Call (925) 930-9390

Shadelands Pediatric Dentistry Blog

BFF (Brush, Floss, Fluoride)

April 2016


Brush, Baby, Brush

Primary (baby) teeth should be brushed from the moment they first erupt into the mouth using a soft toothbrush and a smear or lentil-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste if your child is not spitting, and a pea-sized amount if they can. Use a non-fluoridated toothpaste or only water for independent tots who insist on brushing on their own, but end up sucking on the brush. Soaking the brush in warm water will soften the bristles even more for those with sensitive mouths!

 Flip for Floss!

The set of baby teeth (20 in total) have usually worked their way into your child’s mouth by 2½. As the molars drift towards each other, they eventually contact and it’s at that point where plaque gets trapped between them. Even brushing won’t budge pesky plaque, but parent-assisted flossing on a daily basis will keep contact points spotless and popcorn kernels out. Ask your dentist for tips on how to best floss little teeth in little mouths.

Scrawl or Script?

A higher level of muscle dexterity is needed to floss and brush all the surfaces of every tooth well. Tying a shoelace and writing in cursive are movements that use some of the same muscles used to reach way back and around all the teeth. Little hands that can perform both these tasks well can remove plaque and sparkle teeth on their own. Children are usually at this stage of development around the age of 8. Until then, grab the brush and share the job! 

 The Sugar Bug Bites, Fluoride Fights!

Tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease – more common than even asthma or seasonal allergies!

The low-down: Teeth get covered with plaque every time we eat or drink anything. When bacteria in the plaque break down food into sugars (including starches like pretzels, bread and pasta), the teeth face an acid-attack that leeches minerals out of teeth weakening their structure. The first sign of this weakening can be chalky-white spots on the enamel. If this process continues, the enamel breaks and the lesion is called caries (a.k.a.: “a cavity”). If left without repair, the cavity continues to get larger and can lead to pain and swelling.

Fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral, can get absorbed into these weakened areas to help strengthen or “remineralize” the affected enamel before it turns into a cavity.  Two ways to get fluoride on the teeth is through an ADA approved fluoride toothpaste and through a fluoride rinse.  Both of these methods place fluoride on the teeth topically; this process is different from systemic fluoride which is delivered via foods and water and incorporated into growing teeth through a process known as enamel calcification.


Keep on brushing!

Follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram @shadelands4kids

Thumb Sucking & Pacifiers during the Holidays

December 2015

As we move into the holiday season, energies tend to run high with the excitement of celebrations and travel.  For young ones, energies of all types can prompt self-soothing.  And for some, that means sucking thumbs or using a pacifier. 

In the office, I can often be heard advising parents that to prevent long-term effects to the teeth and jaws, habits such as thumb sucking or pacifier use are best stopped by 3 years of age.  However, and this is a big one, I discourage parents from trying to stop this during times of change for their children; times like the start of school, moving homes, a new baby in the family, and the holiday season! 

Whether in your home or wherever you are traveling, setting a boundary safe-zone where self-soothing techniques are allowed can help to keep children calmer.  Oftentimes the child’s bed or sleeping area is ideal as many times the habits help them nap or fall asleep. 

Instead of nagging your child about oral habits this holiday season, enjoy your family time and set goals to start in the year ahead.  Feel free to visit our office for more suggestions on how to do so.

Keep on brushing!

Follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram @shadelands4kids

Baby teeth

November 2015

Crying, fussiness, drooling, ear infections and fevers can all be signs that your child might be teething.  The first baby teeth usually come into the mouth around 6 months, but for some infants it can be as early as 3 months or as late as 16-18 months!  Dr. Melissa also likes to remind parents that the last set of baby molars usually come in towards the end of year 2/early year 3.  Your toddler could be teething! There are many teething products out there to sooth the pain for infants, test several out and see what your child prefers.  Below is a rainbow chart for the average times that teeth come in, check it out!


Keep on brushing!

Follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram @shadelands4kids  


October 2015

Happy Halloween!

Ghosts, goblins and green witches, Oh my! The season of candy is upon us; here at Shadelands Pediatric Dentistry that means that we are waging a war against future cavities head on.  We are happy to announce that we are again hosting a Halloween candy buy back & raffle for our current patients.  That means $1 for every pound of candy (up to a max of 5lbs per child) & 1 ticket to participate in our raffle of Target gift cards & a Kids Sonicare Toothbrush.  Dates: November 2nd – 11th & Raffle to take place on November 13th – participants need not be present to win.


If you want to keep all the Halloween candy you collect this year, here are some tips to keep in mind to keep your teeth happy and healthy:

   Avoid chewy treats that tend to stick to teeth and cause more damage. This can also be a good time to teach (or remind) children that it isn't just excess sugar that can lead to cavities. Snacks such as pretzels, with starches that stay in the mouth longer, can also lead to cavities, as can fruit juices.

   Monitor candy consumption: After your children get back from trick-or-treating or a party, go through their bags of Halloween candy together. Letting children help with choosing treats helps teach two important lessons: how to control their diets & that what they eat affects oral and physical health.

   Set a Treat Time: With your child, set a time of day to eat Halloween candy. This ritual “treat time” may last long after Halloween and help promote healthy thinking about treats.

Keep on brushing!

Follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram @shadelands4kids  

Back to School

August 2015

A new school year is right around the corner – it’s walk-through week in the East Bay!  New pencils and backpacks aren’t the only thing on the checklist!  Check these out: 

  1. Limit Snacks for a Super Smile: Help your child form healthful eating habits – select after-school and lunch snacks for their nutritional value. Fresh, crunchy snacks are the best for both bodies and teeth.  Avoid sticky, gummy snacks and those with refined sugar, starches and excessive amounts of fat
  2. Give your Child’s Smile a Sporting Chance: If your child participates in athletic activities, consider a custom fitted sports mouth-guard that stays in place while allowing easy breathing and talking.  The best fits come from those made off a model of your child’s teeth in a dental office or lab.
  3. Submitting School Forms: Remember that California law (Education Code Section 49452.8) states that your child must have a dental check-up by May 31 of his/her first year in public school.  This is usually asked for before school starts if it’s not already in school files.  We have copies of the Oral Health Assessment form in the office!

Keep on brushing!

Follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram @shadelands4kids  



Summer Time Emergencies

June 2015


June 21st was the official start date of summer.  As the temperatures rise and the bikes come out, so do bumps and bruises for active kids.  These are the top 3 injuries we see increase during the summer months along with recommendations from Dr. Melissa on how to respond:

  1. Tooth bumped loose:  When a front tooth gets bumped, it can become loose but stay in its place without breaking.  You’ll sometimes see a line of red along the gum-line.  If all else looks well and there are no signs of a concussion, there is usually no treatment necessary.  Use an icepack (a frozen bag of veggies works in a pinch) to help keep swelling down, cut up foods to avoid using the front teeth, and call your pediatric dentist to schedule an appointment for an exam and x-ray.
  2. Tooth moved out of place: If a tooth gets moved out of place – forward, backward, in or slightly out – it is a more serious event and the tooth may need immediate attention, especially if it’s a permanent tooth.  For teeth that are moved backward, forward or slightly out, try to use finger pressure to get it back into its place and see your pediatric dentist as soon as possible.  The tooth may have to be splinted – held in place with a braces-like wire – to keep it in place for healing.  If the tooth is moved into the jaw, do not try to reposition it on your own as the treatment and outcome for baby teeth and permanent teeth are different.  Instead, see your dentist as soon as possible.
  3. Fractured tooth: Balls, bats, and falls can fracture teeth.  When a tooth breaks, the treatment depends on how far into the tooth the fracture has gone.  If you can see any pink or red spots in the fracture, the nerve has been exposed and needs treatment right away.  Any other fractures can usually be treated with a white filling material to help protect the nerve and restore esthetics.  If your child experiences pain with hot or cold, it is important to get them to your pediatric dentist for treatment.

Remember that having your children use a sports mouthguard whenever there’s a strong chance for contact with other participants or hard surfaces is the best smile protection for fun in the sun!  

Keep on brushing!

Follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram @shadelands4kids  

National Facial Protection Month

April 2015

Spring is in the air and so are Spring sports!  That’s why April is National Facial Protection Month.  Keep your children healthy by making sure they wear a mouth guard when engaging in organized sports or recreational activities where there is a strong chance for contact with other participants or hard surfaces to reduce the risk of injury to teeth, bone and lips, and also to reduce the risk of concussion.

 Although many different types of mouth guards are available on the market, such as the stock mouth guard and mouth-formed (“fit it yourself” or “boil and bite”) types, these do not give the same level of protection as custom mouth guards fitted by a dentist.  Dr. Melissa says, “Wearing a mouthguard while playing sports is a must. Mouthguards are significantly less expensive than the cost to repair an injury, and pediatric dentists can make customized mouthguards that hold teeth in place while allowing for normal speech and breathing.”

 A mouthguard should be comfortable and well fitted without restricting breathing, able to resist tearing and easy to clean.  Custom mouthguards are far superior in that they are individually designed for comfort and retention.  Custom mouthguards are also uniquely trimmed to enhance breathing and redistribute forces evenly on impact, acting as a shock absorber to help prevent chipped teeth and loss of teeth.

 Dr. Melissa can help your child get fitted for a custom mouthguard.  Call us at 925-930-9390 or stop by the office to learn more!

  • According to the CDC, more than half of the 7 million sports- and recreation-related injuries that occur each year are sustained by children as young as 5 years old.
  • Last year, the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation (NYSSF) forecasted that more than 3 million teeth would be knocked out in youth sporting events.
  • They also reported that athletes who don’t wear mouth guards are 60 times more likely to damage their teeth.
  • The Academy of Sports Dentistry categorizes organized sports to include, but not limited to: football, wrestling, basketball, baseball, volleyball, ice and field hockey, softball and soccer. Recreational sports include cycling, inline skating, skateboarding or any activity in which the face could come in contact with a hard object, another person or the pavement



And don’t forget about the other parts of your face!  Here are some tips from The Academy of Sports Dentistry:

  1. Helmets are always Helpful.  Helmets absorb the energy of an impact and help prevent damage to the head.  
  2. Have 20/20 Vision with Protective Eyewear.  Eyes are extremely vulnerable to damage, especially when playing sports.
  3. Face Shields Save Skin…and more.  Hockey pucks, footballs and racquetballs can cause severe facial damage at any age.

Keep on brushing!

Follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram @shadelands4kids  

First Day of Spring 

March 2015   

Happy First Day of Spring! Remember to include your teeth on your spring cleaning checklist!


Keep on brushing!

Follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram @shadelands4kids 

Tooth Fairy Day

February 2015  

Happy Tooth Fairy Day!

Loose teeth can be a pain. You just want them out but all they do is wiggle!

When Dr. Melissa was a kid with a loose front tooth, her grandfather decided to help her get that pesky tooth out!  He tied a piece of floss around her tooth and tied the other end to a door knob - then he closed the door!  Pop went her tooth and with wide eyes and no tears in sight she saw her tooth dangling from the floss!  Dr. Melissa's grandfather was not a dentist and she doesn't recommend this way of wiggling a tooth today.

Instead, Dr. Melissa says that the best way to get a loose tooth out is to wiggle it a little every day 3-5 minutes at a time, twice a day. Start by moving the tooth forward and backwards, changing directions when it starts to hurt. When the tooth bobbles like a bobble head, start twisting it – first like a clock, then the other direction. Your tooth will wiggle out in no time!

Once it’s out remember to stick your tooth under your pillow at night to get a treat from the tooth fairy!

Sometimes kids have to explain things to the tooth fairy but can’t because they’re asleep when she visits. That’s when the old fashion method of writing a letter comes in handy. Read some funny tooth fairy letters below!



Keep on brushing!

Follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram @shadelands4kids 

 Lunar New Year

 February 2015

Happy Lunar New Year! Its the Year of the Sheep/Goat!


Keep on brushing!

Follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram @shadelands4kids 


Valentine's Day

February 2015

Happy Valentines Day! Remember to show your teeth some love today!


Keep on brushing!

Follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram @shadelands4kids

Books, Books, Books

February 2015

We love reading here at Shadelands Pediatric Dentistry and thought we would share some of our favorite kids books about going to the dentist! Have you read any of these?

Just Going to the Dentist- Mercer Mayer

Little Critter is on his way to the dentist. It's a thorough check-up, complete with dental x-rays. When Dr. Ghum insists on filling a cavity, Little Critter goes through it bravely. 

The Tooth Book- Dr. Seuss 

Teeth–they come in handy when you chew or smile! In Dr. Seuss’s hilarious ode to teeth, little ones will laugh out loud as they find out all the things teeth can do and how to take care of them so they last a lifetime! All the fun and charm of the original book are in this new board book version for the youngest readers. 

The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist- Stan & Jan Berenstain

Sister Bear watches Dr. Bearson fill Brother Bear's small cavity. Then it's her turn in the chair to have a dangling baby tooth removed. An entertaining story for preschoolers of a cheerful and informative visit to a dentist.

Doctor De Soto- William Steig

Doctor De Soto, the dentist, did very good work." With the aid of his able assistant, Mrs. De Soto, he copes with the toothaches of animals large and small. His expertise is so great that his fortunate patients never feel any pain.


Melvin the Magnificent Molar- Julia Cook & Laura Jana

Meet Melvin, the lovable tooth. Through Melvins view of the world, this book encourages children in a fun-loving, unique way to actually want to brush their teeth. By promoting brushing, flossing, and regular visits to the dentist, Melvin shows readers young and old how to make sure they will have happy teeth and healthy smiles that will last them a lifetime!


Open Wide: Tooth School Inside- Laurie Keller

It's time for tooth school and Dr. Flossman is excited to meet the incoming class of 32--eight incisors, four canines, eight premolars, and twelve molars, including the four wisdom teeth. There's just so much to learn--from brushing and flossing to dentin and pulp to every student's nightmare: tooth decay!

Elmo Visits the Dentist – P. J. Shaw

Elmo goes to the dentist with his friend The Big Bad Wolf when he gets a toothache and shows him the dentist isn’t as scary as he thought!


Show Me Your Smile! (Dora the Explorer) – Christine Ricci

It's time for Dora's checkup at the dentist. Dora explores the dentist's office, gets her teeth cleaned, and more! She even gets a special treat for being such a good patient!


Fancy Nancy and the Too-Loose Tooth- Jane O’Connor

Nancy really wants to get a special tooth-holder necklace from the school nurse—but how can she make sure her loose tooth falls out at school?


Junie B., First Grader: Toothless Wonder – Barbara Park

Yikes . . . It's a looth tooth! In the 20th Junie B. Jones book, one of Junie B.'s top front teeth is loose! Only Junie B. is not that thrilled about this development. Because what if she looks like toothless Uncle Lou? And even worse . . . what's all this tooth fairy business? Like, who is this woman, really? And what does she do with all those used teeth? So many questions, so little time.

Keep on brushing!

Follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram @shadelands4kids

National Children’s Dental Health Month

February 2015

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month!

 Did you know?

  • Despite the fact that it’s almost entirely preventable, tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children.  More than 40 percent of children ages 2 to 11 have had a cavity in their primary (baby) teeth, and more than two-thirds of 16- to 19-year-olds have had a cavity in their permanent teeth.
  • 51 million US school hours are lost each year to dental problems.  Although overall rates of tooth decay have decreased over the past four decades, decay has actually increased in preschool age children in recent years. 
  • Research shows that if a child’s tooth decay goes untreated, it can lead to tooth loss, speech problems and even loss of self-esteem. 

The good news is there are safe and effective preventive measures that can protect teeth!  Good oral hygiene practices such as thorough brushing and daily flossing can help keep children from getting cavities.  In addition, a balanced diet with limited snacks and dental sealants are two other strategies that can help prevent tooth decay.

This year Dr. Melissa will be visiting area preschools to help kids learn more about what foods are best for health and what to expect when visiting the dentist. 

Keep on brushing!

Follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram @shadelands4kids

Brush, Brush, Brush

January 2015

A frequent question we get at SPD is “How many times does my child need to brush a day, and for how long?”  Dr. Melissa recommends brushing at least 2x per day (after breakfast and before bed), for 2 minutes.  Here’s the scientific reason why:

Teeth get covered with plaque every time we eat or drink anything. When bacteria in the plaque break down food into sugars (including starches like pretzels, bread and pasta), the teeth face an acid-attack!  This acid-attack leeches minerals out of teeth and weakens their structure. The first sign of this weakening can be chalky-white spots on the teeth. If this process continues, the tooth enamel breaks and a cavity is born!  Even in baby teeth, untreated cavities can lead to pain and swelling.

Brushing all the surfaces of the teeth to take pesky plaque off takes about 2 minutes.  We know that two minutes can seem like a long time, and not all kids are able to easily sit through 2 minutes of brushing their teeth.  So we put together a list of different apps for your mobile devices to motivate kids of all ages to develop good oral hygiene habits!


Help the fairy tale kingdom with your toothbrush and Toothy and the Toothsavers.  Save everyone’s teeth from a cavities spell that an evil sorceress has cast by brushing for two minutes to save characters like Little Red Riding Hood, and Pirate.  With continuous use, kids can unlock new Toothsavers and defeat the evil sorceress after 30 days of brushing.  This app also includes several different 2-minute animations to watch while brushing, and a progress chart to keep track of brushing times and progress.  Available on iTunes App Store, Google Play, and online.  

Brush DJ

This is a simple but helpful app. Brush DJ randomly plays two minutes of music from your library while you clean your teeth. The app also allows you to set reminders to brush, floss, use mouth rinse, change your toothbrush every 3 months and schedule a visit to the dentist.  Available on iTunes and Google Play.


This app allows kids to pick a mate, such as a princess or superhero, to brush their teeth with for two minutes.  Kids can pick different buddies each day and vote for their favorite to be included in the new gallery.  Parents can make sure their child is brushing properly by checking the detailed instructions for teeth cleaning that is based on recommendations by dentists.  Available on iTunes.

Disney Magic Timer

Scan any Crest or Oral-B product to use this app.  Kids brush their teeth for two minutes to reveal a drawing, which they can then collect in a sticker book.  You can create multiple brusher profiles that keep track of brushing progress. Available on iTunes and Google Play.

Follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram @shadelands4kids.


One Year!

January 2015


We are excited to be 1 year old and we look forward to many more birthdays. Thank you for bringing us smiles to keep healthy!

Paddington Bear

January 2015 

When Dr. Melissa was a kid her parents read to her every day.  Mom would pick the books and Dad would add voices and accents to make the books come alive!  One of their favorites was always “A Bear Called Paddington” because Dr. Melissa’s dad is also from Peru.  The voices he used for this one always left Dr. Melissa and her sister laughing.  She can’t wait to see this classic come alive on the big screen!


  Follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram @shadelands4kids

Throw Back Thursday

January 2015

Woah!!! First week back from vacation and it is already Thursday, time flies! Check out these retro public service announcements from the 60s-80s about dental care. We love how the messages are still relevant today. 

Dr. Lopez was just talking about how her first memories of going to the dentist were at the dental clinic of the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago.  Her mom would take her and her sister there on the bus (CTA) every six months for cleanings.  She loved the visits and especially remembers the great staff who always had smiles for their patients.  Dr. Melissa also vividly remembers the taste of the grape fluoride after each visit!  Such great dental experiences at a young age inspired Dr. Melissa to focus her specialty on pediatrics!

Our social media is up and running! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram @shadelands4kids.


We are Shadelands Pediatric Dentistry located just outside of San Francisco in Walnut Creek, CA.  We are excited to share cool and useful things about pediatric dentistry with you! Follow us on FacebookPinterestTwitter, and Instagram @shadelands4kids. 


Contact Us

We encourage you to contact us with any questions or comments you may have. Please call our office or use the quick contact form below.

Office Location

  • Walnut Creek
  • 520 Lennon Ln
  • Suite A
  • Walnut Creek, CA
  • 94598
  • Map & Directions
  • Call: (925) 930-9390