Comprehensive exams let us do much more than count teeth and look for decay. Instead, we check for things like cavity “seeds” that can be treated without drilling, gum inflammation that could indicate improper brushing or periodontal issues, proper eruption patterns, proper jaw growth and alignment, and the impact of habits such as thumb or pacifier sucking. Of course, we also check the oral soft tissues for pathology, infection, or sores, as well as doing a lymph node check. Our findings are always compared to previous checkups, quickly and accurately, with our computerized system. We can even show you how your child is doing from visit to visit! When needed, we include digital x-rays to take a look at what is happening under the enamel and gums. Comprehensive exam visits and checkups also include time to talk to you and your kiddo. This is an important part of your exam and we never rush you through it. You are just as big a part of your child’s dental health team as we are!
Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral cancer screenings are not just for adults! Although certain types of oral cancer (squamous cell carcinoma, for instance) are more common in adults than in children, kids can be susceptible to oral cancer too. That’s why we always perform oral cancer screenings at each cleaning and check-up. At these screenings, we check your child’s head, neck and oral cavity including:
- Lining of cheeks
- Roof of mouth
- The area behind the wisdom teeth
- Salivary glands
- Lymph nodes
If you notice anything unusual between visits, please give us a call. Keep your eyes open for:
- Irregular and unusual lumps, bumps, or thicknesses
- White or red patches on any soft tissue
- Sores that won’t heal
- Unexplained bleeding, soreness, or numbness
- Trouble swallowing
- Difficulty during yawning or inability to open the mouth widely
- Ear drainage
We are specially trained to recognize even the subtlest signs or symptoms of mouth cancer so it can be caught and treated early when it is most reversible.
X-rays may have been around for a long time, but we still find them fascinating – and so do kids! Our digital x-ray technology makes it easier and better to screen for problems and to use the photos as an educational tool. Why? First, digital x-rays expose your child to much less radiation than traditional x-rays and are easier on the environment too! Second, these x-rays are visually clearer and crisper and can be saved directly to our in-room computers for immediate viewing. That means you and your youngsters can take a look at what is going on inside the teeth and all the way into the roots right along with Dr. Leslie or Dr. Judith. Plus, because they are stored on the computer, we can easily pull them up for comparison visit to visit!
Growing Great Grins also has panoramic x-ray technology so we can get an overview of any child’s head, neck, oral cavity, and jaw. Panoramic x-rays can be great for special-needs kids, little ones who have trouble sitting still, experience anxiety, or have a strong gag reflex because they don’t require any film or device to be placed in the mouth. Instead, the panographic digital x-rays stay outside of your child’s mouth and move around his or her head. Because the image produced is of the entire head, mouth, and jaw, it lets us check the position of wisdom teeth, evaluate the need for restorative dentistry, look for things like infection and abscess, and even check your kiddos’ sinuses.
We know you do a great job of brushing at home. You got the Frozen toothbrush, the My Little Pony toothpaste, and floss, and the Elmo tooth brushing video. You even double-check your toddler’s teeth when she has finished and do it for her once in a while just to be sure. Yeah – your home hygiene game is strong!
As tough as you are on tartar, plaque, and cavity bugs at home, nothing beats regular professional cleanings. Professional dental hygiene by the Growing Great Grins team is really important because, no matter how well you do at home, you just can’t completely disrupt those stubborn biofilms without the right tools and know-how. Plus, every time we clean those chompers, we also get a good look at what else is going on in young mouths, checking for proper development, chewing issues, and soft tissue health
Our ultrasonic scaler gets teeth the shiniest, smoothest, most awesome-feeling clean faster and more comfortably than any other hygiene tools. We also have the Prophy Jet that blasts out a salt-water solution to clean around braces, brackets, and restorations. It’s like a visit to the waterpark…but in miniature…in your mouth. Well, sort of. Kids seem to like it! And they really like how clean and fresh their teeth feel!
You had it when you were little. Sometimes it’s in city water, but it is usually never in well water. It is in toothpastes and mouth rinses. It’s fluoride – but what is it and what does it really do? Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral compound most famous for its ability to fight – and even reverse – tooth decay. But it isn’t just a superhero disrupter of cavity-bug activity. It is also a great protector in other ways. Fluoride can help rebuild and strengthen teeth! That’s important because right from the beginning, teeth are under attack. Tiny teeth are exposed to milk. Teen teeth might suffer from sports-drink-itis. In fact, even daily wear and tear like chewing on fingernails, biting a pencil, or chomping on ice all contributes to mineral loss on those pearly whites. Sure, saliva naturally helps remineralize, but adding fluoride treatments really does ensure that teeth are as hard and strong as they need to be. Make sure the toothpaste you buy contains it (yes, even that sparkly stuff has it!), but monitor how much gets put on the brush (a pea-sized dot it all you need) and make sure everyone spits after brushing.
Fluoride may be good on the surface, but swallowing too much can cause white spots on teeth!
We also recommend that you talk to us about regular fluoride treatments. We offer fluoride treatments at every visit and have a variety of flavors for youngsters to choose from. Kids love it!
In addition to regular fluoride treatments, we also have Silver Diamine Fluoride available for special needs patients, babies, and children whose teeth will be falling out soon. SDF can be painted directly on caries lesions to stop active dental disease and cavities in its tracks without any invasive treatments. This is not our first choice for cavity care, because it does stain the teeth it touches black, but in instances in which children are unable to sit with their mouths open or tolerate any drilling, this is an effective, FDA approved alternative. It’s definitely a tooth-saver for some of our patients!
We rarely have to use anesthesia, but when we do, you can rely on the fact that your child will be absolutely relaxed and comfortable for any procedure. Read more here!
Everyone wants a straight, beautiful, comfortable smile – and some people are willing to wear braces to get it. Other people need braces for more than the way their teeth look, they need braces so they don’t get headaches or so their jaw opens and closes correctly. No matter why your little people may need orthodontic care, guess what: Growing Great Grins shares their waiting area with an awesome orthodontist! That’s right! If we discover that your youngster would benefit from braces or other orthodontic treatment, we will refer you right over to our friend next-door.
Sometimes, we agree that it can be better for some little ones to continue care with us, in the office they trust and are familiar with, so on occasion, Dr. Leslie will treat kids with palate expanders or space maintainers while they get to know the orthodontist. In most cases, though, whether your child needs a little tooth straightening, gaps closed, or other orthodontic treatment, our friend and neighbor here at 1001 Medical Plaza Drive can help. We think he is the best…but if you have another orthodontist you’d rather work with, talk to us about that as well.
TMJ disorder is terrible. It can cause anything from loud snaps, crackles, and pops when you chew (and it most certainly isn’t your cereal making all that noise!) to chronic migraines. No one wants that for their darlings! The trouble is, even kids can have problems with their jaw or their teeth and develop pain and discomfort that may be originating in a TMJ issue.
Does your child, teen, or special-needs patient suffer from any of these symptoms?
- Headaches or migraines
- Stiffness or soreness in the neck, shoulders, and back
- Facial pain
- Jaw pain
- Tingling of the fingertips
- Numbness in your fingers or arms
- Sensitive teeth or loose teeth
- Clenching or grinding
- Ear congestion
- Ringing in the ears
- Limited mouth opening
Then please call us right away. We can take a look at your child’s head, neck, and jaw using our panoramic x-ray, or refer you directly to the TMJ pain clinic on the second floor of our building or to a trusted myofunctional therapist named Sue Merino – or both! Do not let your child continue to suffer from TMJ disorder. Get them on the path to feeling better fast. Growing Great Grins is here to help!
Emergencies come in all shapes and sizes – sometimes your emergency might just involve the need for ice-cream. Another time it might have to do with something less soft and comforting – like a collision between the floor and a little mouth. Or a sudden, stabbing pain in a molar. The ice-cream emergency can be taken care of down the street at Marble Slab Creamery, but the second or other tooth-related emergencies? Call the team at Growing Great Grins! We are always available to help when a dental emergency happens.
- If the emergency is related to an accident or head trauma, call us, but also head to the emergency room. It is important that we monitor any mouth injury, even if you are treated at the hospital.
- If it seems as if we can treat the problem here, we will work you right into the schedule.
- If your accident occurs on the weekend or after hours, don’t worry, we can help with that too. We are in a call group to make sure our patients always have access to a dentist.
In addition, the Growing Great Grins team is completely prepared to take care of emergencies both in and out of office visits and sedation procedures. Dr. Leslie and Dr. Judith attend pediatric dental simulation courses to gain practice in managing emergencies, and we run quarterly drills to refresh our skills so that the entire team is ready to spring into action when an emergency arises.