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Pediatric Dentistry

Pediatric Dentistry

Brookline Pediatric Dental Services

We Specialize in Caring for Your Child's Teeth, Gums, and Mouth

The pediatric dental specialists at BDS focus on the oral and dental health care of children from infancy through their teen years. They specialize in caring for a child’s teeth, gums, and mouth throughout each stage of childhood. Pediatric dentists complete four years of dental school and an additional two years of residency training in dentistry for pediatric emergencies, children, children with special needs, and teens. Our doctors help your child have caring and gentle early experiences at the dentist that can instill confidence and comfort in the value of their dental health for the rest of their lives.

Dental Care for Infants and Children

Children begin to get their baby teeth during the first 6 months of life. By age 6 or 7 years, they start to lose their first set of teeth, which eventually are replaced by secondary, permanent teeth. Without proper dental care, children face possible oral decay and disease that can cause a lifetime of pain and complications. We offer a preventative care including fluoride, sealants and hygiene maintenance for children of all ages.

Your Child’s First Visit to the Dentist

The American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend establishing a dental home for your child by one year of age. If you and your child have an established relationship with a specific dentist, you’re more likely to receive appropriate preventive and routine oral health care.

All children can feel a little nervous or unsure about their dental visit, and we are here to help. We want your child to enjoy getting to know Dr. Mary and Dr. Shakila and the team so they can feel comfortable at all times. Patient education is an essential part of what we do at Brookline Dental Specialists and we’ll work with you to help your child understand how important it is to practice good oral hygiene at home.

Gaining your child’s trust at their very first visit is our primary goal. The scope of the appointment will depend on how open he or she is. A typical first visit usually goes like this:

  • Your child can sit on your lap to feel more secure being close to you
  • If your child is receptive, we’ll apply a fluoride varnish and take a quick look at his or her teeth to see if there are any obvious problems
  • We will talk to you and your child about proper diet, brushing, and the ways that bottle-feeding and thumb sucking affect your child’s teeth

Dental Care for Teens

Dental health care during the teen years can be challenging as kids become more independent and parents have less control over diet and habits. Oral home care habits can slide, sometimes to the point of complete neglect. Preventative visits every six months allow us to coach your teen about positive efforts they are making and show them the value of healthy habits in the long run. We make sure teens feel comfortable and have a stress free and enjoyable experience to encourage compliance and cooperation as well.

As a multi-specialty office we can provide general dental care for your teens as well as any orthodontic treatment that may become necessary as your child enters pre-teen/teen years. Most parents find it convenient and comforting to bring their children as they grow to the same office to see familiar and friendly faces for all their treatment needs.


Anxious Dental Patients/Conscious Sedation for Children

We really love providing dental care for kids! Our whole team recognizes that kids have individual needs and may be anxious before their first appointments. Some children have more difficulty calming down than others, and if this is the case, Dr. Mary is certified and can offer conscious sedation (nitrous oxide) to keep your child safe and comfortable during their treatment.

One way you can help put your child at ease before dental visits is to simply focus on the positive aspects of dentistry and avoid using words like “needles,” or “drills” that might cause unnecessary fear. Use comments like, “The dentist will show you lots of new, interesting, fun things to help you have a shiny, healthy smile,” can really get them curious and even excited about their appointment with us. Definitely inform your child about the visit and tell them that the dentist will explain everything they need to know and answer all of their questions.

Convenient Family Friendly Appointments

We understand how busy and hectic life can be so we offer weekend and evening appointments that allow you to make it to the dentist when it is most convenient for you. We even have family appointments that can accommodate you and your kids at the same time! Our patient care coordinators are happy to work with you to get the best possible appointment times scheduled for you and your whole family.

Pediatric FAQ:

Why does my child grind his teeth?

Teeth grinding, or bruxism, can occur for many different reasons. Some children might grind their teeth as a way to ease the pain. Some may grind because the top and bottom teeth aren't properly aligned. Another cause can be a response to pain, such as from an earache or teething. Many kids will outgrow teeth grinding. Be sure to talk to your dentist about ways we may be able to help.

Why does my child suck her thumb? What should I do about it?

Sucking is a natural reflex and infants and young children. Sucking a thumb, fingers or other object can give a sense of security. Because thumb sucking is relaxing, it may also help a child fall sleep. When thumb sucking persists beyond the eruption of the permanent teeth issues can arise with the proper growth of the mouth and alignment of your child’s teeth. Resting the thumb passively in the mouth is less likely to impact on mouth and teeth development. Vigorously sucking the thumb has a greater impact. The ideal time for a child to stop thumb sucking is by the time their permanent front teeth are ready to erupt. Children usually stop on their own between the ages of two and four. Peer pressure at school influences many children to stop. Pacifiers are not a safe substitute for thumb sucking. They affect the teeth essentially the same way as sucking fingers and thumbs. A pacifier can be controlled and modified more easily than the thumb or finger habit. Talk to our pediatric dentists about thumb sucking or use of a pacifier. We are here to help and support you and your child through this common issue.

Tips to Manage Thumb Sucking

*Help your child work on the things that may be making them feel insecure. Focus on the cause of their anxiety, instead of the thumb sucking. *Provide comfort, hugs, and positive support to lessen the need for self-soothing behaviors like thumb sucking. *Positively acknowledge and reward children when they control the need for sucking during difficult experiences like separation from their parents. *Our pediatric dentists are happy to encourage your children to stop sucking and explain what could happen to their teeth if they continue. *If these approaches don’t work, remind the children of their habit by bandaging the thumb or putting a sock on the hand at night.

What is pulp therapy and when might it be needed?

The inside of a tooth is filled with soft tissue known as the pulp. The pulp contains the nerves, blood vessels, connective tissues, and other cells needed to maintain a healthy tooth. When children get cavities, or have tooth trauma, the pulp can be damaged. Pulp therapy can repair the damage and preserve any healthy pulp, so that your child’s primary tooth remains intact until it falls out naturally to make room for permanent adult teeth. Pulp therapy can also be called a "children's root canal", "pulpectomy" or "pulpotomy". A pulpotomy removes the diseased pulp tissue within the crown, or top portion, of the affected tooth. An agent is then placed in the opening to prevent bacterial growth and to calm the remaining nerve tissue. As a final restoration a stainless steel cap is placed on the treated tooth.

Content Reviewed and Approved by Dr. Mary Ghattas

Dr. Mary Ghattas is a Pediatric Dentist who completed her Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD), and her specialty training program in Pediatrics from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. While at Tufts, she received The Jack and Anne, D75P, Endowed Senior Prize Award in Pediatric Dentistry. She also received her hospital training at Tufts Medical Center and The Franciscan Hospital for Children. Before moving to the United States, she earned a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) from Ain Shams University School of Dental Medicine in Cairo, Egypt.

Contact Us & Location

Brookline Dental Specialists is conveniently located on the "C" line, Harvard St. Station. Off Street Parking is available. Call today to schedule your appointment 617-738-0806
Phone: 617.738.0806
Fax: 617-232-8933
Online Booking is Now Available for Hygiene Appointments!