Common Questions

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To Breastfeed and/or Bottle-Feed?

According to Dr. David C. Page Sr., considered a pioneer in functional jaw orthopedics, breastfeeding is the best way to ensure proper jaw  growth.  The jaw is the keystone for the development of other structures around it such as the nasal area, lips, cheeks and tongue.  The jaw with good, balanced down and forward jaw growth occurs over time as a child grows.  "The proper development of the jaws is the gateway to the human airway."  Dr. Page, Sr. continues to say "bottle, pacifier, and digit sucking create unnatural upward and backward sucking forces on both upper and lower jaws."

I recommend Diane Bahr's book: Feed Your Baby & Toddler Right to help you feed your baby in the best possible way whether you breastfeed, bottle-feed or do a combination of both.

What is harmful to the jaw growth of infants/toddlers?

The first year of life is the most rapid period of jaw growth.  The unnatural backward and upward sucking forces created by bottle, pacifier, spouted cup, and pouch food use, put unnatural  forces on the jaw.  These forces can narrow the dental arches and palate, ultimately causing malocclusion including: over-bite, under-bite, cross-bite, open bite, crooked or crowded teeth and other jaw problems.  

What can parents do to support good jaw growth?

A jaw must grow down and forward , suckling during breastfeeding promotes this type of growth.   Appropriate breastfeeding, open cup and straw use, taking bites of food and chewing, as well as intentional supervised tummy or belly time, creeping and crawling assist with normal jaw growth. 

When should a parent schedule the first pediatric dentist visit?

Dr. Molly Gunsaulis wishes she could see parents prior to the birth of their baby and ideally prior to conception.   

Breast feeding difficulties are often related to problems within the baby's mouth, such as jaw weakness, thin or nonexistent sucking pads or tongue-ties, and/or lip-ties.  Breastfeeding difficulties may also be related to other factors: Supporting a healthy life-style for mother to ensure she gets optimal sleep, is breathing properly, has a healthy nutrition, understands medical birthing processes and the alternatives and more, would go a long way to promote breastfeeding without difficulties.

Ideally, seeing parents prior to the birth of their child, allows for a smoother transition into parenthood by clearly outlining growth milestones, identifying feeding choices, and giving instructions on how to support the proper mouth-body development.   

In my practice, as a release provider, I see many moms and babies who have difficulty breastfeeding.  Many babies with breastfeeding difficulties have tongue and or lip-ties.  It would be beneficial if every baby was screened for tethered oral tissues and had ties released at birth.  

How can parents help prevent tooth decay?

Parents can prevent tooth decay by brushing and flossing their child's teeth according to their child's pediatric dentist, Dr. Molly Gunsaulis. It is also important to offer nutritional foods in your home and monitor the frequency of snacking. It is essential to take your child to Dr. Gunsaulis, for semi-annual preventative care appointments, beginning with the eruption of the first tooth. Dr. Gunsaulis will recommend a specific program of brushing, flossing, and other instructions to assist parents. These customized oral hygiene instructions, when added to regular dental visits and a balanced diet, will help ensure your child a lifetime of great oral health!

What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a general or family dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists refers to pediatric dentists as the 'pediatricians' of dentistry. Dr. Gunsaulis is a pediatric dentist, who has two additional years of specialty training in a children's hospital following dental school. Dr. Molly Gunsaulis limits her dental care to children only.

Are baby teeth really that important to my child?

Yes, primary, or "baby," teeth are very important for many reasons. Without baby teeth, children would not be able to speak clearly, chew properly, or maintain the room necessary for the permanent teeth to grow into the mouth correctly.

What should I do if my child has a toothache?

First, rinse the irritated area with warm water and place a cold compress on the face if it is swollen. Call our office right away.

How can I prevent decay caused by nursing?

Avoid nursing your child just prior to sleep or during the night. Anything other than water in their bed-time bottle is risking developing cavities, pain and infection! During the day, it is equally important to minimize your child's exposure to sugar and so it is recommended that children drink only water between meals. It is very important to brush your child's teeth before bed and in the morning.

What should I use to clean my baby's teeth?

A soft toothbrush will remove plaque, a white film, that causes tooth decay. A small toothbrush designed for infants should be used at least twice a day, at bedtime and in the morning. We also recommend using an oral wipe containing xylitol and will gladly give you a sample.

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When should I begin using toothpaste and how much should I use when brushing my child's teeth?

Fluoridated toothpaste can be used when your child can spit toothpaste out after brushing, usually about age 2-3. A pea-sized amount of toothpaste is recommended. Clean your child's teeth with a smear of fluoride toothpaste, water and a soft-bristled toothbrush up to this time. When toothpaste is used, parents should assist and supervise brushing.

When should I take my child to the dentist for the first check-up?

Dr. Molly Gunsaulis and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that your child see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears or no later than their first birthday. The American Dental Association and Dr. Gunsaulis recommend children continue to visit a dentist at least twice a year for a professional examination and cleaning in order to prevent problems before they occur.

What should I do if my child falls and knocks out a permanent tooth?

The most important thing to do is to remain calm and find the tooth. Hold it by the crown, not the root, rinse the tooth in water, without scrubbing, and try to place it back in the socket. If that is not possible, put the tooth in a glass of milk. Call us immediately.

Are payment plans available for my dental treatment?

Yes. We offer Care Credit and Capital One as financing options and also accept all major credit cards. We accept many types of dental insurance and will process your claim for you upon receipt of your co-payment.

How safe are dental X-rays?

X-rays are important for the diagnosis of cavities and many oral diseases. As a Pediatric dentist, Dr. Gunsaulis is especially careful to limit x-rays to which children are exposed by following the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Dr. Gunsaulis also uses special aprons and a digital x-ray system to ensure safety and minimize exposure.

What can I do to protect my child's teeth during sporting events?

Soft mouth guards made from plastic can be used to protect a child's teeth, lips, cheeks and gums from sport related injuries. A custom-fitted mouth guard developed by Dr. Gunsaulis will protect your child from injuries to the teeth and face.

How do I know if my child is getting enough fluoride?

Have Dr. Gunasulis evaluate the fluoride level of your child's primary source of drinking water. If your child is not getting enough fluoride in the water (especially if the fluoride level is deficient or if your child drinks bottled water without fluoride), then Dr. Gunsaulis may prescribe fluoride supplements.

How do I make my child's diet safe for his teeth?

A balanced diet is highly recommended for growing bodies! A balanced diet includes one serving from each of the following: fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products, and meat fish and eggs. Limiting the servings of sugars and starches will also aid in protecting your child's teeth from decay. We are always more than happy to help you select foods that protect your children's teeth, so be sure to ask us.

How do dental sealants work?

Sealants fill in the deep grooves on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This keeps food particles out that could get caught and lead to cavities. The application is fast and comfortable and can effectively protect teeth for many years.

Are thumb sucking and pacifier habits harmful for a child's teeth?

Thumb and pacifier habits will only become a problem if they go on for a long period of time. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers when the permanent teeth arrive, an appliance may be recommended by your pediatric dentist.

What if my child has a dental emergency?

Please call our office as soon as you determine that you have a dental emergency. We will be glad to schedule your child during our regular business hours. After hours, over the weekend or during the holidays, please call our office and our after-hours service will contact the doctor on-call.