Drs. Perlman & Koidin, P.C.

(781) 599-2900
77 Broad Street
Lynn, MA 01902

Common Pediatric Dental Problems

Please note: Contents of this website are for informational purposes only.

Tooth Decay

Dr. Koidin and an assistant work on a patient.Caries, or tooth decay, is a preventable disease. Certain types of bacteria that live in your mouth cause tooth decay. Carbohydrate-rich foods such as candy, cookies, soft drinks and even fruit juices and fruit rollups leave deposits on your teeth; as well as cooked starches such as bread, potatoes, rice and pasta. These deposits bond with the bacteria that normally survive in your mouth and form plaque. The combination of deposits and plaque forms acids that can damage the mineral structure of the teeth, resulting in tooth decay.

Sensitive Teeth

Hot and cold food or beverages can cause discomfort or irritation to people with sensitive teeth. Over time, tooth enamel can be worn down, gums may recede or teeth may develop microscopic cracks, exposing the interior of the tooth and causing the irritation of nerve endings. Sometimes breathing cold air can be painful for those with extremely sensitive teeth. Specially formulated desensitizing toothpastes, fluoride varnishes or treatments, restorations or sometimes nightguards can help to resolve tooth sensitivity.

Bad Breath

Poor oral hygiene, gum problems, or dry mouth can be sources of bad breath. Other conditions such as digestive problems, chronic sinusitis, diabetes, or the side effects of medications can also cause abnormal mouth odor.


Grinding, also known as bruxism, can be an involuntary habit. Grinding is considered to be a common developmental stage of childhood. Many children tend to eliminate this habit as they age. Grinding can wear away primary and permanent teeth, cause dental or muscular pain and when indicated may be treated in the permanent  teeth with a nightguard.


Along with favorite blankets, teddy bears, and nap time, thumb-sucking can be one of the most comforting aspects of childhood. Is this cause for worry? In most cases, no,however, it is important to pay attention to your child's habits, in case their behavior has a damaging effect on their oral health. Children may suck a thumb or a finger from a very young age; some even start inside the womb. Sucking is natural for an infant, and it serves an important purpose. It often provides a sense of security and contentment for a young one. It can also be relaxing, which is why many children suck their thumbs as they fall asleep. According to the American Dental Association, most children stop thumb-sucking on their own between the ages of two and four. They simply outgrow a habit that is no longer gratifying for them. However, some children continue sucking beyond the preschool years. If your child is still sucking when his/her permanent teeth start to erupt, it may be time to take action to eliminate the habit. If at any time you suspect your child's thumb-sucking may be affecting their oral health, please contact us. We can help you assess the situation and suggest possible solutions.

Gum Disease

Gingivitis, or gum disease, is the inflammation of gum tissue often caused by poor oral hygiene and plaque accumulation over time which can progress into tooth loss and bone damage. In the early stage of gingivitis gums may bleed easily and become red and swollen. Gum disease is highly preventable and can usually be avoided by daily brushing and flossing.  An indicator of gum disease may be bad breath, a bad taste in the mouth or bleeding of the gums especially after flossing.

Canker Sores

Canker sores (aphthous ulcers) are usually small sores inside the mouth with a white or gray base surrounded by a red border. Generally, the ulcerations last one or two weeks, and they often recur. The duration of canker sores can be reduced by the use of antimicrobial mouthwashes or topical agents.

Over-Retained Primary (baby) Teeth

A primary tooth still in position with a permanent tooth trying to erupt in the same space is termed an "over-retained" tooth, and requires removal of the primary tooth. The presence of primary teeth in teenagers and adults indicates a potential problem, such as congenitally missing or impacted permanent teeth. Early diagnosis allows for a better outcome. Regular dental care will allow the dentist to monitor growth and development.

Wisdom Teeth

Occasionally, wisdom teeth may cause pain during their eruption. An infection may occur when the tooth is not fully erupted due to a variety of circumstances. If swelling arises, immediate care is necessary to prevent infection. Please contact the office.

Orthodontic Problems

A bite that does not meet properly (a malocclusion) can be inherited or acquired. Some causes of malocclusion include missing or extra teeth, crowded teeth or misaligned jaws. Accidents or developmental issues, such as finger or thumb sucking over an extended period of time, may cause malocclusions.

Dental Anxiety

Pediatric dentists are specially trained in creating a welcoming and secure atmosphere for anxious children. We utilize many techniques that allow an anxious patient to have  positive experiences in our office. We commonly use a technique called tell-show-do where we explain the procedure in simple words, demonstrate on a model or the child’s finger and then perform the procedure as described. Children have less anxiety when they know what to expect. Dr. Perlman and Dr. Koidin will determine their treatment of your child based on what they believe is necessary to provide for a positive experience.

Next section: Orthodontics