Common Questions


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, palate, and airway space causing restrictions to nasal breathing and malocclusion including: over-bite, under-bite, cross bite, open bite, crooked or crowded teeth and other jaw problems.  

Congestion, allergies, low muscle tone and more can lead to mouth breathing, further exasperating a narrow midface, because the tongue is not in the palate resisting the inward forces of the cheek and lip muscles during swallowing and speech.

What can parents do to support good jaw growth?

A jaw must grow down and forward to allow proper development of the airway and oral cavity. 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, good posture and symmetric body, all assist with normal jaw growth.

Healthy sleep requires a health airway. A healthy airway is dependent on the function of the oral cavity.

Myofunctional therapy will be recommended for any child with orofacial dysfunction.  Reference on how to Myo-optimize: Guide on how parents can prepare children for good airway from day one. See Chapter 5 Sleep Wrecked Kids by Sharon Moore

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 and support optimal health?

Parents offering an abundance of whole foods in their homes and practicing routine twice daily brushing and at least once daily flossing are off to an excellent start by setting an example.  Parents are further encouraged to assist in their little one's oral hygiene until the child has developed the necessary coordination to do it effectively.  Lifestyle is everything when it comes to health.   Offer nutritional foods that support gut health and avoid dietary inflammation while engaging in activities that support cardiovascular health is essential to growing minds and bodies.

Dr. Gunsaulis recommends at least semi-annual preventative care appointments, beginning before the eruption of the first tooth, no later than age one. Dr. Gunsaulis will recommend a specific program of oral hygiene suited for your little one's age and lifestyle modifications to fit your beliefs and promote optimal health. 

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

Dr. Gunsaulis is a board certified pediatric dentist, who has two additional years of specialty training at Children's Hospital of Michigan following graduation from Northwestern University Dental School.  Dr. Gunsaulis limits her dental care to children and maintains her board certification annually by attending education that supports optimizing airway, growth and development via myofunctional therapy, releasing oral-ties and embracing lifestyle medicine.

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 or bottle feeding your child just prior to sleep and during the night. Anything other than water is risking developing cavities, pain and infection! During the day, it is equally important to minimize your child's exposure to sugar. 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 a toothpaste with xylitol.


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

Toothpaste should be used when the first tooth appears and applied with a toothbrush first thing in the morning and prior to bed at night.  Remineralizing toothpaste with xylitol and/or fluoride is recommended as per your preference.  When toothpaste is used, parents should assist and supervise brushing.  Clean your child's teeth with a smear of toothpaste (less than a grain of rice-difficult to see on the toothbrush), water and a soft-bristled toothbrush when the first tooth appears and until they learn to spit.   You may use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste once a child has learned to spit out toothpaste (see photo).

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 as a financing option 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 uses a digital x-ray system to ensure safety and minimize exposure while eliminating the need for special aprons.

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 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.

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.