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    First Year Tooth Care. Get New Teeth Off To a Great Start!

    Last updated 4 years ago

    Whether you are expecting your first child, grandchild or care for someone else’s baby, it is important to know that the first year of life contains the most major growth spurts and changes. The teeth are also part of this rapid growth process. The development of the primary (baby) teeth actually begins while the baby is in the womb. At about five weeks’ gestation, the first buds of primary teeth appear in the baby’s jaws. At birth, the baby actually has a full set of 20 primary teeth (10 upper/10 lower) hidden within the gums.

    The teeth usually do not erupt until at least six months, and in order to keep them pearly white, they really need to be treated as precious pearls. Many of the new parents that visit our office still have important questions about what to do and what to expect at the very early phases of primary teeth development. Here is some helpful information that you may want to keep or pass on to new or expecting parents.

    Park View's Point of View

    Taking care of your baby’s new teeth on a daily basis may seem like a chore, but it is a very important, necessary parental job. In a recent article in Real Simple magazine, it was reported that, “Cavities are the single most common chronic childhood disease in America, affecting one in four kids ages 2 to 5.” Therefore, being the “Tooth Police” right from the start will pay off toward a future of cavity-free dental visits.

    New Born  to One Year

     • Normally the first tooth erupts between the ages of 6 to 12 months. Teeth often arrive in pairs and usually the bottom teeth erupt first.

    • Gums are often sore, tender and sometimes irritable. Rubbing sore gums gently with a clean finger, the back of a cold spoon or a cold, wet cloth helps soothe the gums.

    • Teething rings work well and teething biscuits can be used, but be careful that your baby does not bite off a piece that he/she can choke on.

    • As soon as the first tooth appears, it's time to begin an at-home routine of brushing twice a day— after breakfast and before bed is recommended. Use a soft, small-headed toothbrush and water to remove food, bacteria and debris in the mouth, as well as sticky plaque. Don't use toothpaste until your child is old enough to rinse and spit on their own (usually over two years old).

    • While your baby is teething, it is important to monitor the teeth for signs of baby bottle decay. Examine the teeth, especially on the inside, or the tongue side, of the top front teeth every couple of weeks for brown spotting. At PVPD, we are dedicated to fighting baby bottle decay and request that our parents notify us if they see these early signs.

    • Baby bottle decay is caused by prolonged intake of sugary liquids like milk, formula and fruit juices. A bottle containing anything other than water and left in an infant’s mouth while sleeping can cause decay. This happens because sugar in the liquid mixes with bacteria in dental plaque, forming acids that attack the tooth enamel. While awake, the length of the bottle time for milk, formula and juice is monitored, plus saliva carries away the liquid. During sleep, the saliva flow significantly decreases and liquids pool around the child’s teeth for long periods, covering the teeth in plaque.

    • The primary, or “baby,” teeth play a crucial role in dental development and guide the permanent teeth into place. Therefore, infants with missing primary teeth or infants who prematurely lose primary teeth may require a space maintainer, a device used to hold the natural space open for the adult teeth.

    • At PVPD, we share the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s recommendation that the first dental visit should be scheduled by the  first birthday. At our office we stress the importance of making the first visit a positive and enjoyable, experience— complete with cartoon viewing, goodies, rewards and games. We believe that this sets the stage for a positive dental attitude and a lifetime of excellent oral health.

    Contact us at:
    Park View Pediatric Dentistry

    Digital Dental X-Rays for Children— State-of-the-Art and Safe

    Last updated 4 years ago

    X-Rays are a very integral part of your child’s dental exam. They are a very important preventative and diagnostic tool that provides your pediatric dentist with the valuable information that cannot be seen during a regular oral dental exam. Dental x-rays are used by both dentists and dental hygienists to accurately find dental abnormalities. The pediatric dentist can then provide the appropriate treatment plan(s) for what is visible on your child’s x-ray. Without x-rays, problem areas may go undetected and, this can lead to more serious, invasive treatments down the road if the problem becomes exacerbated.

    Dental X-rays are done to:

    Find problems, such as tooth decay, damage to the bones supporting the teeth, and dental injuries (such as broken tooth roots). Dental X-rays are often done to find these problems early, before any symptoms are present.

    Find teeth that are not in the right place or do not break through the gum properly. Teeth that are too crowded to break through the gums are called impacted. This is common for the wisdom teeth in the later teen years.

    Find cysts, solid growths (tumors), or abscesses.

    Check for the location of permanent teeth growing in the jaw in children who still have their primary (or baby) teeth.

    Plan treatment of teeth that are not lined up straight (orthodontic treatment).

    Park View's Point of View

    At Park View Pediatric Dentistry we use the latest digital x-ray equipment to provide state-of–the-art dental care and a more accurate diagnoses. The digital x-ray uses a digital imaging plate, not the conventional film that some offices may still use, where the child had to uncomfortably bite down on. The digital imaging plate captures and stores the digital image of the teeth on our computer. The image then can be instantly viewed and enlarged, helping our team of dentists and dental hygienists find problems or issues quicker and easier. We can then discuss this with you during the very same visit.

    In general, dental x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered safe. Digital x-rays also reduce that radiation 80-90%, compared to the already low exposure of a traditional dental x-ray. Let’s put this in perspective. According to the American Nuclear Society, radiation is part of our natural environment.  We are exposed to radiation from the earth, and even from foods we consume. The average dose per person from all sources is about 620 mrems per year (mrems or millirems is the measured unit for radiation).  In our office, the digital x-rays that we take yearly only measures .5 mrems per x-ray, which is equivalent to one hour in a jet plane.

    The frequency to come in for our digital dental x-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs. Our team of dentists and dental hygienists will recommend the necessary x-rays based on the review of your child’s medical and dental history, dental exam, signs and symptoms, age, and special, more challenging cases.

    In any case, at Park View Pediatric Dentistry, we pride ourselves in offering the latest, cutting-edge technology in pediatric dental care.


    Contact us at:
    Park View Pediatric Dentistry

    The Pacifier Has Its Place—But Not Past a Certain Age

    Last updated 4 years ago

    Many infants, who need supplemental sucking, in addition to the breast or bottle, are given a pacifier. Though, it can be a helpful and soothing device, and a sleep aid up to a certain age, prolonged usage can result in undesirable results. Pacifier use by an infant is perfectly normal and does not concern us until it turns into a habit after 9-months of age.

    Prolonged pacifier use after 9 months can affect a child’s developing speech and swallowing ability. Pediatricians and speech experts often agree that 9-12 months is a good time to wean your child from the pacifier. This marks the beginning of an important speech development phase. If your child often has a pacifier in his mouth, he may be less likely to attempt to make sounds or practice talking. The pacifier may also distort the baby’s actual speech. “Sucking on a pacifier locks a child's mouth in an unnatural position, making it more difficult for him to develop his tongue and lip muscles normally”, says Patricia Hamaguchi, a speech-language pathologist from Cupertino, California, and author of Childhood, Speech, Language, and Listening Problems: What Every Parent Should Know. In some cases, using a pacifier frequently can cause the tongue to push forward between the teeth. This sets the stage for the development of a lisp when producing the s and z sounds.

    Pediatric dentists, including Dr. Deborah Pilla and our dental staff at Park View Pediatric Dentistry are concerned that your child’s bite can be altered from the constant sucking of a pacifier after 9 months. This is our recommend age to start to wean the child from their pacifier. Simply stopping the habit may result in the teeth and jaw self-correcting.

    Park View's Point of View

    There are many pacifiers on the market today, and just because a pacifier says “orthodontic” does not mean it is good for your child’s teeth and jaw. We suggest using the Mam®. These pacifiers come in many sizes but we also suggest using the smallest available (Mini Mam®), and not increasing in size to encourage continued use. After awhile, this undersized pacifier will not be as comfortable and soothing to use and the child will give it up on their own.

    Breaking the Pacifier Habit

    We recognize that stopping a pacifier habit is easier said than done. Here are some helpful and proven tips:

     • First, limit the pacifier to home use only. If you are already doing this, further limit the pacifier to bedtime. Ask for support from nannies, baby sitters and day care professionals.

    • When your child is over 18 months old, agree to agree to something “in substitution” to your child’s pacifier that sounds positive to them—such as giving it to a new baby (friend or relative’s), throwing it  away as reinforcement of becoming a “big boy or girl”, or suggest bringing them to the dentist to win
    a special prize. Whatever works and sparks interest. 

    • When your child inevitably asks for the pacifier, simply say “remember we gave them to (fill in blank) “,  and prepare yourself for about two days of cranky behavior and sleep disturbance. 

    We are aware that many children use a pacifier well into their toddler and even preschool years. For these special cases, the pacifier may serve as something that relieves stress and helps them adjust to new or challenging situations, like starting preschool or taking a trip. For these children some child psychologists recommend continued use until they develop other coping mechanisms. Therefore coping skills should be addressed and alternative coping aids should be introduced. Often this is done with the advice or assistance from a pediatrician or child psychologist. At Park View Pediatric Dentistry, we often confer with these other professionals to ensure that your child is receiving a complete, whole approach when it comes to their oral health.


    Contact us at:
    Park View Pediatric Dentistry

    Teaching Early, Proper Brushing Techniques— A Beautiful Smile Starts Here

    Last updated 4 years ago

    Our baby teeth, and how they are cared for, are the foundation for our permanent, adult teeth. They also are holding the correct spaces for our adult teeth. If baby teeth are lost early on, due to decay, our permanent teeth may not have the room to come in properly. Baby teeth that are not cared for in the correct way, may also cause bad breath, infection, discomfort and even pain. It can also create problems eating, speaking, and cause a child to have a poor self-image.

    The eruption of a baby's first tooth may happen as early as 6 to 7 months old. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that parents schedule their child's first dental visit by their first birthday. As soon as the first tooth appears, it's time to begin an at-home routine of brushing twice a day— after breakfast and before bed is recommended. Use a soft, small-headed toothbrush and water to remove food, bacteria and debris in the mouth, as well as sticky plaque. Don't use toothpaste until your child is old enough to rinse and spit on their own (usually over two years old).

    When your child is about 4 years old, it's time to start teaching them to brush and care for their own teeth. Teaching basic oral hygiene techniques and habits begins in toddlerhood, but is an important process that continues through the childhood years. Preschoolers usually don't have the fine motor skills to be accomplished at tooth brushing, so it is important to continue to teach and supervise your child's brushing habits until they are about 6 to 8 years old—depending on the individual child.

    Park View's Point of View

    From dental visits to at-home care, at Park View Pediatric Dentistry, we believe in approaching all that has to do with oral health and teeth in a positive and fun manner.
    Here are some of our tooth brushing teaching tips:

    1. Choose a short brush with two rows of soft bristles on a small head. Store a spare brush, since often children will drop toothbrushes cause them to get get dirty or wear out quickly. Remember to change brushes when the bristles get bent.

    2. Using a toothpaste before the age of two is not necessary. After that a small (size of a pea) dab of fluoride toothpaste is fine. Make sure it is a flavor the child enjoys. We fine that Bubble Gum is always a popular flavor!

    3. Teach by demonstration. Show your child how you brush your own teeth. Then let your hands be their guides. Gently place your hands over theirs as you guide them to brush entire mouth. Begin brushing the front teeth and ease toward the molars. Be sure to angle the bristles toward the gumline and brush each tooth with short, gentle circular motions. You may want to end with gently bushing the tongue to eliminate even more bacteria that may cause bad breath.

    4. Again, make this a fun activity that your child looks forward to. Some parents even make up their own tooth brushing song, or try one of our favorites (to tune of Row, Row Row Your Boat!):

    Brush, brush brush your teeth
    Get them nice and clean
    Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
    Let your smile be seen!

    5. Make sure your child realizes the importance of reaching every tooth. Some parents make up names for certain teeth or areas of the mouth, saying something like, “Ooops, let’s not forget about Molly Molar! I see some lunch caught back there.”

    6. Props, dolls or stuffed animals are also a fun way to have your children pretend practice brushing in between brush time.  At Park View Pediatric Dentistry, we have several stuffed animals with a full set of choppers. Children enjoy brushing those animal’s teeth with our instructions and our big colorful giant toothbrushes! (see photo). We believe that our early childhood oral education is a great compliment to your home efforts.

    Happy brushing!

    Contact us at:

    Park View Pediatric Dentistry

    Thumb Sucking Beyond Toddlerhood Can Be a Difficult Habit to Break.

    Last updated 4 years ago

    Is your child, or a child you know, a thumb sucker after age four? Many parents are not sure when is the appropriate time to intervene when prolonged thumb sucking occurs on a daily basis.

    Thumb sucking is a normal and soothing behavior for babies, satisfying their natural sucking reflex, and providing supplemental sucking to the breast and/or bottle. Modern sonograms have even revealed babies sucking their thumbs before birth. Thumb sucking is also common in the toddler years, where children either suck their thumbs on their own, or while holding a special toy or security blanket. However, most children do stop this habit between the ages of two and four.

    Thumb sucking isn’t usually a concern until age four or five, when the habit may start to affect the roof of the mouth (palate) or how the teeth line up. If your child is frequently thumb sucking at age four, or the thumb sucking is causing dental problems or embarrassment, talk to your child about breaking the habit. Prolonged sucking can alter the development of the jaw and affect the way the top and bottom teeth come together. If your child’s bite is altered from constant sucking, simply stopping the habit may result in the teeth self-correcting.

    Park View's Point of View

    At PVPD we recognize the difficulty in breaking the thumb sucking habit after toddlerhood. Here are some helpful suggestions that have proven successful for our patients:

    Helpful Aids—A four year old who unconsciously sucks at night may benefit from wearing, “My Special Shirt”, which covers both hands and is worn to bed. This reminds them not to suck. Please ask us about this.

    Positive Reinforcement—A child who sucks during the day, and is willing to try to stop the habit, may benefit from the positive reinforcement approach. Every time your child tries not to suck, he/she would receive a check or sticker on a calendar. When they get 10-20 checks, (you choose the amount based on how difficult this is for your child) they receive a small toy or special privilege. Remember, most children at this age are stating to feel embarrassed by this habit and really want to stop.

    Gentle Reminders—As a support to the above approach, you may also want to offer gentle reminders when the child starts to suck their thumb. Never scold, criticize or ridicule your child, or embarrass them in front of others. Some parents even develop a secret hand signal or password to remind the child that they are engaging in their thumb sucking

    Retainer Approach—When all else fails, we can make a retainer for a child (about 6 years old and above) that will help your child break their finger sucking habit. Your child would wear this until the habit is stopped, approximately 9 months.

    Most importantly, be patient and try not to worry or over emphasize your child’s thumb sucking. Exhibiting worrisome behavior or giving it too much attention can sometimes delay the process.

    As with all pediatric dental concerns, we are hear for you and are happy to assist and answer all your further questions.

    Contact us at:

    Park View Pediatric Dentistry


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All content and information are of an unofficial nature and are not intended to be interpreted as dental advice.
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