach back teeth). Make sure to brush thoroughly at least twice a day, preferably three times. One thing that children might have trouble with is applying the right amount of pressure. Too much pressure can irritate the gums, while not enough pressure will leave the teeth unclean. If you have any questions about the proper brushing technique for yourself or your child, your dentist will be happy to help.

3. Flossing

This is everybody’s least favorite part of home dental care, but it’s also one of the most important. Flossing gets rid of the food particles and buildup that a toothbrush simply cannot reach. And even when your mouth feels fresh and clean after just brushing, you are still likely to have a lot of unseen, decay-causing particles left behind, so it’s important to floss twice a day, morning and night.

4. Rinsing

Leftover food particles cause acid to form on your teeth and eat away at the enamel, which can lead to serious dental issues down the road. Rinsing after every meal, with mouthwash or water, can help get rid of pesky food particles when you can’t brush. For the kids, you’ll want to look for a child-friendly mouthwash that doesn’t contain alcohol.

5. Fluoride

Found in many big-name toothpaste and mouthwash brands, fluoride helps strengthen and protect the enamel on your teeth. And the stronger the enamel, the harder it is for plaque and acid to eat away at your teeth and damage your gums.

6. Dentist Visits

No matter how well you care for your teeth at home, there are some things only a dentist can see and do when it comes to your teeth and gums. A visit to the dentist every six months is vital to lasting dental health. That goes for regular dental care and pediatric dental care as well. The kids might want to avoid the dentist’s office even more than you do, but sometimes it only takes one or two good experiences with a dentist to change their minds. So find a friendly and gentle pediatric dentist that you both like, and visit them regularly, you and your child’s mouth will thank you later on.

For more information on dental health and regular pediatric dental care, contact us today to schedule a consultation.

The Intriguing History of Halloween

October 29th, 2015

Halloween is fast approaching, and Drs. Mitchell Poiset, Tracy Hagan, Shay Brannan, and Jodi McGrady wanted to be sure to wish our patients a happy day, no matter how you might celebrate this holiday. The Halloween that is familiar to most people today bears little resemblance to the original Halloween; back in the "old days" it wasn't even called Halloween!

Festival of the Dead

Halloween started out as a Celtic festival of the dead that honored departed loved ones and signified a change in the cycle of the seasons. The Celtic people viewed Halloween, then called "Samhain," as a very special day – almost like our New Years day in fact, as their new calendar year began on November 1st. Samhain was the last day of autumn, so it was the time to harvest the last of the season's crops, store food away for winter, and situate livestock comfortably for the upcoming cold weather. The Celts believed that during this day, the last day of winter, the veil between this world and the spirit world is the thinnest, and that the living could communicate with departed loved ones most effectively on Samhain due to this.

Modern Halloween

Halloween as we know it today started because Christian missionaries were working to convert the Celtic people to Christianity. The Celts believed in religious concepts that were not supported by the Christian church, and these practices, which stemmed from Druidism, were perceived by the Christian church as being "devil worship" and dangerous.

When Pope Gregory the First instructed his missionaries to work at converting the Pagan people, he told them to try to incorporate some of the Pagan practices into Christian practices in a limited way. This meant that November 1st became "All Saints Day," which allowed Pagan people to still celebrate a beloved holiday without violating Christian beliefs.

Today, Halloween has evolved into a day devoted purely to fun, candy, and kids. What a change from its origins! We encourage all of our patients to have fun during the holiday, but be safe with the treats. Consider giving apples or fruit roll-ups to the kids instead of candy that is potentially damaging to the teeth and gums.

Remind kids to limit their candy and brush after eating it! Sweets can cause major tooth decay and aggrivate gum disease, so to avoid extra visits to our San Diego, CA office, make your Halloween a safe one!

Understanding Cavities

October 22nd, 2015

Getting a cavity seems like delayed punishment for eating that special dessert every weekend or for the few days you forgot to floss. When you are doing everything right with minimal exception and a cavity is diagnosed, it is discouraging. Knowing how cavities form and what causes them is valuable in knowing how to prevent them. In this blog post, Drs. Mitchell Poiset, Tracy Hagan, Shay Brannan, and Jodi McGrady will help you understand cavities!

A cavity is not a one-time event. It is actually a symptom of a disease called caries. Tooth decay is a result of an active infection and condition in the mouth. There are ingredients to this infection, which include bacteria, acid, your tooth, and a food source. The main bacterial culprit is S. Mutans. Bacteria live in a housing structure called biofilm. This offers them protection, food, and an ideal replicating environment.

Biofilm can be healthy if there is a balance of good bacteria. When you have caries, the numbers of “bad” bacteria increase and produce an environment where they thrive and therefore cause tooth decay. A main indicator of this is a pH measurement of your saliva.

Several factors can influence the biofilm pH. Foods and beverages all have different pH levels. The lower the number, the higher the acidity. Since acid promotes tooth decay, a beverage like soda will promote a cavity. Water, being neutral, is a good choice to promote healthy oral pH. Healthy eating can still cause cavities. Here is an example of a highly acidic, yet traditionally healthy meal:

Toast with store-bought strawberry jam, and a cup of cottage cheese topped with fresh cranberries.

Instead, here is a better choice, which involves mixing acidic healthy foods with alkaline (non-acidic) foods to reduce the overall pH:

Toast with almond butter, and Greek yogurt topped with fresh blueberries.

The first example will result in a very low pH in the mouth and even in the rest of the body. The second meal mixes highly acidic blueberries with an alkaline Greek yogurt. Dairy products from cows are highly acidic. Toast is acidic because of the yeast and almonds are alkaline.

A natural buffer is saliva. Whenever mouth breathing or medications compromise the saliva flow, the pH is going to drop and caries can go rampant. Getting a cavity is not just about the sweets or forgotten flossing sessions. It is about the pH levels and bacterial management.

For more helpful tips about how to avoid cavities, contact our San Diego, CA office.