Browse by Page
Connect on Social Media
27 May 2023
May 27, 2023 by David CaseBlogDental HealthPatient Care

The Smoking Gun: Tobacco & Oral Health

They say not everything natural is good for you. Nature has many poisons that humans have experimented with and learned the hard way to avoid. Tobacco is a popular plant that we’ve learned can really do a number on your health. Using tobacco is a personal and communal practice that can be really hard to avoid, even if you know it’s bad for you. Working with your doctor and Portland dentist Dr. Case at Family Dental Health will be essential if you’re concerned about your health and want to stop using tobacco. 

What Is Tobacco?

Tobacco is a green, leafy plant that has long been grown, dried, and used by cultures around the world. It’s usually smoked but is sometimes chewed or inhaled. Tobacco is known to affect the way people think, feel, and behave by interrupting the brain’s normal communication with the rest of the body. The tobacco plant contains the addictive stimulant nicotine, which is why a smoking habit is so hard to break. Cigarettes contain 2,000 ingredients known to be toxic and harmful to the human body.

Effects of Tobacco on Oral Health

There’s nothing good to be said about tobacco use. More than 20 million people have died directly because of tobacco (either personal use or secondhand) since the Surgeon General first put out the warning against it in 1964.

It’s especially bad for your heart and lungs. Since all forms of using tobacco first enter through your mouth, you can imagine it also really takes a toll on your oral health. Using tobacco has immediate and long-term consequences for your mouth and body.  Using tobacco causes:

  • Bad breath
  • Stained teeth
  • Increased plaque
  • Increased risk of gum disease
  • Decreased ability to taste
  • Slow healing
  • Drastically increased risk of oral cancer

Oral Health & Overall Wellness

It’s hard (impossible, actually) to be completely healthy if your mouth isn’t healthy. Your oral health affects your overall health in many ways and vice versa—the two go hand in hand. Quitting tobacco completely is the only way to avoid the negative side effects associated with smoking, chewing, and snuffing.

If you want to take better care of yourself and quit using tobacco, your dentist can be a helpful and supportive partner on the journey. Everyone deserves a life that makes them smile and a smile they are proud to show off. If you’re concerned about your tobacco use, you should come to see us for an oral cancer screening at your earliest convenience.

Make an appointment at Family Dental Health today and let us help you make positive changes in your life and smile!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 May 2023
May 13, 2023 by David CaseBlogDental Health

4 Ways to Prevent Tooth Decay in Children

As a parent, you only want what’s best for your little one. Whether you’re a new mom navigating the waters of caring for your firstborn, or a seasoned pro ready to start your own family softball team (sorry neighbor kids, all positions are filled), preventing tooth decay in kids is never an easy feat. 

Because tiny hands and mouths don’t yet have the knowledge or the dexterity to properly care for their teeth, tooth decay is a common occurrence, and it’s largely up to you to help establish healthy habits and keep tooth decay at bay.

Read on to learn the four simplest ways to help prevent tooth decay so your kids can have a head start on a healthy, happy smile for life.

  • A Healthy Oral Hygiene Routine

Like, duh! (Do kids still say duh?) Anyway, obviously oral hygiene is one of the most important ways to prevent tooth decay, but implementing it is easier said than done! The easiest way to establish a routine that will stick is to lead by example and start early. These early years are formative, and their brains are like sponges, absorbing everything around them and forming habits and attitudes they will carry with them for life. 

  • You should wash your baby’s gums after feeding with a warm washcloth, even before their teeth start to come in. 
  • Once their first tooth emerges, you should begin brushing with a baby-sized toothbrush and water. Brush their teeth and gums gently in small circular motions, even where no teeth have emerged yet to stimulate blood blow and get them used to the feeling of brushing.
  • Begin flossing as soon as two or more teeth start to touch. Curve the floss gently in a c-shape around the teeth and under the gums and use a new section of floss between each tooth.
  • Begin using fluoridated toothpaste around age 2-3, when they are able to spit the paste out.
  • Brush for them until they are able to do so effectively themselves, which is typically around age 6 when they are able to tie their own shoes and head off to school. Continue supervising until you’re confident in their big-kid brushing and flossing skills.
  • A healthy hygiene routine includes brushing at least twice per day, before breakfast and before bed, and flossing once daily at either time. 
  • Rinsing with water after eating, before brushing, and periodically throughout the day is a great way to reduce plaque, acidity, and enamel damage.
  • Limited Sugar Intake

Nowadays, sugar is in just about everything we eat and drink, so it’s more important than ever to pay attention to what you and your kids are consuming regularly. Not only do tooth-decay bugs feed on sugar, but other diseases (including cancers) thrive on it as well, so it’s best to limit sugar as much as possible if your goal is healthy smiles and healthy bodies. 

  • Only allow water in the baby bottle. Anything else including breast milk, formula, or juice is chock-full of sugar, and if they’re sipping it from a bottle all day or night, they will almost certainly develop baby-bottle tooth decay.
  • Make juice a “sometimes treat” for special occasions or as a reward for good behavior. Juice, soda, sports drinks, or other sugary beverages should not be their primary form of hydration. Water should always come first and foremost. 
  • Choose healthy, natural, unprocessed snacks like fruits, vegetables, berries, cheese, crackers, yogurt, and nuts or trail mix. Avoid sugary snacks and candy as much as possible, and save them for special occasions. The more sugar they have early-on the more they will become addicted to it and crave it on a regular basis.
  • Fluoride

Fluoride is one of our greatest weapons against childhood tooth decay, which is why most cities and towns in the US and Canada have fluoridated public water supplies. It’s also why most mouth rinses and toothpaste contain fluoride, and most dentists provide fluoride treatments for kids. Fluoride is highly effective for preventing tooth decay in children because when teeth are growing, it combines with tooth enamel to form stronger, decay-resistant teeth that are better at fighting off sugar, plaque, and acid.

  • Is Portland’s water supply fluoridated? You can find out by contacting your community’s water provider.
  • Start using fluoridated toothpaste for your kiddo around age 3.
  • If they’re still getting cavities, talk to Family Dental Health. We can provide regular fluoride treatments and recommend a fluoridated mouth rinse for an added boost.
  • If Portland’s water is not fluoridated or it’s simply not enough to keep the cavity bugs away, we can also recommend fluoride supplements.

A healthy diet, a solid oral hygiene routine, and plenty of fluoride are all great starts, but oral health is complex and you’ll want a team of well-educated professionals in your corner. Everyone should see the dentist regularly—twice every year or once every six months—but especially kiddos! They are the most susceptible to tooth decay, so you should bring them in to see us often for regular exams and cleanings. Only we have the technology and the tools necessary to remove tartar buildup and detect disease and decay before it becomes serious.

  • Stay on schedule with your regular check-ups, cleanings, and exams. When the appointment is over, go ahead and schedule the next one.
  • Ask Family Dental Health plenty of questions. “Why are they still getting cavities?” “What’s that dark spot on the x-ray?” “What can we do better?” The more educated you are about your child’s oral health, the more equipped you will be to help keep tooth decay away.

While cavities in kids are very common and usually don’t cause too many problems if they’re filled promptly, untreated tooth decay can be a serious issue for a child’s growth and development. Not only can cavities be very painful for kiddos, but they can also lead to poor performance in school, missed school days, and even behavioral and developmental issues. Not to mention, baby teeth set the stage for adult teeth to grow in properly, so it’s important to keep baby teeth healthy and decay-free to set them up for oral health and confidence later in life.

If you follow our advice, you’ll be on the right path to preventing tooth decay and promoting oral health for your child. If you have any further questions or would like to schedule an appointment with your Portland dentist, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health, contact us today!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Apr 2023
April 27, 2023 by David CaseBlogDental HealthPatient Care

Why Are My Baby’s Teeth Stained?

As brand-new humans, it seems logical that babies and children would have gleaming white teeth to go along with their bright eyes and soft skin. Baby teeth—also called primary teeth—generally do appear whiter than adult permanent teeth because they are more calcified. However,  it is not uncommon for a child’s teeth to appear less than luminous for any number of reasons. Your Portland dental team at Family Dental Health would like to share some causes and possible solutions for yellow, brown, and black stains on kids’ teeth.

What Causes Stained Baby Teeth?

  • Poor Oral Hygiene – If baby teeth aren’t brushed and flossed thoroughly, bacteria may form and become plaque, which hardens into tartar and can lead to discoloration. Practice thorough oral hygiene for the healthiest, whitest smile.
  • Medication – If babies are given nutritional supplements containing iron, their teeth can become dark and discolored. If their mothers take tetracycline while pregnant or breastfeeding, babies can develop black stains on their teeth.
  • Injury – A single blackened tooth can be the result of dental trauma that caused bleeding inside the tooth.
  • Weak Enamel – Inadequate enamel formation can be hereditary and lead to baby teeth that appear a dull gray color.
  • Excessive Fluoride Fluorosis is a condition caused by the consumption of too much fluoride when teeth are forming but prior to appearance in the mouth, which takes place before kids are eight years old. To avoid fluorosis, keep an eye on your child’s oral hygiene habits and remind them not to swallow toothpaste or mouthwash. Fluorosis can also be caused by mixing infant formula powder or liquid with fluoridated water if these types of formula are your baby’s main food source. Fluorosis can range in severity from mild, barely visible markings to pitting and black or brown spots in more severe cases.
  • Illness – Some kids’ baby teeth develop with a greenish or yellowish tint if they are born with a condition called hyperbilirubinemia, which means there is too much bilirubin in the blood.
  • Foods & Beverages – This list of staining culprits wouldn’t be complete without some common staining foods and beverages. Thankfully (hopefully), kids don’t need to worry much about tea, coffee, or red wine, which are some of the biggest factors for adults, but any dark-colored foods and drinks like berries or fruit juice will stain their teeth. Even light-colored foods like apples and potatoes go through a process of oxidation that can cause teeth staining. Who knew!?

How Can Stained Baby Teeth Be Prevented or Treated?

If discoloration is caused by poor dental hygiene, brushing more thoroughly should help. Until your child learns to spit at around age three, don’t use more than a rice-sized smear of fluoride toothpaste on their toothbrush.

To decrease bad bacteria in your child’s mouth, avoid putting soft drinks, juice, formula, or other sugary concoctions in their bottle—only allow them a bottle filled with water. If your child uses a pacifier, never dip it in sugar or honey, and try to avoid sharing utensils with your child as this can transfer bacteria from your mouth to theirs (and vice versa!) and increase the likelihood of cavity formation.

Depending on your child’s unique dental situation, Family Dental Health may watch their teeth for signs of other problems or recommend future procedures like teeth whitening or bonding. Some kids are more sensitive to stained teeth than others due to their natural oral pH level.

If you are concerned about stains on your child’s teeth, contact your Portland dentist, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health today. We’d love to help!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.


13 Apr 2023
April 13, 2023 by David CaseBlogPatient Care

Oral Piercings: Not Cool for Teeth

Remember that guy with the lip ring you had a crush on in high school? I wonder how his teeth are doing now. Don’t get us wrong—at Family Dental Health, we’re all about the freedom of self-expression, and if body modifications like tattoos and piercings are your thing, we support you. However, as your dental health professionals, we strongly advise against oral piercings specifically because they can be really harmful to your teeth—and we want you to keep your teeth healthy, so you can continue to express yourself with your beautiful smile.

Oral piercings refer to any piercing in or around the mouth. In the old days, the only options were the more traditional tongue or lip piercings, but today there are more options than you can shake a stick at. If it’s in your mouth, you better believe someone has pierced it. From the tongue web piercing to the vampire or upper frenulum piercing, to the gum piercing, venom bites, snake eyes, smiley piercing, frown piercing, and even the uvula piercing—yes, apparently you can pierce your uvula. There’s even a “dental piercing” which is not necessarily a drilled hole, but jewelry that is embedded onto the tooth surface. But of course, we don’t recommend any of these, so don’t get any ideas!

Family Dental Health is here to share some reasons oral piercings are not cool for teeth.


If you’ve ever had your ears or anything else pierced, you understand the risk of infection and the importance of keeping your new piercing clean. However, oral piercings have a much higher rate of infection because of their location in or around the mouth. The mouth is home to millions of bacteria (some are good, others are extremely dangerous) that have the potential to enter the piercing site and cause infection. 

According to the American Dental Association, secondary infections can result in serious illness including blood-borne hepatitis, angina, and herpes. With oral piercings, there is always a risk of infection, but particularly in the few weeks following the initial piercing. Signs of infection include swelling, pain, fever, chills, shaking, or a red-streaked appearance around the piercing. Contact us right away if you notice signs of infection.

Tooth & Gum Damage

One of the most common dental problems associated with oral piercings is tooth and gum damage. It’s easy enough to damage your teeth and gums already, whether from chewing ice or brushing your teeth too hard. Add a piece of metal jewelry into the equation and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Oral piercings can irritate the gum tissue, and cause enamel damage in the form of cracks, chips, scratches, and tooth sensitivity. 

If you’ve had any dental work done—including fillings or crowns—oral piercings can damage these as well, so if you don’t want to spend more money and time in the dental chair having your dental work repaired, we recommend choosing a non-oral piercing—if you’ve really got the urge to pierce something.

Nerve Damage

Following a tongue piercing, it’s not uncommon to experience numbness due to nerve damage; this is usually temporary, but can sometimes be permanent. Nerve damage can affect your sense of taste, as well as the movement and function of your mouth. Tongue piercings have also been known to damage the tongue’s blood vessels, which can cause serious blood loss.

Other Hazards

Allergic reactions are always possible with piercings. Some folks are allergic to certain types of metals, and some are just hypersensitive to certain metals. Tongue piercings can create increased saliva production, which can cause excessive drooling and can also affect your speech patterns causing a lisp. Not as appealing as you thought it was going to be, eh? Finally, oral piercings can be a problem when it comes to dental care because they interfere with x-rays and prevent us from seeing the full picture of your mouth.

Our Advice

If you already have an oral piercing, we do recommend removing it, but we understand if it’s become a staple of your signature look. If you’re keeping or still considering getting an oral piercing after reading this article, at least read our advice on how to care for it and avoid or minimize dental problems.

  • Choose a jewelry style that works well with the location in your mouth.
  • Gauge your jewelry accordingly. Longer or bigger jewelry may be necessary at first due to swelling, but once the swelling goes down the jewelry should be swapped or adjusted to fit.
  • If you choose metal jewelry, make sure you’re aware of any sensitivities you may have and make sure the jewelry conforms to surgical implant grade standards.
  • Use polymer balls to reduce the risk of damage, and select a smaller ball for the underside of the tongue to reduce contact with this soft tissue area.
  • Keep the piercing clean and free of debris by brushing and flossing diligently and rinsing with mouthwash after every meal—contrary to what you might believe, alcohol-free is a better option because alcohol is drying, and a dry mouth is more susceptible to infection.
  • Avoid playing with your jewelry or moving it around in your mouth, including chewing on it or clicking it around against your teeth. Be gentle and aware of how the jewelry moves when you speak and eat.
  • Check the tightness of your jewelry (with clean hands) regularly to ensure it’s secure so you don’t swallow or choke on it.
  • If you participate in sports, you may want to remove your jewelry while playing, and you should always wear a mouthguard.
  • Maintain your diligent oral hygiene routine and see us at Family Dental Health regularly so we can catch any small problems before they progress.

We hope this article has made you think twice about oral piercings. There are plenty of other places to pierce, after all, and plenty of other ways to express yourself that don’t involve permanently damaging your mouth. If you already have an oral piercing or are considering getting one, we hope you’ll follow our advice on how to best minimize the damage. 

If you have any more questions about oral piercings or anything else related to oral health, we would love to speak with you. Contact your Portland dentist, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health today!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Mar 2023
March 27, 2023 by David CaseBlogDental HealthDental Services

How to Choose the Right Pediatric Dentist for Your Child

Being the parent of a little one (or a couple or a few) means making a lot of decisions each day—what to dress them in, what to feed them, what books to read, toys to purchase, schools in your district. There are also a lot of questions you’ll ask, such as: “How do I care for my child’s oral health? How do I help them through teething? When is fluoride toothpaste safe for them to use?” 

It can feel a little overwhelming to think about, but Dr. David Case of Family Dental Health wants you to take a deep breath, sit back, and read on to learn about how to choose a pediatric dentist that can answer these questions and more. We’re pleased to provide supportive care and education that teaches Portland children the importance of oral health and good habits that will keep their smiles happy and healthy for life.

1 Tooth, 2 Teeth, Red Tongue, Blue Toothpaste

Did you know Dr. Seuss was a dentist? We joke (but first a little bit of trivia: the beloved writer and illustrator wasn’t actually a doctor at all but wrote under the pen name Dr. Seuss because his father wanted him to practice medicine), but this is to emphasize how we like to make the dental world a fun, creative, exploratory, and yes, sometimes silly place for children to visit. That’s one difference you might find between a pediatric dentist and a general dentist. Other differences include:

  • Pediatric dentists study for an additional 2-3 years after obtaining their DDS or DMD (Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Dental Medicine).
  • Pediatric dentists treat children from infancy through adolescence.
  • A pediatric dental office will be completely geared toward making children feel safe and comfortable. 
  • Besides a warm, friendly atmosphere, even the equipment and tools will be child-sized.

Olly Olly Oxen Free

Finding the right pediatric dentist for your child doesn’t have to be a tricky game of hide-and-seek. The AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentists) has a search tool that can help you narrow your selection based on your location. We also suggest:

  • Asking family and friends for their recommendations and experiences.
  • Asking your family doctor or pediatrician for a referral.
  • Searching local websites or print publications in your area.
  • Keeping in mind that if you don’t feel like you’ve found a good fit for your little one(s), you’re not obligated to return. You and your family deserve quality care you can trust.

If you do end up searching around, one thing that should remain constant in any pediatric dental office is an emphasis on education and prevention. At Family Dental Health, we employ digital x-rays that reduce radiation exposure and can be taken from the comfort of the dental chair. The images will help us confirm your child’s mouth is developing properly. If it isn’t, we can get them back on track with fluoride treatments and sealants, and we can provide gentle cleanings and fillings if any of their teeth suffer decay.

Go Forth & Conquer

The team at Family Dental Health believes in you. Even if it takes some time for you to find the right dental family in Portland, you have the power to set a positive example by conducting a diligent oral hygiene routine

While our role includes making oral health education fun and protecting those baby teeth that will set the stage for their adult teeth, you know your child best and spend the most time with them. You’ll know their favorite stories and cartoon characters and can use those details to motivate them. If they’re into Pokémon, they won’t be able to catch them all if they’re spending a lot of time at the dentist getting cavities filled, so let’s fight those double-trouble decay-causing bugs by brushing our teeth, gums, and tongue at least twice a day!

If you have additional questions or are contemplating making Family Dental Health your child’s dental home, please contact us today! Family Dental Health would be happy to smile with you and your family!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Mar 2023
March 13, 2023 by David CaseBlogDental HealthPatient Care

Why Haven’t My Child’s Permanent Teeth Come In?

If your child’s permanent adult teeth haven’t emerged in a timely manner, you may wonder if there is a reason to worry. Family Dental Health would like to share a few possible reasons permanent adult teeth can be delayed

Is There Enough Space for the New Teeth to Grow?

The most common reason for permanent teeth to appear late a simple one: there is just not enough space for them. Adult teeth tend to be larger than the primary baby teeth they replace, and at times, a surrounding tooth (or teeth) may require removal to create extra space. Occasionally, braces also become necessary to facilitate this process.

Are Permanent Teeth Facing the Right Direction?

Sometimes permanent teeth come through the gums facing the wrong way. This is most common with upper canines and bicuspids. The primary teeth around the affected area may require removal to allow repositioning of teeth that are out of place, and braces are usually required for a permanent solution. 


There are wide variations in every aspect of human development, and the rate that teeth grow is no exception. Girls tend to experience puberty changes before boys do, and studies also show that girls begin losing primary teeth up to six months earlier than boys lose theirs. If your firstborn was a girl and your second child was a boy, keep this in mind if you start comparing the rates their teeth develop!


In 80% of cases, kids are going to take after one (or both) biological parents when it comes to their teeth—so if you needed braces or your spouse’s teeth came in late, this could happen to your child, too. 

There are also congenital conditions present at birth that can cause teeth to be missing. Hypodontia is when six or fewer permanent teeth are absent, and is associated with Down’s syndrome, cleft lip, and cleft palate. 

Having more than six permanent teeth missing is a condition called oligodontia. If a child is missing multiple adult teeth, consulting with their pediatrician to rule out medical conditions affecting the entire body is a good idea.

Since each tooth serves an important purpose in the mouth, when one or more teeth are missing, it can impede the function of the overall mouth structure. Dental implants are the most commonly recommended solution for a missing permanent tooth; bridges can also be an option in certain cases. Orthodontics may also be necessary to reposition any teeth that have shifted into the wrong spot to compensate for the absent ones. 


Calcium and other minerals give permanent teeth the strength to push through the gums. If your child is a picky eater, you know that feeding them can be challenging—and what they eat or don’t eat can also affect the development of adult teeth. If essential nutritional components are lacking, dental delays can occur—so you may want to consider dietary changes or supplements to make sure they’re getting the essential nutrients they need.

Height & Weight

Children that are heavier and taller typically develop their adult teeth before children that are shorter or have more slender body types. Heavier children, particularly girls, also tend to go through puberty at a younger age, so this goes along with the correlation between gender and earlier appearance of permanent teeth as well.

Impacted Teeth

If your child lost a baby tooth prematurely—for example, due to injury—the permanent teeth in their mouth may not have room to erupt. A small jaw can also complicate things. These situations can cause impacted teeth, which are teeth trapped in the jawbone that either only partially erupt or fail to emerge at all. 

Impacted molars are the most common, but other teeth may also become impacted. If children with missing teeth complain of jaw pain, infected or swollen gums, bad breath or recurring headaches, impacted teeth may be the problem. Extraction or oral surgery are possible solutions.

Missing Teeth that Never Develop

If wisdom teeth come in—and most do by the time a person turns 21—the adult mouth should, in theory, have 32 teeth. If all four wisdom teeth were extracted and no other teeth have been lost, the tally is reduced to 28. However, about 20% of the population has one or more wisdom teeth that just never showed up. Lucky for them!

Failure to Launch

If there is enough space in the jaw and the teeth are present in the gums but have not erupted, your child may have a rare condition called “primary failure of eruption”. It sounds dire, but the definition is “adult teeth that failed to erupt on their own.” 

The solution to this condition is typically a combination of oral surgery and braces to “save” the teeth in the jaw and prevent additional complications with neighboring ones. Because multiple teeth are usually involved, correction can take many treatments and several years. Family Dental Health will outline a detailed treatment plan to make each step of the process easier to understand.

If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s permanent teeth coming in, we would be happy to speak with you. Contact Family Dental Health today!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Feb 2023
February 27, 2023 by David CaseBlogDental HealthDental Services

What’s a Pulpotomy? Pain Relief for Tiny Teeth

The pulp is found in the center of each tooth and consists of tissue, nerves, and blood vessels, which work together to provide oxygen and nutrients that keep them healthy and strong. If one or more teeth suffer a traumatic injury or decay, the pulp can become inflamed or infected. When this happens in a child’s primary or baby tooth, your dentist Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health may recommend a pulpotomy

A pulpotomy–also referred to as pulp therapy or a “baby root canal”–is performed to prevent further infection and early tooth loss. The procedure entails applying a topical anesthetic to numb the area before creating a small opening in the tooth, removing the infected, inflamed pulp, then sealing the chamber with a medicated filling that will prevent bacteria growth and allow a crown (stainless steel, porcelain, or white zirconia are the most common materials to choose from) to be fitted in place to restore the tooth.  

Why Save a Baby Tooth?

When infection strikes a tooth in your little one’s mouth, you might think: “It’s a baby tooth, why not just remove it or let it fall out?” We wish we could tell you it’s that simple, but baby teeth have an important job. Losing them before they’re due to exit can cause permanent teeth to shift and erupt out of proper alignment, not to mention the increased difficulty for them to chew and speak naturally.

Protecting and restoring your child’s baby teeth can save their oral health and self-confidence. While pulpotomies may sound serious and scary, often they’re a source of relief because the inflammation and infection inside the pulp are incredibly painful. Acting fast can prevent increasing pain and the need for a pulpectomy, which is a removal of the diseased pulp from both the crown and the root. It can also make the difference between whether the tooth becomes abscessed—if the infection reaches this level, the tooth needs to be saved or face extraction.

What to Watch For

You should contact Family Dental Health as soon as possible if your child experiences any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe toothache, especially when chewing or applying pressure
  • Extreme sensitivity to hot or cold food and beverage temperatures
  • Tooth discoloration (darkening)
  • Swelling of gums
  • Small, persistent or recurring bumps on gums

Infection Prevention

At Family Dental Health, we think the best treatment is no treatment. That means we emphasize prevention, which is largely reliant on education, healthy lifestyles, and strong oral hygiene routines. We want learning about the mouth to be fun, and for your little one’s smile to stay healthy and bright for life. 

We offer thorough exams, gentle cleanings, and dental sealants to help ward off infection-causing bugs. Contact us today to schedule a visit!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Feb 2023
February 13, 2023 by David CaseBlogDental Technology

Xylitol: Is it Safe for Kids?

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a naturally-occurring substance found in the birch tree and in many fruits and vegetables. Its chemical structure resembles a cross between sugar and alcohol—but it is neither. Xylitol is used as an FDA-approved artificial sweetener that can also assist in the prevention of tooth decay, so Family Dental Health would like to share some information about xylitol’s safety for children.

How is Xylitol Used?

Because bacteria in the mouth cannot use xylitol as an energy source, oral care products like toothpaste and mouthwash often contain xylitol to help alleviate dry mouth symptoms and prevent tooth decay. When extracted from birch wood, xylitol can be used as an active ingredient in other medicines as well. Its capability to eliminate or reduce the effects of bad bacteria extends to those that cause ear infections in young children.

How Does Xylitol Work?

Xylitol tastes sweet like sugar but contains fewer calories and is absorbed more slowly by the body, reducing the likelihood of dramatic blood sugar spikes. These characteristics make xylitol an ideal sugar substitute for diabetics. Unlike other artificial sweeteners and sucrose (actual sugar), xylitol reduces the bacteria that cause tooth decay in the saliva. 

Is Xylitol Safe for Children?

The unaltered natural xylitol present in fruit and vegetables should be safe for kids, barring allergies or a major produce binge. Cavity prevention medicines containing xylitol used in pediatric dentistry typically range from 7 to 15 grams per day (divided into three to five doses). More than 20 total grams of xylitol per day is not recommended for children. 

Like other artificial sweeteners, exceeding the recommended intake of xylitol can cause pronounced physical discomfort, including diarrhea and intestinal gas. Because children’s medicines containing xylitol may taste as good as regular candy, parents need to be careful that kids don’t eat more than the recommended amount!

Non-Medical Products that May Contain Xylitol

If you buy sugar-free items a lot, it’s good to be aware of which items in your kitchen, fridge, or pantry may contain xylitol:

  • Packaged goods (ice cream, yogurt, gelatin, pudding)
  • Packaged mixes (pudding, gelatin, baking mixes)
  • Flavored bottled water
  • Powdered drink mixes
  • Candies, chewing gum, and mints (keep an eye on your purse!)
  • Jams and jellies
  • Syrup and honey
  • Protein bars and powders
  • Peanut and other nut butters
  • Vitamins and supplements (especially gummies)
  • Liquid shots for energy, sleep, etc.

Keep the Xylitol Away from Your Pets

Xylitol in any amount can be toxic to dogs and cats. If you have reason to believe your pet has swallowed anything containing xylitol—especially if it also contains chocolate—take them to the vet immediately.

Xylitol in the proper doses can be very useful and safe to promote better oral health for both adults and kids. If you have any questions about xylitol, its uses and its safety, contact us at Family Dental Health today!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Jan 2023
January 27, 2023 by David CaseBlogDental TechnologyPatient Care

What to Expect: Your Child’s First Visit to the Orthodontist

If you had to undergo orthodontic treatment as a child or teen, hearing it recommended for your little one might make you wince—we understand! However, we’d like to assure you that just like general dentistry and treatments today, orthodontic care has improved in hopscotch-style leaps and bounds! 

Thanks to advances in technology and early intervention, Family Dental Health can focus on building your child’s comfort in our care, and confidence in their smile! Read on to learn about what you can expect during your child’s first visit to the orthodontist, and feel free to contact Family Dental Health with any questions! 

Getting Acquainted

We enjoy getting to know everyone who sits in our chair, and we want you and your child to trust that you’re in safe, qualified, and caring hands. We’re here to answer questions in ways that make sense and take any fear out of treatment. Your child will get an opportunity to meet the Family Dental Health team and tour the office before we settle in for some radiography (x-rays) and digital photography to get a clear picture of what’s going on internally and externally. 

Oral Health Exploration

Once we have a chance to look over the images and share them with you both, we’ll move to the next phase of examination. Gathering the physical clues is imperative, but there are certain signs to be aware of that will make diagnosis and treatment more individualized and effective. We will want to know if your child displays any of the following habits:

If there is an issue to address and intervention is desired to prevent complications at a later stage, we can create a fully customized treatment plan. We will go over options with you and weigh the pros and cons, and we absolutely want the input of your child or teen—it’s their mouth, after all! 

Game Plan

Once a treatment method has been chosen, you and your child will be given an estimated timeline as well as an estimate of the cost. Our staff will review your insurance benefits and work to maximize them when applicable—either way, we can discuss financing options and payment plans to suit your needs. We want everyone to be able to get the care they need and deserve without breaking the bank.

We’ll get to visit with your child as often as every 4 weeks, or as few as every 10 weeks depending on their appliances and progress. However, it’s very common for people to have questions or concerns between appointments, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us as they pop up. We’re here to help teach you both how to care for the hardware and maintain proper dental hygiene throughout treatment. 

Once they have completed their treatment, we’ll be able to congratulate them, celebrate their healthy, beautiful new smile, and prescribe a retention appliance when necessary—achieving that smile was a process, and we want to ensure they hold onto it for a lifetime! 

If you’re curious about pediatric orthodontics in Portland or would like to schedule an appointment, contact us today!


The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Jan 2023
January 13, 2023 by David CaseBlogDental ServicesDental Technology

What a Great Smile! Dental Bonding for Kids

Dental bonding is a versatile cosmetic and restorative dental procedure that can be performed on patients of all ages. It can repair damage, fill gaps, and improve the look and structure of teeth. Family Dental Health wants all our patients to enjoy healthy, confident smiles, and if your child faces problems with chipped, misshapen or gapped teeth, your Portland dentist may recommend bonding treatment.

What is the Bonding Procedure?

Dental bonding is a treatment where a tooth-colored material is applied directly to the teeth—a composite resin or modifiable ceramic—that restores, rejuvenates, and improves teeth in appearance and function. This minimally invasive same-day dental solution is performed in-office, and rarely requires anesthesia unless it is being used to correct decay.

To assist the bonding composite in adhering to the tooth, Family Dental Health roughens the tooth surface and applies a conditioning liquid. Since bonding requires little preparation, the maximum amount of existing tooth structure can be preserved, and the composite resin strengthens and fuses itself to a child’s natural tooth. Tooth-colored resin with a putty-like consistency is color-matched, applied, molded, and smoothed to the desired shape. 

Once this has been achieved, an ultraviolet (UV) light or laser is used to harden the material. Once the bond has hardened, it is trimmed, shaped, and polished to match the rest of the tooth’s natural sheen. The overall bonding process averages 30-60 minutes per tooth.

Is Bonding a Good Solution for My Child?

Every child’s dental situation is different. If bonding is being considered purely for aesthetic purposes, you may want to consider factors like how long your child can comfortably sit still and whether the affected tooth will fall out on its own soon. Bonding is often used for pediatric patients in the following situations:

  • To repair decayed, chipped, cracked, or broken teeth
  • To improve the appearance of teeth – close a gap, fix alignment, make tooth shape more uniform
  • To fill in the tooth root area that has been exposed by receding gums
  • As an alternative to amalgam fillings (depending on location in the mouth and extent of decay)

How Should Bonded Teeth Be Cared For?

Bonded teeth look, feel, and function like natural teeth and should be cared for with a sound oral hygiene routine. Beverages like soda, dark-colored juices, and sports drinks should be avoided whenever possible to prevent staining, and we recommend a custom-fitted mouthguard be used during your child’s active pursuits to prevent damage and injury. 

Eating ice, biting nails, or chewing pencils and pens chips away at bonding material (and natural teeth!), so if your child has these habits, they should work on curbing them to get the best results from bonding. If your child observes that their bonded tooth suddenly feels “different” or “funny”, ask for details—they could have chipped the bond, in which case you should call us as soon as possible!

Will Future Dental Restoration Be Needed?

The answer is: most likely. Dental bonding material isn’t as strong as tooth enamel, but usually lasts several years (about a decade) before it needs repair or renewal. Bonding resin on teeth shows wear over time and can become stained or appear dull with age. Once a child finishes growing, a more permanent restorative procedure like a crown or veneers may be advised.

In Summary: Bonding Pros & Cons


  • Takes an hour or less to apply 
  • Less expensive alternative to fillings or other restorations
  • Looks natural – bonding solution is matched to natural teeth
  • Minimally invasive
  • Rarely requires anesthesia 
  • Does not reduce natural tooth structure


  • Can stain or dull over time
  • Easier to break or chip than other restorations
  • Will likely require repair or restoration in the future

No one should be able to tell your child has had dental work done—but expect lots of compliments on their bright smile! Contact us today if you have questions or would like to learn more about dental bonding for kids. Your Portland dentist, Dr. Case at Family Dental Health looks forward to helping your little one feel confident in their smile.


The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.


Go to the Top of the Page