Common Concerns

Canker Sores

Canker sores are round sores in the mouth that are white or yellow in color with a red edge or border. They cause a tingling or burning sensation prior to their appearance. They are usually found on the tongue or cheek (on moveable tissue) and not right next to the teeth. Canker sores are caused by stress or tissue injury. For 2 weeks avoid citrus, acidic, or salty foods, such as: lemons, oranges, pineapple, strawberries, tomato based foods, potato chips, candy, and pop. Keep the adjacent teeth clean and try eating bland foods. Ask your pediatric dentist if a topical steroid called Lidex might be appropriate.

Cold Sores

Cold sores are sores found on the exterior of your mouth on the lips or along the gum line of the teeth. They often start out as small blisters and then turn into patches and scab over. They are caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus II. They are contagious when sharing cups, utensils, or from kissing. Most improve after 2 weeks and are treated with over the counter products like Denavir or Zovirax. Sometimes a systemic antiviral medicine can be recommended.

Lip, tongue and/or cheek biting—following local anesthetic

If your child had dental treatment and bit his/her lip, cheek, or tongue, it may look like a yellow strawberry for 3-5 days. It is not an infection or an allergic reaction. This is tissue regenerating. It takes 10-14 days for healthy tissue to grow. It is important to keep the area clean and avoid salty and acidic foods and beverages. Eat bland foods and dairy products. If necessary take Ibuprofen or Tylenol. Chew cautiously when eating.

Teeth Grinding

Parents are often concerned about the nocturnal grinding of teeth (bruxism). The first indication is the noise created by the child grinding on his/her teeth during sleep. Parents may also notice wear on the teeth or the teeth getting shorter. Different stresses, teeth eruption, and growth can cause the child to grind his/her teeth. The good news is most children outgrow bruxism. The grinding decreases between ages 6-9, and children tend to stop grinding by age 12, after all the permanent teeth erupt. Mouth guards in children are not typically recommended because they often gag, choke, and chew on the appliance. If you suspect bruxism, discuss this with your pediatric dentist.

Hypoplastic Teeth

Hypoplastic teeth have defects in the enamel that cause the tooth to appear yellow, brown, or frosty. The tooth structure is more porous and susceptible to decay and fracturing. Avoid chewing hard sticky candy and ice. Your pediatric dentist will discuss how to care for these teeth and may recommend different treatment options depending on the severity of the defect.

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