Posts for: January, 2021


Even though coronavirus lockdowns have prevented TV hosts from taping live shows, they're still giving us something to watch via virtual interviews. In the process, we're given occasional glimpses into their home life. During a Tonight Show interview with Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his wife, R & B performer Ciara, Jimmy Fallon's daughter Winnie interrupted with breaking news: She had just lost a tooth.

It was an exciting and endearing moment, as well as good television. But with 70 million American kids under 18, each with about 20 primary teeth to lose, it's not an uncommon experience. Nevertheless, it's still good to be prepared if your six-year-old is on the verge of losing that first tooth.

Primary teeth may be smaller than their successors, but they're not inconsequential. Besides providing young children with the means to chew solid food and develop speech skills, primary teeth also serve as placeholders for the corresponding permanent teeth as they develop deep in the gums. That's why it's optimal for baby teeth to remain intact until they're ready to come out.

When that time comes, the tooth's roots will begin to dissolve and the tooth will gradually loosen in the socket. Looseness, though, doesn't automatically signal a baby tooth's imminent end. But come out it will, so be patient.

Then again, if your child, dreaming of a few coins from the tooth fairy, is antsy to move things along, you might feel tempted to use some old folk method for dispatching the tooth—like attaching the tooth to a door handle with string and slamming the door, or maybe using a pair of pliers (yikes!). One young fellow in an online video tied his tooth to a football with a string and let it fly with a forward pass.

Here's some advice from your dentist: Don't. Trying to pull a tooth whose root hasn't sufficiently dissolved could damage your child's gum tissues and increase the risk of infection. It could also cause needless pain.

Left alone, the tooth will normally fall out on its own. If you think, though, that it's truly on the verge (meaning it moves quite freely in the socket), you can pinch the tooth between your thumb and middle finger with a clean tissue and give it a gentle tug. If it's ready, it should pop out. If it doesn't, leave it be for another day or two before trying again.

Your child losing a tooth is an exciting moment, even if it isn't being broadcast on national television. It will be more enjoyable for everyone if you let that moment come naturally.

If you would like more information on the importance and care of primary teeth, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Importance of Baby Teeth.”

January 04, 2021
Category: Oral Health

Visiting your family dentists in Alexandria, Virginia can help save your children’s smiles

The health of your children is very important, and so is their dental health. A vital step in ensuring your children enjoy healthy smiles is teaching them proper dental habits. Regular visits to your family dentist can help. The family dentists at Gibberman Dental in Alexandria, Virginia offer a wide range of family dental care services, including dental services for your children.

So, what should you be teaching your children about proper dental habits? First, let them know how important it is to remove the plaque on their teeth. Plaque is filled with bacteria that can destroy smiles. Pediatric dentists often refer to plaque bacteria as “tooth bugs.”

Next, show them how to remove the plaque by brushing after meals and before bed. Demonstrate:

Gentle brushing in a circular motion, covering all the surfaces of the teeth and along the gumline. Always use a toothpaste containing fluoride for extra protection against tooth decay. Then, have your children demonstrate the technique back to you.

Next, show your children how to floss. Flossing can be taught when your child is around the age of 4, and your children should be able to floss without your help when they are about 8 years old.

It’s often helpful for kids to use a flossing tool. They come in kid-friendly shapes like dinosaurs and can help make flossing fun. Show your children how to wrap the floss around the tooth as they go down in between teeth. Then, have them demonstrate the technique back to you.

Don’t forget to set a great example for your children. When they see you brushing after meals and before bed, and flossing every day, it reinforces how important brushing and flossing are.

Regular visits to your family dentist need to start early. A child is at risk of tooth decay the minute the first primary tooth erupts in the mouth. A first visit when your child is young helps to prevent tooth decay and other dental problems later on.

A first visit should happen when your child is about 2 to 3 years old. This is a very important appointment because it helps forge comfort between your child and your family dentist, so appointments can be calm and relaxing later on.

Teaching proper dental habits and visiting your family dentist is vital to helping your children enjoy healthy smiles. To find out more about family dentistry services, call the family dentists of Gibberman Dental in Alexandria, Virginia at 703-823-6616. Call today!

By Gibberman Dental
January 04, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: tooth decay  

Tooth decay can be a big problem for children's primary (baby) teeth. It doesn't take long for a tooth to become infected and the infection spread to their neighbors.

But since it will eventually give way to a permanent tooth, why not just pull a diseased primary tooth? Although that sounds sensible, there are important reasons for helping a troubled primary tooth survive to its natural end.

Current usefulness. They may not be around for long, but primary teeth serve children well while they have them. They enable a child to eat solid foods to further their physical development. They also figure prominently in speech development, which could be stunted by lost teeth.

The smile factor. Young children are also honing their social skills, and smiling is an important part of learning to fit in with family and friends. A tooth that's missing for some time, especially in the “smile zone,” could affect their smile and have an adverse effect on their social development.

Future teeth health. A primary tooth reserves the space intended for the future permanent tooth, helping to ensure the incoming tooth erupts in the right position. If it's not there, however, other teeth can drift into the space, crowding the incoming tooth out of its proper alignment.

That last reason could have the most long-term effect, causing the development of a poor bite that could require extensive orthodontic treatment. To avoid this and any other physical or social consequences accompanying its premature loss, it's worth the effort to try to protect and save a primary tooth.

Preventively, we can apply sealants on biting surfaces more prone to plaque buildup (the main cause of decay) and topical fluoride to strengthen enamel. When decay does occur, we may be able to remove it and fill the tooth, cap a tooth with a steel crown, or even use a modified root canal procedure in the case of advanced tooth decay.

The best way, however, to protect your child's primary teeth is to brush and floss them every day. Removing harmful plaque vastly reduces the risk of tooth decay. Coupled with professional dental care, your child can avoid tooth decay and get the most out of their primary teeth.

If you would like more information on children's dental care, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Importance of Baby Teeth.”