Common Conditions

Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding is normal for a lot of young children. Most children do not even realize they are doing it, and it usually does not cause any discomfort. Oftentimes, parents say they can hear their children grinding their teeth from down the hall at night.


Teeth grinding usually stops as children start to develop adult teeth, and for that reason, we generally monitor this. However, if the grinding is getting worse over time, or if we start to see wearing down of the adult teeth, Dr. Jean may recommend treatment.


Over time, teeth grinding can wear away the chewing surfaces of teeth. This can lead to: teeth that have dents or look shorter than normal, jaw pain, and/ or headaches. Older children and adults may grind their teeth due to stress or anxiety. In older children that have all of their adult teeth in, Dr. Jean may recommend a special night guard to be worn while sleeping.

For more information on teeth grinding, please call our office at 919-303-2873 or e-mail us at to make an appointment .


Canker Sores/Cold Sores

Canker sores occur inside the mouth, and cold sores usually occur outside the mouth, usually on or near the lips. Whether they occur inside or outside of your mouth, they can be very annoying!


They tend to appear when children are sick, when the seasons change, or can even happen due to certain food allergies. These sores are very common and can recur often for some people. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix that will eliminate these sores right away. These sores usually heal in about two weeks. In the meantime, Dr. Jean recommends a mild/bland diet that can help reduce discomfort while eating. Foods that are too acidic, hot, spicy, or crunchy can be very irritating. The most important thing to remember is to keep your child hydrated. Your child may not feel like eating or drinking like normal, and we do not want them to become dehydrated.


Over-the-counter topical anesthetics are never recommended without speaking to a dentist first. They can cause more irritation, stinging, and can be unsafe if too much is eaten.


For more information on canker sores and cold sores, please call our office at 919-303-2873 or e-mail us at to make an appointment.


Thumb / Finger Sucking and Pacifiers

Thumb and finger sucking habits or even pacifier habits after the age of four are not recommended because they can lead to changes in the way your child’s facial bones develop.


 This can cause narrowing of the upper jaw, crooked teeth, and bite problems. The upper front teeth may start to tip out, or your child may develop an open bite (front teeth do not touch when biting down completely).


These habits can be very difficult for some children to break, and for that reason, it is very important that we work together to figure out what will work best for your child. In some cases, a mouth appliance can be a very effective reminder to help them break the habit.


For more information on oral habits, please call our office at 919-303-2873 or e-mail us at to make an appointment.



A tooth cavity is the result of bacteria in your mouth producing acid, which weakens and breaks down your tooth.


Over time, this weakened tooth structure can grow, and the bacteria can start to move into the deeper layers of the tooth. Often times, the tooth becomes so weakened that a hole begins to form.


Some people are more prone to developing cavities than other people. To give your child the best chance of preventing cavities, it is important to remember a few things. Anything that has sugar and sticks to teeth for a long time can cause cavities. Foods such as fruit snacks, granola bars, crackers, and gummies can sit on your child’s teeth for hours. Even some healthy foods such as fruit have a lot of acid which can cause cavities when sitting on the teeth for a long time. The best thing to do is to have your child rinse with water, or brush the food off of their teeth after these snacks.


To prevent very young children from getting cavities, try to avoid putting your baby to sleep with a bottle containing anything that may have sugar (milk, formula, juice). If your child needs a bottle to fall asleep, try plain water, or water flavored with a sugar free sweetener. Even breast milk has sugars that could potentially cause cavities. For children being breast fed, try to wipe their teeth after feeding to help get some of the sugars off of the teeth.


For more information on preventing cavities, please call our office at 919-303-2873 or e-mail us at to make an appointment.



Gingivitis is a gum disease in which the gums become red, swollen and easily bleed when brushing or flossing.


You may also notice persistent bad breath. Gingivitis can occur when bacteria sits on the teeth near the gums for an extended period of time. The best thing to do to prevent gingivitis is to brush all of your child’s teeth thoroughly, especially where the teeth and the gums come together. This is the location where most plaque and bacteria accumulate.


For more information on gingivitis, please call our office at 919-303-2873 or e-mail us at to make an appointment.



Baby Teeth:

Baby teeth actually start to develop while they are still growing in their mommy’s belly.


From birth to about the age of 3, you will see the gradual eruption of 20 baby teeth (primary teeth). When babies are teething, they often have sore and tender gums. The pain usually can be soothed by gently rubbing their gums with a clean finger, or a wet gauze. A clean teething ring to chew on also may be helpful.


At around age 6, the front baby teeth on the bottom generally start to get wiggly and fall out. At the same time, the adult first molars start to grow in behind all of the baby teeth. The process of losing baby teeth and getting adult teeth usually lasts until age 13. However, every child is different, so this is just a general timeline which may be very different for normal kids. Dr. Jean will let you know during each exam if she is concerned about your child’s teething pattern or development.


It is important for us to keep your child’s baby teeth healthy because they ultimately affect the development of your child’s permanent teeth. Baby teeth are important for eating, ensuring the adult teeth grow in normally, development of the jaw bone and muscles, speech and confidence. At Little Tooth Co. we always encourage taking good care of your child’s baby teeth. Just as in adults, cavities and infection in baby teeth can cause a lot of pain. If your child loses a baby tooth too early, the permanent tooth may not be ready to come in yet. Having this extra space in the mouth can cause the other teeth in that area to shift. This may lead to crowded or crooked permanent teeth. In many cases, these problems can be avoided by placing space maintainers, which are temporary appliances that hold surrounding teeth in place.


Permanent Teeth:

The first permanent molars begin erupting around the age of 6. They start to grow behind all of the baby teeth. Extra care should be given to this first set of molars because they can cause a significant impact on the structure and position of future erupting teeth. From then on, children will continue to lose and gain teeth over the next few years. By about age 14, most kids have a full set of 28 permanent teeth.


Wisdom Teeth:

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, typically start to develop in early teenage years, and may start to erupt into the mouth in the late teenage years. In some people, wisdom teeth do not grow in properly and this can often lead to infection. Wisdom teeth can also become impacted if they start to grow in the wrong direction, requiring them to be extracted. Wisdom teeth are evaluated at each visit, and if needed, Dr. Jean or Dr. Cyelee may choose to refer you to see an oral surgeon for an evaluation and to discuss removal.



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