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Innovative Pediatric Dentistry

12 Smile-Friendly Stocking Stuffer Ideas Kids Will Actually Like

By Blog, Uncategorized



Child and parants with Christmas tree.

As a Naperville pediatric dentist, it’s safe to say we love healthy smiles. Yet, as passionate as we are about kids’ oral health, we know a tube of toothpaste isn’t the most exciting Christmas or Hanukkah gift. 

Well, we’re changing that here at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry. We searched high and low for cute, fun oral hygiene gifts that little ones will actually like – yup, including toothpaste. 

Here are some of our favorite, smile-friendly stocking stuffer ideas for kids:

1. Hum by Colgate Smart Manual Toothbrush for Kids – Getting a colorful, bright kids’ toothbrush is great for encouraging regular brushing without a struggle. Colgate took it to the next level with Hum. The smart toothbrush has an augmented reality connector and phone stand. Attach the connector to the toothbrush, prop up a phone or tablet and open the app to turn brushing into a live, gaming experience. Kids can unlock levels and earn rewards as they defeat monsters. It also gives parents peace of mind by showing exactly where your child brushed and where they missed. 

2. 1-2-3 Grin! Kids Oral Care Set – Grin makes all-natural oral hygiene products for children and adults. Their 1-2-3 Grin! Set is one of our favorite stocking stuffer ideas for kids because it has everything you need to make brushing fun, including a pop-up brushing book with activities to teach kids how to brush and floss and a brushing chart structured like a board game. Have enough toothpaste and toothbrushes? You can also purchase the book and brushing chart separately. 

3. CocoflossNormally, kids’ dental floss would be low on the list of exciting oral hygiene oral gifts. Cocofloss is the exception! The dentist-favorite brand makes truly effective floss for kids and adults that’s free of parabens, SLS and PFAs. And it comes in fantastic flavors, including confetti cake! To make your life easier, you may want to opt for the refillable flosser too, which is designed for parents to use on kids ages 4 and under. 

4.Tooth Fairy Mouse – Maileg has the world’s most adorable and whimsical plush mice. The Tooth Fairy Little Mouse is incredibly sweet and includes a cloth bag to hold lost teeth. The brand also sells tin tooth boxes

5. Toy Monster + Kids’ Toothpaste Bundle If you’re going to give your child toothpaste as a Hanukkah or Christmas gift, make it fun with this limited-edition bundle from RiseWell. You’ll get the brand’s kid-friendly, cake batter-flavored toothpaste and a stuffed monster. 

6.Chomps the Dino Toothbrush and Book – Maisonette’s Brushies collection includes finger puppet toothbrushes for babies and toddlers and coordinating books. We love the Chomps the Dino version but they have pig, monkey and whale versions too. 

7. Oral-B Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush for Kids – This is probably the best electric toothbrush for kids because it has a small, child-sized brush head and a bigger handle that gives little hands a good grip. Some kids find that ultrasonic toothbrushes tickle, but this brush’s rotating head works well without feeling weird. Plus, it has a gentle mode especially designed for children’s teeth and gums. And you can use it with Oral-B’s Disney Magic Timer App, allowing kids to brush along with their favorite characters. 

8. A Book About Oral Hygiene – When it comes to stocking stuffer ideas, you can never go wrong with a book. To stick with the oral hygiene theme, encourage a love of reading and taking care of teeth and gums with a book about brushing and flossing. If you want to shop local, Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville has an excellent selection

9.Xylitol Candy – Instead of giving kids regular candy, gift them some xylitol candy instead. Xylitol is a natural sweetener that may help to prevent cavities by targeting cavity-causing bacteria and lowering the pH in the mouth. Xylitol gum will work for older kids who won’t swallow it or get it stuck in their hair. For younger kids, try a product like Zollipops, which are xylitol lollipops.

10. A Cute Toothbrushing Timer – A cute, little two-minute timer for brushing teeth can make kids more enthusiastic about their oral hygiene routine. Uncommon Goods sells a water-resistant turtle timer. Or go for this dual-purpose one with a two-minute toothbrushing timer and a 20-second hand washing timer.

11.Tooth Fairy Kit – This Tooth Fairy Kit from Bonjour Fête will make the process of losing baby teeth a positive one. The kit includes an official record of lost teeth, little envelopes to hold Tooth Fairy payments, receipts and a muslin bag for kids to leave their tooth under their pillow.

12.Montessori Brushing Teeth Model The Montessori Brushing Teeth Model looks just like a real mouth. It gives toddlers and preschoolers a chance to practice proper brushing technique and learn the importance of good oral hygiene. 


Give your child the gift of a healthy smile!

Now that you have plenty of oral hygiene-related, stocking stuffer ideas for kids, what about a gift that will last your child a lifetime? We’re talking about amazing oral health! To keep your child’s smile healthy and bright this holiday season – and year-round – schedule a visit at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry in Naperville today!

Dr. Kirby Goodwine featured in Naperville Magazine Medical Profiles

Dr. Kirby Goodwine featured in Naperville Magazine Medical Profiles

By In the Media
Dr. Kirby Goodwine featured in Naperville Magazine Medical Profiles

Dr. Manal Ibrahim & Dr. Anthony LaVacca are joined by a team of talented general dentists and hygienists, as well as board-certified specialists, including a pediatric dentist, an orthodontist, oral surgeon, endodontist, periodontist and a dental anesthesiologist. Our doctors are trained in state-of-the-art techniques, using technology to painlessly and conveniently protect, restore and rejuvenate smiles. With generalists and specialists under one roof and a friendly, professional team, Innovative Dental Partners can give your family the most coordinated, comprehensive care possible.

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Kid having pain in teeth due to cavity

Here’s Why Some Kids Get Cavities Even If They Brush Their Teeth

By Blog
Kid having pain in teeth due to cavity

“My child brushes and flosses their teeth every day, how could they possibly have cavities?” 

It can come as a big – and unwelcome – surprise when you find out your child has a cavity in spite of their diligent oral hygiene routine. And, yup, brushing and flossing and regular preventative dental care are the most well-known ways to keep kids’ teeth and gums healthy. 

But, nutrition is an unsung hero. What and how often kids eat directly impacts their oral health. And, when kids are deficient in certain key vitamins and minerals, it can also result in issues, ranging from an increased risk of tooth decay to bleeding gums. 

Innovative Pediatric Dentistry is here to break it all down. In this post, our Naperville pediatric dentists will talk about nutrition for healthy teeth and gums, as well as the vitamins and minerals needed to support children’s oral health. 


Diet and Oral Health

Foods that cause cavities

While genetics, medications and other factors can make children more prone to oral health issues, when tooth decay isn’t the result of a lack of brushing and flossing, it often boils down to what kids are eating. 

Even some seemingly healthy(ish) foods — we’re looking at you, crackers – are notorious cavity causers. This is because the two factors behind tooth decay are carbohydrates and time. When kids drink or eat something with sugar or starches in it, the bacteria in the mouth feed on the carbohydrates and release acids that erode the enamel. 

The acid attacks last for about 30 minutes after eating or drinking. Then, saliva swoops in and saves the days by neutralizing the acids and depositing the lost minerals back into the teeth. 

So, as long as kids are having sugars and simple carbohydrates in moderation and regularly removing food debris and plaque from their teeth, they can avoid tooth decay and keep their enamel strong. 

However, there is also a time component. The longer the carbohydrates sit on the teeth, the longer the acid attacks go on. Saliva isn’t able to remineralize the teeth enough to balance out the mineral loss, leading to tooth decay and, eventually, cavities. 

Foods that get stuck in the teeth like gummy candy, crackers, white bread and dried fruit, prolong the acid attacks and are more likely to contribute to tooth decay than things that rinse off the teeth easily like ice cream or yogurt, though they also contain sugar. 

Slowly snacking or sipping on a drink over a long period of time makes the acid attacks go on and on as well, increasing the risk of cavities. 


Nutrition for Cavity Prevention

Nutrition for Cavity Prevention

The good news is, knowing how tooth decay in children occurs, means you can take measures to prevent it. To keep cavities at bay:

  • Have kids enjoy sugars, simple carbohydrates and sticky foods in moderation. 
  • Limit snacking to once or twice a day. Stick with foods that help to remineralize the teeth or that won’t cause cavities like cheese, nuts and seeds, carrot and celery sticks, firm fruits, etc.  
  • Encourage kids to eat or drink sugary and starchy treats in one sitting. Serve them with a larger meal when saliva production is at its peak, and have kids brush their teeth afterwards or rinse their mouth out really well with water.
  • Aim for a well-rounded diet consisting of lean proteins, fresh fruit and vegetables in a variety of colors, healthy fats, dairy (or dairy alternatives) and complex carbohydrates. 
  • Choose fresh whole foods when possible. These foods tend to stick in the teeth less than their processed or dried counterparts and are usually eaten more quickly. For example, kids typically eat fresh grapes in one sitting and they don’t end up packed in between their teeth. Raisins, on the other hand, do stick in the teeth and last at room temperature for a long time, so people often eat them slowly.


Vitamins and Minerals for Kids’ Teeth and Gums

Having sugars and starches in moderation and minimizing the amount of time kids’ teeth are exposed to carbohydrates will go a long way in preventing cavities and gingivitis. 

But, it’s also important for children to get an adequate amount of the key minerals and vitamins for strong teeth and gums. These nutritional building blocks create a foundation for a lifelong healthy smile:



Calcium is a mineral that helps strengthen tooth enamel and the jawbone. It makes teeth more resistant to acid erosion and tooth decay. The body is pretty talented at storing extra calcium in your teeth and bones, meaning it can make up for the calcium that’s lost due to normal wear and tear and cavity-causing acids. 

When a child doesn’t get enough calcium in their diet, however, it makes it more difficult for the body to replace the lost minerals. The teeth then become susceptible to decay and breakage. 

Thankfully, kids can get enough calcium to keep their teeth strong through a variety of sources. To maximize the oral health benefits, choose calcium-rich foods and beverages that don’t have a lot of added sugar. We’d recommend milk, yogurt, cheese, seeds, sardines, beans, tofu, lentils, almonds, leafy greens and fortified foods and drinks, such as non-dairy milk, cereal and orange juice. 



Phosphorus joins forces with calcium to create the main structural component of tooth enamel and bones. It also works with calcium and vitamin D to rebuild and maintain enamel and tooth-supporting bone. Similar to calcium, a phosphorous deficiency makes kids more prone to cavities and tooth breakage. 

The best sources of phosphorus include meat, poultry, milk, yogurt, cheese, beans, legumes, cashews, brown rice, potatoes, whole wheat bread, pumpkin seeds and seafood like sardines, tuna, salmon and scallops.


Vitamin A

One of the best vitamins for teeth and gums is vitamin A. It helps with saliva production, and saliva is crucial for washing away food debris and plaque, neutralizing acids in the mouth and remineralizing the teeth, making them strong and cavity resistant. Vitamin A also boosts immunity and fights inflammation, thanks to its antioxidant properties. This keeps the gums and oral tissues healthy, reducing the risk of gingivitis and mouth sores, and ensuring the mouth heals quickly.

A review published in the Indian Journal of Applied Research found that a vitamin A deficiency is linked to gum disease, enamel defects and dry mouth.

Kids can get vitamin A through their diet by eating foods such as carrots, red and orange peppers, sweet potatoes, mango, cantaloupe, apricots, leafy greens, fish, liver and egg yolks.


Vitamin C

Vitamin C plays a part in maintaining the jawbone and teeth. But, its biggest contribution in the mouth is in promoting healthy gums and oral soft tissues. Vitamin C aids in healing and keeps the connective tissues that hold the teeth in place strong. A lack of vitamin C may cause bleeding gums and gingivitis. 

Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, berries, broccoli, sweet potatoes, green, orange and red peppers, leafy greens, cauliflower, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, papaya, watermelon, kiwi and mango. 

There is one caveat though: Acidic sources of vitamin C like citrus fruits, while amazing for periodontal (gum) health, can hasten enamel erosion. To avoid this, mix up the foods and drinks your child is getting vitamin C from. And, have them brush their teeth before eating something acidic or wait an hour after eating or drinking it to brush. Brushing immediately afterwards can damage the temporarily weakened enamel. 


Vitamin D

Another of the vitamins for strong teeth and bones is vitamin D. It enhances bone density and helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus to harden enamel and remineralize the teeth. It also has anti-inflammatory properties for a decreased risk of gingivitis in kids. 

A study determined that a severe vitamin D deficiency in early childhood can cause enamel defects that increase the risk of tooth decay. The researchers also found that people with a vitamin deficiency had a higher prevalence of gum inflammation and periodontitis (severe gum disease). 

Kids can get vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, as well as through their diet with fatty fish, mushrooms and foods fortified with vitamin D, including cereal, milk and orange juice. 


Other Nutrients Kids Need for Oral Health

While those listed above are the primary minerals and vitamins for healthy teeth and gums, a well-rounded diet is still essential. Iron, magnesium, potassium and B vitamins all work to create a healthy body and mouth too. Brown rice, leafy greens, bananas, nuts, seeds, beans, meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products will give your child the right balance for excellent oral health


Schedule a Visit With a Naperville Pediatric Dentist

For more cavity prevention tips and a full array of preventative care, schedule an appointment for your child at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry in Naperville. Once we’ve examined your child and chatted with you about their lifestyle and needs, an expert dentist will work with you to create a personalized plan to give your child their healthiest smile. 

Cute African American Girl Brushing Teeth And Looking In Mirror

Why Are My Child’s Teeth Yellow?

By Blog

Brushing and Flossing

At our Naperville pediatric dentistry practice, concerned parents often ask us, “Why are my child’s teeth yellow despite brushing and flossing?” Many times, especially if it’s your child’s newly erupted permanent teeth, it’s not a cause for concern, however, there are instances where treatment could be needed. To give you a better idea of what’s normal and what’s not, here are some of the causes of yellow teeth in kids:

  • Erupting Permanent Teeth

If it seems like your child’s permanent teeth are coming in yellow, this is actually completely normal. 

Compared to baby teeth, the permanent teeth have larger nerve canals and more dentin, which is the yellowish protective layer underneath the enamel. When the permanent teeth erupt, the enamel is a bit more transparent at first too, so the yellow can show through. 

Plus, since the permanent teeth erupt right next to those stark white baby teeth, the contrast makes the difference more dramatic. As the enamel calcifies over time, the permanent teeth will look whiter. Once all of the permanent teeth are in, your child’s smile will be nice and uniform. 

  • Poor Oral Hygiene

When kids don’t thoroughly brush and floss their teeth, plaque builds up on the enamel. This can lead to a dull or yellow appearance. Having kids floss once daily and brush at least twice a day will prevent plaque from sticking. 

Once plaque hardens into tartar, it can’t be removed at home, so your child’s teeth will still be yellow despite brushing. Tartar has to be eliminated during a professional dental cleaning using special tools. If plaque and tartar are the cause of tooth discoloration, your child’s teeth should be whiter after their cleaning. 

  • Foods and Drinks That Stain Teeth

Highly pigmented foods like blueberries and tomato sauce and beverages, such as soda, energy drinks and fruit juice can stain kids’ teeth, making them look yellow. 

To avoid this, have kids rinse their mouth out with water after eating or drinking anything pigmented and be diligent about brushing. Try to serve pigmented foods in moderation and encourage kids to drink water and milk instead of sugary drinks.

If discoloration has already occurred and you’re wondering how to remove the yellow stains from your child’s teeth, talk to your pediatric dentist. We can generally buff away these surface stains during a cleaning.

Why Are My Child’s Teeth Yellow?

  • Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is another culprit, though only the affected teeth will be discolored. As decay progresses into a cavity, there may be a visible hole or pit in the tooth and brown or black spots. Schedule a visit with your pediatric dentist as soon as possible. The earlier a cavity is treated, the easier, quicker and less expensive treatment will be. 

  • Thin or Weak Enamel 

The enamel starts to form on a child’s baby teeth when they’re in the womb. Enamel formation on permanent teeth begins in infancy and continues through early childhood. When the process is disrupted during either period, it can cause enamel defects, such as enamel hypoplasia. With enamel hypoplasia, the enamel is too thin, which exposes more of the dentin and causes teeth to look yellow.

Which teeth are affected by enamel hypoplasia depends on the cause of the disturbance in enamel formation and the timing, so you may notice your child’s baby teeth coming in yellow or it may only occur on a permanent tooth. Usually, only some of the teeth are affected.

The location and severity will determine whether treatment is needed. If the thin enamel is causing sensitivity or putting your child at risk for tooth decay, we may recommend professional fluoride treatment, dental sealants and other measures. In extreme cases, the affected permanent teeth will need to be covered with dental crowns to protect them when your child is older. 

  • Certain Antibiotics

Yellow baby teeth from antibiotics is pretty rare these days. However, some antibiotics, namely tetracycline, can stain kids’ teeth if the mother takes them while pregnant or the child takes them before the age of 8. The teeth may start by looking yellow and then, eventually, turn brown. This effect is widely known, so most doctors don’t prescribe these types of antibiotics to young children or pregnant women anymore. 

Can I Whiten My Child’s Teeth?

We don’t usually recommend whitening kids’ teeth. Whitening toothpaste can be too abrasive on their developing enamel and over-the-counter whitening treatments can cause sensitivity and irritate their gum tissue. 

As we mentioned above, many times, a child’s permanent teeth coming in yellow is normal and their teeth will brighten in time. For causes like tooth decay, whitening won’t help either. Instead, bring up any concerns with your Naperville pediatric dentist


Book an Appointment With a Naperville Kids’ Dentist

If your child is embarrassed by the color of their teeth or you’re worried that discoloration is a sign of a problem, schedule an appointment for your child at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry in Naperville, IL. We’ll perform an exam and find out what’s causing their teeth to look yellow. We can then create a personalized treatment plan and, if needed, discuss safe ways to brighten your child’s smile.

We also want to remind parents that Illinois law requires kids entering kindergarten, second, sixth and ninth grades in public, private and parochial schools to have a dental exam performed by a licensed dentist. Book your back-to-school check-up to have your forms ready for the new school year!

in the media george

Univision Chicago: Innovative Dental Partners Reminds Parents of Important Back-to-School Law

By In the Media
in the media george

“Children are our most precious resource,” says George Castellanos, spokesman for Innovative Dental Partners in Naperville, who explains that, according to state law, minors who are in kindergarten and those who are in second, sixth or ninth grade must have dental exams prior to the start of the new school year. “Unfortunately, cavities and dental problems are one of the main causes of poor academic performance and absence from classes,” says the expert.

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Innovative Dental Partners Ice Cream Social Social Post

FREE Ice Cream Social

By Events
Innovative Dental Partners Ice Cream Social Social Post

Date: Thursday, July 14, 2022 At 10 AM – 1 PM

In celebration of National Ice Cream Month, cool off with FREE ICE CREAM compliments of Innovative Orthodontic Centers, Innovative Pediatric Dentistry & Naperville Dental Specialists.

Innovative Pediatric Dentistry


By Blog

Updated 7/1/2022

At Innovative Pediatric Dentistry, we are still committed to the safety of our patients and staff. We continue to have advanced protocols to make your visit safe. Please read below for a quick introduction to these steps, and do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.


All patients, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear face coverings per guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the American Dental Association (ADA).


A quick health questionnaire should be completed 24 to 48 hours prior to the in-office appointment.


As always, we will continue our high-level disinfection between patients, hospital grade sterilization of instruments, and appropriate use of personal protective equipment.


Please reschedule your appointment if anyone in your household has been sick in the last 14 days.


Each member of our team has completed additional awareness and prevention programs to enhance their knowledge to provide safe dental care. Each day, we complete health checks for our team with no-touch temperature checks and a quick set of questions.

Thank you for your understanding as we work together to achieve your best smile! As guidance for COVID-19 prevention changes, we’ll keep you updated on what’s happening in the office. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions! We are looking forward to seeing you soon!

Laughing Baby With Mouthguard In Mouth For Bite Alignment. Crooked

Is it Normal for Kids to Grind Their Teeth?

By Blog

Kids to Grind Their Teeth

You made it through a few years of teething and things are smooth sailing until you hear a squeaking, grating noise and realize your child is grinding their teeth. Isn’t teeth grinding only for stressed out adults? No, believe it or not, teeth grinding and clenching can strike at any age. In fact, according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, an estimated 3 out of 10 kids grind their teeth before the age of 5. 

Though the habit is common, is it okay? The team at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry in Naperville will be tackling the subject in this post. 

What is Bruxism?

Repetitive teeth grinding, gnashing and/or clenching is known as bruxism. Awake bruxism happens when a child is awake, while sleep bruxism occurs when your child is sleeping. Sleep bruxism is harder to identify than awake bruxism. This is because most kids don’t know they’re grinding their teeth in sleep, so it might not be until they experience symptoms that you realize anything is going on. 

Why Do Kids Grind Their Teeth?

As for why kids grind their teeth, it depends on your child’s age. In very young kids, teeth grinding is normal and not usually a cause for concern. Toddlers may grind their teeth to combat the discomfort of teething or as a way to explore their mouth. By around age 6, most little ones will stop grinding their teeth on their own. 

Awake bruxism, even in children who are school-aged or older, might not warrant any treatment or cause any issues, though it can be a sign that your child is stressed or anxious. 

But what about sleep bruxism? Why do kids grind their teeth at night? It’s not always possible to pinpoint an exact cause. It seems to run in families, indicating a potential genetic component. Other risk factors for sleep bruxism in kids include:

  • Stress and anxiety 
  • Misaligned teeth
  • Other health conditions, including ADHD and migraines
  • Certain medications
  • Exposure to second-hand smoke
  • Sleep disturbances, such as sleep apnea, snoring and night terrors
  • Allergies (a study found evidence suggesting children with allergies are more likely to grind their teeth at night, perhaps as a way to cope with a middle ear disturbance from congestion)

Should I Be Concerned About My Child’s Teeth Grinding?

As we said, teeth grinding in young kids isn’t usually a concern. Unless it’s resulting in other issues, there’s a good chance they’ll grow out of it. If teeth grinding is habitual and your child doesn’t stop around age 6, or they’re experiencing complications from it, then you’ll want to talk with your Naperville pediatric dentist about it. 

Chronic sleep bruxism in children can be an indication that something else is going on that will require treatment. For example, there might be an issue with the development of your child’s teeth, jaw and facial structure that restricts the airway or is causing misaligned teeth that, in turn, leads to grinding and clenching.  

Signs of Bruxism in Kids

Awake bruxism is easy to spot. You’ll hear and see your child clenching and grinding their teeth. They may do it unconsciously, such as when they’re concentrating really hard or feeling frustrated, or they could be aware of it. 

Sleep bruxism in children is harder to pinpoint. Signs that your child is grinding their teeth at night include:

  • Grinding Noises – You or someone else in your household might hear squeaking, grinding, gnashing or chewing noises while your child is sleeping. If you suspect your kiddo is grinding their teeth, but you’re not sure, you can check on them in the middle of the night or use a baby monitor to confirm it. 
  • Jaw Pain – If your child has a sore jaw in the morning, they’re likely grinding their teeth. The pressure from grinding and clenching puts strain on the jaw and temporomandibular joints (TMJ), potentially leading to pain and clicking and popping noises.
  • Teeth Damage – Aggressive or chronic bruxism can damage the teeth and gums. In extreme cases, you may notice that some of your child’s teeth are wearing down. They might also have receding gums, tooth fractures, chips or cracks on the teeth or damaged fillings.
  • Sensitive Teeth – Tooth sensitivity is also common in kids who grind their teeth. They can have sensitivity or discomfort while chewing or when enjoying hot or cold foods and drinks. 
  • Headaches – When kids grind their teeth at night, that same pressure that causes jaw pain often leads to headaches too. Pain can also radiate to the ear and neck. 

Complications of Teeth Grinding in Kids

Complications of Teeth Grinding in Kids

Teeth grinding in toddlers or preschoolers, as well as mild awake bruxism at any age, is unlikely to cause complications unless it’s really severe. Chronic sleep bruxism, on the other hand, can cause problems, including:

  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Fractured or chipped teeth
  • Receding gums
  • Jaw pain and headaches
  • Damaged dental restorations, such as fillings or pediatric dental crowns
  • TMJ dysfunction
  • Sleep problems 

How to Stop Kids From Grinding Teeth

If your toddler is grinding their teeth, unless you think it’s stress- or anxiety-related, making a concerted effort to get them to stop can often backfire and cause them to do it more frequently as a way to get attention. So, these tips are geared towards children who habitually engage in grinding while sleeping and have symptoms like a sore jaw or headaches:

  • Try to Find the Source – Try to find the source of your child’s teeth grinding. If it’s something obvious like allergies that make breathing out of their nose difficult, managing the allergies will go a long way in helping to stop teeth grinding in their sleep. If you can’t pinpoint the cause, talk with your child. Maybe they’re stressed about a test or being teased at school. Once you have an idea of what’s causing it, you and your child can work on a solution together. 
  • Teach Your Child Ways to Manage Stress – Stress and teeth grinding go hand in hand. If your child is anxious and stressed, help them find ways to manage it. Things like doing kids’ yoga, getting plenty of exercise, talking about concerns, prioritizing school tasks so they’re not overwhelmed and practicing deep breathing can help reduce your child’s stress. If necessary, reach out to a professional for support. 
  • Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine – A bedtime routine can help reduce sleep disturbances, which are tied to teeth grinding in kids, and relieve anxiety and stress by making kids’ feel safe and secure. You may have to experiment with what works for your child, but an example could include, taking a warm bath, brushing and flossing their teeth and then reading a book together. 
  • Set the Stage for Quality Sleep – Sleep hygiene is a term for healthy sleep habits. Having good sleep hygiene will increase your child’s quality of sleep and like that relaxing bedtime routine, minimize sleep disturbances and bruxism. Some good rules of thumb include:
  • Have your child go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.
  • Encourage your little one to only use their bed for sleeping and not other activities like homework or playing on a tablet. This helps their brain associate getting in bed with falling asleep.
  • Create a comfy, cozy room by making sure it’s cool, dark, quiet and has appropriate bedding for the season. 
  • Limit the amount of time spent on electronic devices, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime. 
  • Try to get kids to exercise earlier in the day and eat a nutritious diet. 
  • Talk to Your Pediatric Dentist – If the above tips don’t help and your child is still grinding in their teeth, schedule a visit with your pediatric dentist. 

Bruxism Treatment for Children

If your child is grinding their teeth in sleep and experiencing complications, treatment could be necessary. While it will depend on the cause of your child’s bruxism and other factors, treatment could include:

  • An Oral Device – A custom kids’ mouthguard for grinding teeth, sometimes called a nightguard, fits over your child’s top teeth and cushions against the grinding forces. While a nightguard won’t necessarily stop the behavior, it will prevent the dental issues and jaw pain that can occur. There are boil-and-bite varieties and ones you can order online, however, a custom kids’ mouthguard for teeth grinding created by your dentist will offer the best fit, protection and comfort. 

If your kiddo is having TMJ dysfunction in addition to their teeth grinding, a custom TMJ splint that helps reposition the jaw and prevent friction might be recommended instead. 

  • Orthodontic Treatment – For an older child who grinds their teeth because of misalignment, braces or Invisalign® Teen can help to align the teeth and bite and may improve grinding. 

In younger children, if teeth grinding is related to a problem with their craniofacial development, phase 1 orthodontic treatment could be the better route. This is when an orthodontist uses certain appliances to guide jaw growth while your child is still developing. It can be beneficial for opening the airway and making room for the permanent teeth to come in, which will alleviate future misalignment, sleep-disordered breathing problems and the subsequent teeth grinding. 

If that’s the case, as part of the Innovative Dental Partners family, we’re under the same roof as Innovative Orthodontic Centers. Your Naperville pediatric dentist can coordinate care with the board-certified orthodontists at Innovative Orthodontic Centers to help your child get the most comprehensive care. 

  • Treatment for Other Underlying Causes – When teeth grinding is because of another health condition or an issue like anxiety that’s interfering with your child’s daily life, schedule a visit with their pediatrician. Treating the underlying problem will often help with bruxism.


Looking for the Best Pediatric Dentist in Naperville, IL?

Whether your child is grinding their teeth and you’d like guidance or you’re just in need of a pediatric dentist, Innovative Pediatric Dentistry can help! Our bright, fun practice uses modern technology for safer, more comfortable care. And, we’ve been named best pediatric dentist in Naperville by Naperville Magazine every year since 2008! Schedule your child’s appointment with us today.

Child’s Baby Tooth Won’t Come Out

What Should I Do if My Child’s Baby Tooth Won’t Come Out?

By Blog

child’s tooth is loose but won’t come out.

“My child’s tooth is loose but won’t come out.” “My child’s baby tooth is not falling out or getting loose at all.” These are some of the concerns that parents bring up with our Naperville pediatric dentist. While it can be tempting to take matters into your own hands and try to pull a stubborn baby tooth, that’s not usually the best course of action. 

The team at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry will be sharing some insight when we cover:

  • When do kids start losing teeth?
  • Why would a baby tooth not come out?
  • What to do if a child’s tooth is loose but won’t come out
  • What to do if baby teeth are not falling out at all

When do kids start losing teeth?

The average age for a child to lose their first tooth is between 6 and 7. Kids will continue losing baby teeth until around age 12. That said, these are just averages. Some kids start losing baby teeth a little earlier or later. Usually, this is nothing to worry about. 

However, if a baby tooth falls out before age 5 or no teeth have fallen out after age 7, it is something to bring up with your pediatric dentist. Losing baby teeth prematurely or very late can sometimes result in orthodontic issues. 

Why would a baby tooth not come out?

If a baby tooth won’t come out, it could be because:

  • It’s not ready. If it’s around the time a baby tooth is supposed to fall out but it’s not wiggly yet or your child’s tooth is loose but won’t come out, most often, it means it’s not ready. The underlying permanent tooth pushes against the root of the baby tooth, causing the root to dissolve. When this happens, the tooth loosens and falls out. Sometimes this process can take a little while.
  • Your kiddo is between ages 8 and 10. Once kids start losing baby teeth, it can seem like the Tooth Fairy is visiting every other day. In fact, the average 8 year old will have lost 8 teeth. While the process starts off fast and furious, it slows down between ages 8 and 10. This lull is normal. Around age 10, kids will lose teeth more frequently again. 
  • There isn’t enough room for the permanent tooth because of moderate to severe crowding. The permanent teeth are larger than the primary teeth. If your child’s baby teeth were crowded or they have extra teeth, it can indicate that the situation will get worse as their permanent teeth start to erupt. With moderate to severe crowding, sometimes, there isn’t enough space for the permanent teeth to erupt properly. If they come in sideways or become impacted, they’re not able to push out the baby teeth. 
  • Your child has “shark teeth.” If your child’s baby teeth are not falling out and new teeth are coming in, it can be alarming. But this condition, nicknamed “shark teeth,” because sharks have several rows of teeth, is actually fairly common. It can happen if a permanent tooth pushes through in front of, or more commonly, behind a primary tooth. Since it misses the tooth’s root and doesn’t cause it to dissolve, your child’s baby tooth won’t come out. Instead, they’ll temporarily have two rows of teeth. 
  • Rarely, the permanent tooth below the baby tooth failed to develop. Congenitally missing teeth are rare, but do happen. This is when the permanent tooth that should be underlying the baby tooth doesn’t develop. With no permanent tooth to push it out, the baby tooth can stay in place indefinitely. 

What to do if a child’s tooth is loose but won’t come out

Should you pull a loose baby tooth? No. It’s best to let the tooth fall out naturally. When a child’s tooth is loose but won’t come out, in all likelihood, it’s just not ready. Pulling a baby tooth prematurely can be painful and cause damage. 

Instead, have your child use their tongue to wiggle their baby tooth as much as possible. You can also encourage them to eat things like raw apples and carrots, which will hasten the process along. Eventually, the tooth will detach on its own and fall out. 

If the tooth is extremely loose and after two weeks of wiggling is still refusing to budge, call your pediatric dentist. We can assess the situation and let you know if you should give the tooth more time or if it needs help from the dentist. If the tooth does need to be removed, our pediatric dentist can do it quickly, painlessly and safely. 

What to do if the baby teeth are not falling out at all

What to do if the baby teeth are not falling out at all

What happens if the baby teeth don’t fall out? It depends. Often, given time, the teeth will eventually shed. Even in the case of those shark teeth we talked about, after the permanent tooth comes in behind the baby tooth, the baby tooth will still usually fall out on its own; it just may take longer. 

If a child’s baby teeth are not falling out and we don’t see any visible reason why, our pediatric dentist might take digital x-rays. An x-ray can show us if tooth loss is delayed by severe crowding, a missing permanent tooth or extra teeth blocking the eruption of permanent teeth. This will let us determine if it’s necessary to extract the baby tooth. 

Another important thing to note is that one of the reasons it’s recommended that kids have their first orthodontic evaluation by age 7 is because the orthodontist will evaluate their growth and development and identify issues with the loss or eruption of teeth. 

Some kids can benefit from early orthodontic treatment to guide jaw growth and alleviate crowding. This may help the permanent teeth come in properly, which will also ensure the baby teeth fall out. The good news is, Innovative Orthodontic Centers is under the same roof as our pediatric dental practice. We can easily and conveniently coordinate your child’s care to help their smile take shape.


Contact our Naperville Kids’ Dentist

If you’re concerned that your child’s baby tooth won’t come out, schedule a visit at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry in Naperville. Our friendly team and dentist will perform a comprehensive exam and offer personalized guidance to keep your child’s dental development on track.