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The Dangers of Thumb, Finger, and Pacifier Sucking

August 13, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tech Support @ 8:37 pm

The Dangers of Thumb, Finger, and Pacifier Sucking

Most pediatric dentists recommend helping children discontinue sucking habits by their first birthday or shortly thereafter. If your toddler or preschooler is still sucking their fingers, using a pacifier, or routinely relying on a sippy cup, there are some serious growth complications that can arise. Here are just a few:

Irregular Bone Growth

The irregular pressure that a thumb or finger places (during sucking) on your child’s mouth will cause unnatural growth patterns in their:

  • Palate (roof of the mouth)
  • Upper arch of teeth
  • Mandible (lower jaw)
  • Occlusion (biting relationship)

Over time, these skeletal differences may become so significant that, if not addressed early, they require surgical intervention later on in life. One of the most common is an “open bite,” where the front of their mouth does not close together all the way.

Speech Delays

Extended sucking changes the shape of your child’s mouth as well as the way their tongue moves. When bones and teeth don’t form properly, it can cause serious speech delays or permanent impediments in your child’s speaking patterns. Even speech therapy may not be completely effective if skeletal patterns are atypical.

Tongue Thrusting

Thumb, finger, and pacifier sucking are especially known to create an irregular swallowing habit known as “tongue thrusting.” This is where the tongue presses forward between the front teeth when your child swallows, instead of in the roof of the mouth and behind the upper front teeth. It’s typically caused by prolonged sucking habits and is quite difficult to “treat” as it’s an instinct that must be learned.

Tongue thrusting tends to cause splayed out front teeth.

Jaw Disorders

By the time the bone growth patterns, tongue, and jaws do not function naturally, it begins to radiate into other areas of the facial anatomy. In this case, your child’s jaws. If they cannot swallow properly or chew correctly, their TMJ will need to accommodate for those unnatural relationships, which can gradually lead to joint pain and headaches.

Increase in Dental Emergencies

Splayed-out front teeth are a common side-effect of sucking habits. Since they jet out further than the rest of the teeth—even sometimes between the lips—they’re more prone to fractures during common bumps or falls.

Orthodontic Needs

Last but not least, pacifier and finger sucking can create major orthodontic problems that would not have otherwise existed. Without early intervention or growth modification, those issues can result in years of orthodontic therapy or potentially even surgeries in an attempt to correct them.

Early Intervention is Key

Working with a pediatric dentist can help you be aware of any unnatural growth patterns or movements in your child’s mouth. If your child is still using a pacifier or sucking their finger(s), it’s time to make a game plan.

A Pediatric Dentist Can Help

Dr. Manshadi and our Bryan pediatric dental team are passionate about helping kids enjoy healthy smiles for life. During early development, your child’s oral health will impact their orofacial function and dental wellness for decades to come. For tips on thumb sucking or to schedule a checkup for your child, call Safari Dental & Orthodontics today.

Tongue Ties/Lip Ties in Infants

July 7, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tech Support @ 2:15 am

Tongue Ties/Lip Ties in Infants

When you think of visiting a pediatric dentist, you probably always relate those thoughts back to your child’s teeth. But specialists like Dr. Manshadi also help with soft tissue oral needs, such as tongue ties and lip ties in infants.


What is a Tongue or Lip Tie?

Although lip ties and tongue ties are two different things, they are almost identical in their causes. Each is the result of a tight, short, or dense strip of tissue in the middle of the mouth, either immediately behind the lip or just under the tip of the tongue. This tight strip of skin (“frenum”) restricts the movement of the lip or tongue.

Sometimes the severity of a lip or tongue tie can be so significant that it’s noticeable within hours of your baby’s birth.


Side-Effects of a Lip Tie, Tongue Tie in Babies

Without flexible range of motion in your lip or tongue, issues like speech become a major concern. But in infants, the impact is immediate. Many babies will struggle with latching to nurse or bottle feed, causing frustration on their part and the person feeding them. Babies often become fussy or frustrated, not eating enough. And if mother is breastfeeding, latching can be extremely painful.

The signs of a lip or tongue tie are typically easy to identify as long as you have a pediatrician, lactation consultant, or pediatric dentist who is able to peek into your child’s mouth.


How to Treat Them

Most lip and tongue ties can be treated in just one trip to our office. By releasing the tissue tension behind the lip or under the gum—a procedure we call a “frenectomy”— your child immediately benefits from improved range of motion. The tissue can be released by either a small tool to gently trim or laser the tight area so that it stretches further like it’s supposed to.

For infants, issues such as latching during feeding typically see an immediate improvement. Feeding usually becomes easier on everyone, including nursing mothers. Since the baby is able to open their lips wider and protrude their tongue forward more, sucking becomes more efficient and feedings are less stressful.

Mild to moderate ties may not require treatment, but severe lip and tongue ties ought to be addressed as early as possible.


Call our Bryan Pediatric Dentist

One of the fastest ways to figure out if your baby has a tongue or lip tie is to visit a pediatric dentist. As an expert in children’s oral anatomy, pedodontists like Dr. Manshadi can quickly assess your child’s soft tissues to determine if there is a “tie” that needs to be correct.

If your baby, toddler, or older child has a suspected lip tie or tongue tie, feel free to request an exam. Even if your baby is a newborn. Safari Dental & Orthodontics will work to answer all of your questions and provide your child with the gentlest care experience possible. Relief is just a phone call away. Contact our Bryan office today for an appointment.

Why do Cavities in Baby Teeth Need to be Filled?

April 19, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tech Support @ 1:12 pm

Why do Cavities in Baby Teeth Need to be Filled?

One of the most common questions we hear at Safari Dental & Orthodontics is, “If my child’s baby tooth has a cavity, why does it need a filling if it’s going to fall out anyway?” Although there are occasional times — like when the tooth is about to fall out — where Dr. Manshadi may recommend leaving the tooth alone, the standard of care is to treat the cavities in baby teeth. Here are just a few reasons why:


Baby Teeth Can Become Abscessed

Cavities can expand quite quickly in baby teeth. When they do, it’s simply a matter of time before the decay reaches the nerve inside of the tooth. At that point, the tooth can abscess. It’s important that you don’t use pain as a determining factor for treatment, because an abscessed tooth is dying and may not exhibit pain in some cases. But in rare circumstances, abscesses can pose serious life-threatening illnesses (such as brain infections) in children, requiring hospitalization. The better choice is to treat the cavity before it grows larger. 


The Decay Can Spread to Adjacent Teeth


Tooth decay can “jump” from one tooth to another. So, if a baby tooth has decay but isn’t treated promptly, the adjacent tooth may also have a cavity by the time your child is due for their next checkup. Infections can also spread down through the baby tooth into the developing permanent tooth below it. Essentially, creating a chain reaction throughout your child’s entire mouth. That’s why early dental care can help set your child up for better oral health as an adult!

Consequences of Losing the Tooth too Early


“Why not just pull it?”


We hear that question a lot, too. But extracting a baby tooth too early can also lead to a chain reaction of complications. Your child’s surrounding smile needs that tooth as a placeholder and guide. Premature tooth loss can cause adjacent teeth to tilt inward, blocking the permanent tooth below it. In turn, your child’s orofacial anatomy is altered. A few years down the road, you’re having to consider major orthodontic correction. The better solution is to maintain healthy growth patterns and preserve the guide for the developing adult tooth. 

Dental Fillings for Kids


We recommend bringing your child to our Bryan office every six months for a routine checkup. If Dr. Manshadi identifies early signs of decay, we can intercept it while the cavity is still small. In fact, demineralization (before the cavity forms) can also be reversed!


If your child does need a filling, it’s best to place a small one before the decay has a chance to spread. Most of our pediatric dental fillings are made of white composite, which is minimally invasive and bonds better to the tooth. We also offer gentle nitrous oxide sedation to help your child feel relaxed; chances are, they may not even realize what’s going on. 


Has it been six months or longer since your child’s last dental appointment? Call Safari Dental & Orthodontics today to schedule their next exam and cleaning.

When to take away a pacifier: How pacifiers effect your child’s teeth

October 6, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tech Support @ 3:48 pm

It is no secret that millions of children all around the world love their pacifiers. For many parents this little device is the best way to sooth and calm a child when all else fails. One of the main reasons for this is that sucking on a pacifier or something as simple as their own thumb helps them feel content and secure. (more…)

How to make your child’s first dentist visit a success

August 5, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tech Support @ 8:48 pm

A child’s first visit to the dentist can be a bit scary. More often than not, you as a parent are more scared than your child. However, if you educate yourself properly beforehand and therefore know what to expect, you will find out that it doesn’t have to be a scary experience for you or your child.


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