Back-to-school visits

The summer is over and schools are back in session before you know it. Here at Lincoln Shine Dental, Dr. Mahi and her dedicated team perform a dental examination and provide your children with a school form.  This is a good opportunity for the parents to make an appointment with us and make sure that their children will not have to miss classes because of dental related issues once schools start. During the oral examination, we will evaluate the overall health of the teeth and look for cavities in the primary and permanent teeth and determine if those teeth need sealants. We will make sure that the permanent teeth are erupting on time and there is no missing teeth. We will also determine if the teeth are lining up correctly and predict if your child will need braces in the near future. Additionally your children will get a cleaning done, receive a gift package and take their baby teeth to the tooth fairy.

What to ask Dr. Mahi during this visit:

  • What are dental cavities (also known as caries)?
  • What are sealants and why do my kids need receive those?
  • Do my children need x-rays every time they come in?
  • Do my children need a mouth guard?
  • When do baby teeth come in and when does my child lose them?
  • At what age should I take my baby for the first dental visit?
  • What is baby bottle tooth decay also known as rampant/nursing caries?
  • When should I begin brushing my baby’s teeth and when should I teach and encourage my kids to brush on their own?
  • What is Nitrous Oxide or laughing gas?

What to ask Dr. Mahi during this visit:

When do baby teeth come in and when does my child lose them?

Children may have different eruption rates but most kids have their first baby tooth erupting in the lower front area at about 6 to 10 months. Most kids have 20 baby teeth in their mouths by the age 3.  It is really important to make sure that the baby teeth are taken care of as they save the space for the underlying permanent teeth and also infection of a baby tooth can spread to the permanent tooth underneath and cause damage to it.


Another common question for moms to ask us is whether they can use over the counter numbing gel to sooth the pain in the gum area during tooth eruption. According to the reports provided by the ADA (American Dental Association) and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), those type of local numbing gels should not be used under the age of 2.


Benzocaine, the active ingredient of the local numbing gels, has been reported to be associated with a rare condition called methemoglobinemia. This is a disorder that causes a reduction in the amount of oxygen carried out in the blood which could be serious and in come instances fatal.


Please click on the button underneath to see the children baby teeth eruption guild.

At what age should I take my baby for the first dental visit?


As soon as your baby has teeth appearing in the mouth, he/she can get cavities. Dr. Mahi recommends that you bring your baby for the first dental visit as early as the first tooth erupts in the mouth and no later than the first birthday. Not only we want to make sure that your baby is going to grow to have beautiful healthy teeth but also do we appreciate sharing the experience of witnessing your children grow and listen to your fun stories. Please refer to the link below to learn more about the first dental visit.

What are dental cavities also known as caries?

Dental cavity or decay is a defective part of a tooth and is considered to be a bacterial disease. Dental decay if the second most common infection disease after common cold. It is cause by the bacteria residing in the thin layer of dental plaque on our teeth surfaces. The bacteria use sugary substances as food and produce acidic products which in turn demineralize the tooth surface (pulling the calcium ions out of the tooth surface) and reduce its mineral content. After the demineralization reaches a specific level, the tooth surface start breaking down and that is when cavities are formed. This is not a self-limiting condition and needs to be treated by your dentist.

What is baby bottle tooth decay also known as rampant/nursing caries?

As the name implies, baby bottle tooth decay, is a form dental decay that is caused by drinking and feeding habits and can develop as soon as first teeth erupt in the mouth. It appears on smooth surfaces of multiple teeth, predominantly the upper front teeth, and progresses rapidly. Early childhood decay is a serious public health problem and has detrimental effects on the quality of life of the child and the child’s family as well as serious social and economical consequences for the child and the society as a whole.   Tooth decay is not self limiting and requires professional intervention by your dentist.  Pre-school children data indicate that the prevalence of dental caries of children aging between 2 to 5 years, had increased from 24% in 1988–1994 to 28% in 1999–2004.

  • Dr. Mahi strongly discourages prolonged bedtime bottle-feeding containing sugary juices and even milk.
  • She recommends that the parents and the caregiver prevent transmission of the cavity-causing bacterial to the child. This could be achieved by minimizing activities that result in saliva sharing activities such as sharing utensils, cups, toothbrushes, etc. Do not allow your child to put his/her fingers in the parent’s or caregiver’s mouth.  Do not lick a pacifier before passing it to your baby.
  • Dr. Mahi encourages the use of tooth pastes containing fluoride; however, since most kids swallow 30% of the paste, it is important to limit the amount of the toothpaste use to a pea-size or less.
  • Dr. Mahi also recommends that parents consider professional fluoride varnish applied by the dentist.  Fluoride therapy has caused a 30 to 70 percent reduction in caries rate as reported by multiple research studies.
  • And the last but not the least important one is to choose your children diet wisely and lower the sugar content. For more information about the right nutrition for your children visit the Academy of Nutrition and Diabetes.


What are sealants and why do my kids need to receive those?

Sealant it is a thin coating of dental material that adheres to the deep grooves on the chewing surface of your back teeth and prevents the bacteria from lodging in those grooves and starting a cavity. Please refer to the link below to learn more about sealants. Dental sealants are also recommended by the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) and also the NIH ( National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial research).

Do my children need x-rays every time they come in?

Your children may or may not need x-rays taken at the recall visit. Dr. Mahi will determine that based on their cavity rate, diet and the number of times they are being seen during the year. She may also need x-rays to check the eruption of the underlying permanent teeth. X-rays are a very helpful tool and Dr. Mahi, also an oral and maxillofacial radiologist in addition to being a general dentist, has gained extra knowledge during a 3 year residency program to read those x-rays more efficiently than other general dentists. Please refer to the link below to learn more about x-rays. You may also learn more about dental x-rays by downloading the ADA (American Dental Association) brochure.

When should I begin brushing my baby’s teeth and when  should I teach and encourage my kids to brush on their own?

  • You can start cleaning your baby’s gum shortly after the birth. Use a clean, wet gauze or cloth to gently clean the gum surface twice a day.
  • Start with a tooth brush as soon as teeth start appearing in the mouth.
  • Brush two times a day, morning and night.
  • Use an ADA approved fluoride tooth paste.
  • Use a soft, child size, tooth brush.
  • The size of the toothpaste for kids younger that 3 years of age should not exceed the size of a grain of rice.
  • For kids between 3 and 6 years of age use a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste.
  • Start flossing when your kid has two teeth that are touching on the side.
  • Continue brushing for your children until they can tie their shoelace on their own!
  • An effective method would be to hold them on your lap with their back towards you and brush their teeth while they are watching TV.

Do my children need a mouth guard?


Mouth guards are utilized by many individuals who play sports to prevent dental trauma. No replacement would ever be like your natural teeth so it is a good idea to minimize the risk of any injuries to your teeth and lips during sports. Please refer to the link below to learn more about mouth guards.

What is Nitrous Oxide or Laughing gas?

Nitrous oxide (N2O) has been used over 160 years, to reduce pain and anxiety for patients undergoing dental procedures with a remarkable safety record. In our practice we follow the guidelines provided by the American Society of Anesthesiology (ASA), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) for the sedation of pediatric and adult patients when administrating Nitrous Oxide gas.


Is Fluoride safe? Why do you need it?

The safety and benefits of fluoride has been proven by so many scientific research projects carried out in the US and internationally. Water fluoridation was initiated in the US in 1945, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. By the early 1950’s, children in Grand Rapids had fewer cavities compared to school children from nearby areas that did not have fluoride added to their water. Community water fluoridation was named one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Since 1945, water fluoridation has been resulted a 25% reduction in tooth decay among children and adults. School children in communities with water fluoridation have, on average, about 2 fewer decayed tooth than children who don’t live in fluoridated communities. That is very important because oral health has tremendous effects on the quality of your personal and social life, job, diet, weight, sleep and mental health. Untreated tooth decay can cause pain, infection (dental cysts and abscesses) that could in some cases be life threatening, school/work absences, premature loss of primary teeth resulting in crowing of the permanent teeth, bad odor, gum disease and poor appearance—all contributing to reduced quality of life.

Dental fluorosis refers to defects and change in the color of tooth enamel that appear as white spots on the teeth that go unnoticed for the most part. Mild fluorosis can occur when young children, younger 6 years of age, regularly take in fluoride when their permanent teeth are still developing due to swallowing a pea size of fluoridated toothpaste. Please refer to Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for more information regarding the level of fluoridation in the tap water which determines the need for supplemental fluoride for your kids and also information on using tap water for mixing baby milk formula. Please refer to the pictures below to see the American Dental Association (ADA) recommendation for supplemental Fluoride with regards to the level of fluoridation in your community water.

Other sources of fluoride include fluoridated toothpaste/mouth rinse and professionally applied fluoride varnish are recommended for individuals with higher rate of dental decay. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends the following for people at risk of developing dental caries: 2.26% fluoride varnish or 1.23% fluoride (APF) gel, or a prescription-strength, home-use 0.5% fluoride gel or paste or 0.09% fluoride mouth rinse for 6 years or older. Only 2.26% fluoride varnish is recommended for children younger than 6 years. Please refer to the pictures below for a more detailed information.