Category Archives: Pediatric Dentistry

When you choose a practice, you do so with the expectation of getting the best care possible. What makes a practice truly special and stands above its competition is exceptional care and compassion from the providers and the front desk staff. The very best practices have individuals answering the phones and working their reception desks that back up excellent medical care with phenomenal customer service and a thorough knowledge base to answer any questions.

At Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph, our Pediatric Dentists provide extraordinary care with empathy. Our hygienists have extensive experience working with kids of all ages and abilities and are adept at making every child as comfortable as possible.

Our front desk staff backs up our team of providers with comprehensive knowledge enabling them to answer any insurance questions. They get to know every parent or guardian individually and follow through on any issues or questions until they are resolved. Our front desk staff also works tirelessly to accommodate busy schedules when arranging appointments.

As the first people you see when you enter the office and the last you see as you check out, their mission is solely to make things run effortlessly, making every experience at Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph a positive one, every single time.

The first time you hear a grating sound coming from your toddler’s mouth it can be quite startling.  Don’t be alarmed. Teeth grinding, also known as Bruxism, is reasonably common in young children and is rarely a cause for concern.  As adults we may be more inclined to grind our teeth during times of stress, like those felt during a national pandemic, this is not the case for a toddler’s grinding. 

“We get a lot of calls to the office from parents worried about their children grinding their teeth,” says Dr. Mannella, of Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph.  “We like to check a child’s mouth to make sure there are no underlying problems but the reality is that most kids just grow out of it without doing any harm to their teeth.” 

According to Dr. Mannella, approximately 15% of all toddlers will grind their teeth.  “Usually it first begins when a child’s upper and lower teeth cut through the gums.  Sometimes it can occur because the upper and lower jaws are growing at a different rate, sometimes it is a means for a toddler to self soothe when teething, or even from the pain of an ear infection.  And some kids just grind their teeth simply because they’ve figured out how to do it and they are curious about the sound they’ve learned to make.”

Because the enamel on baby teeth is thinner, excessive grinding can erode the enamel if a child is still grinding their teeth by the age of four or five.  When physical reasons for grinding are ruled out sometimes grinding can be a reaction to stress or anxiety, such as a new sibling, a change in daycare, or the start of a new school year. 

Around one-third of children with bruxism will still be grinding their teeth as adults.  Grinding and teeth clenching as an adult can lead to some pretty severe jaw pain and headaches, so it’s worth keeping tabs on this habit as your child gets older.

If you have concerns about your child’s tooth grinding, or any questions about your child’s oral health, Dr. Mannella and his team at Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph are always happy to discuss any issues that matter to you.  You can reach their office at 973-989-7970 or check out the Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph website at You can also follow the practice on Facebook and Instagram for the upcoming family events.

In our office we see far too many children with damage to teeth that could have been prevented by wearing a mouth guard.

Children who don’t wear mouth guards playing sports are 60 times more likely to harm their teeth. These injuries often result in permanent damage even after medical intervention. Yet, most parents will admit that their children do not wear a mouth guard during organized sports.  While some sports like football and field hockey require kids to wear a mouth guard, many sports such as baseball, soccer and basketball do not.  

As you ready your children for spring sports, please keep in mind that mouth guards have been proven to dramatically decrease the risk of oral injuries and they are also one of the least expensive pieces of protective sports equipment available. Not only do mouthguards save teeth, they help protect jaws and can also prevent traumatic injuries such as concussions. 

The most effective mouth guard should be comfortable, covering the teeth and depending on the patient’s bite, also the gums. It should also be durable, easily cleaned, and not restrict speech or breathing.  We believe if you start your child out wearing a mouthguard while they are young it will be a natural routine to always reach for a mouthguard when suiting up for play or practice. 

At Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph, Dr. Mannella, Dr. Marybeth and Dr. Russo are happy to recommend the best option of dental protection for your child.  Our mission in caring for your children’s dental health goes beyond simply reminding them to brush and floss regularly.  By discussing the various types of mouthguards available, from those custom-made in our office, to ready-to-wear ones available at any sporting goods store, you can make an informed decision on how to best protect your child.

It is important to remember damaged teeth do not grow back. Our motto at Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph is “We make smiles happen”. Protect that perfect smile – always insist that your child wear a mouthguard.

Please call our office at 973-989-7970 for an appointment to discuss the use of mouthguards or any concerns you have about your children’s dental and oral health.

As Chief of Pediatric Dentistry at Morristown Medical Center and as a Pediatric Dentist practicing in Randolph for over 25 years, I get asked a lot of questions from parents who want to make sure they are doing everything to help take proper care of their children’s teeth.  Recently I appeared with Marissa Brahney on News 12’s Mom’s Minute segment answering these frequently asked questions. 

When should I first take my child to see a dentist?

This is one of the most frequent questions I get asked.  Parents are often surprised to learn that both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry both recommend that children first see a dentist with the eruption of the first baby tooth.  This is to make sure that there are no underlying issues and that the teeth are coming in properly.  At Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph we try to make this process easy for new parents by offering free exams to all children under the age of two. 

What is the difference is between a Pediatric Dentist and a General Dentist?

A lot of people aren’t aware that Pediatric Dentists have an additional two years of training beyond that of a General Dentist.  This additional training is focused on the specific needs of working with children including developmental issues, special needs patients, pediatric dental trauma, pediatric sedation and how to recognize developing orthodontic problems.   Pediatric Dental offices like ours are also geared to be more welcoming to children.  Our office is brightly colored and decorated to appeal to children, we have a fish tank and TV’s playing children’s programming and our staff and hygienists are thoroughly experienced in accommodating the needs of children of all ages and abilities. 

Why do you need to fix decay in a baby tooth if it will fall out anyway?

Baby teeth have a very important role.  They are the place holders for the adult teeth that are forming below the gum line.  Baby teeth not only help a child with language development and are vital to eating but they also help to ensure that a child’s mouth will grow properly while maintaining space for the adult teeth that will follow. 

What are dental sealants?

Sealants are beneficial in preventing dental caries on premolars and molar teeth on children and adults.  A dental sealant is a protective barrier placed in the pits and fissures of teeth.  They seal out food and bacteria which can result in cavities.  Sealants can reduce the incidence of cavities 86% the first year and up to 58% after 4 years.   Most dental insurances cover the cost of sealants in children, sealants do not hurt and children are able to eat after the procedure.

If you have a pediatric dental question that was not answered here please feel free to call Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph at 973-989-7970 and I will be happy to discuss any concerns you may have. 

Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth.  As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur.  Brush your child’s teeth in the morning and before bed time.

For children under the age of 3 use a child-size toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste   with an amount no larger than the size of a grain of rice.

 When your child has two teeth that touch, you should begin flossing their teeth daily.

For children 3 to 6 years of age, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.   Until you’re comfortable that your child can brush on his or her own, continue to supervise their brushing and remind them not to swallow the toothpaste.

If there is one thing at Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph that we know well, it’s kids. On a daily basis in our office we deal with kids approaching situations that are difficult for them, such as their first dental visit or having a cavity filled. The approach we always take is to follow the child’s lead and answer honestly any questions they may have. 

With the current upheaval in our daily lives due to the pandemic of the Corona Virus, our children are aware that their lives are suddenly very different. Their daily routines with school and daycare, play dates and parent’s work schedules have completely been upended. They sense increased stress from the adults in their lives. 

The best way to help your child process what’s going on around them is to answer their questions as best as you can. Listen to your child, assess what knowledge they have gathered about the virus so you can have a sense of how concerned they might be. If your child is very young and hasn’t heard about it yet and just doesn’t understand why mommy and daddy are not at work and why they aren’t at school, that is a very different conversation than if they have heard about people getting very sick.

When you speak to your child make sure you are calm to avoid creating any additional anxiety. Your behavior will tell them how concerned they need to be as much as your words will. Don’t dismiss your child’s fears, do your best to allay them by letting them know that there are many people besides their parents working to keep them safe, like doctors and nurses and scientists working to find a cure. For older children you might want to explain why this virus is so different than any they may have had before.

The important thing to stress with all children is that it is essential, now more than ever, to practice good hygiene. That good hygiene will help to keep them healthy. Demonstrate for your child how to wash their hands for 20 seconds while singing the Happy Birthday song. Advise them to wash their hands, not only after using the bathroom but also before and after each meal and to cough into their elbow when they need to cough. And while we’re talking about good hygiene habits and washing hands, don’t forget about the importance of brushing teeth for two minutes twice a day as well.

One of the most important things we can do right now for our children is to seize this unique situation of increased time at home with our families as an opportunity to create new family traditions.

At Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph, we welcome our patients to remain in our care as long as they are comfortable. Unless a patient needs extensive treatment with their permanent teeth, we will never suggest a patient leave our practice. 

In fact, we have many patients that come back from college and beyond for their cleanings as well as special needs patients that are well into their adult years that are comfortable in our office and enjoy their visits. There is nothing that makes us happier than having patients that we are able to care for while watching them grow up.

The benefit of this continuity in care means that our hygienists and Pediatric Dentists can catch emerging problems, recommend orthodontic care or wisdom teeth extraction because we are identifying issues before they become major concerns.

Pediatric Dentists are uniquely trained to treat the specific oral care needs of teens whose faces and jaws are still growing and changing as the last of their permanent teeth come in. 

As our patients grow from toddler, to big kid to teenager, we take their lead in the tone of the appointment, recognizing their growth and increased independence and maturity.

Our goal is to make every patient feel comfortable and respected as we provide the exceptional oral care they have come to expect from Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph. 

In choosing a dental home for your child there are many factors to consider.  The most important consideration is to find a place where your child will be comfortable as it is a well-established fact that early dental experiences will set the tone for a lifetime of optimal oral health.  

The most obvious difference between Pediatric and General Dentists is in the required training.  Pediatric Dentists undergo an additional two years of specialized training in pediatric care that General Dentists do not. Pediatric Dentists are also proficient in sedation and pediatric dental trauma. Additionally Pediatric Dentists are trained to recognize orthodontic complications in young mouths as they develop.   

One of the most recognizable reasons to choose a Pediatric Dental practice for your child is that the office environment is child friendly.  Pediatric Dental offices are geared to be welcoming to children in their decor and may have toys or televisions with kids programming.  

Recognizing that a Pediatric Dentist is the optimal choice for your child is the first step.  In deciding which Pediatric Dental Practice to choose for your child’s dental home, consider a practice that is passionate about making every visit to their office a positive experience from the moment you enter the office until you leave. 

Consider a practice that supports the community through family friendly events and educational programs, a practice that offers appointments around your schedule and is on call 24/7 for any emergencies.  When you take all these factors into consideration, Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph is the obvious choice. 

If you’d like more information about Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph, please visit the website: or call 973-989-7970 to schedule an appointment.  

At Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph, we are passionate about children’s teeth. Aside from our dedication to caring for kids pearly whites, our other passion is to educate both children and their caregivers on all things impacting optimal oral health.

Often adults don’t truly appreciate the important role baby teeth play in a child’s development. Sure those cute little teeth are adorable in photos or when your child smiles up at you but did you know they also play a vital role in many areas crucial for your child’s optimal long-term health?

One of the obvious first jobs of baby teeth is to allow your little one to begin chewing solid foods. As your child approaches their first birthday these first teeth play an important role in speech development. At the same time as your child is first learning to speak, their adult teeth are forming beneath the gum line, directly below the baby teeth. One of the most important jobs these primary teeth have is to act as placeholders for the adult teeth as they grow and form.

For these reasons, it is vitally important to take optimal care of these first teeth. They should never be thought of as “just baby teeth” instead they should be the instrument for teaching proper oral care that will remain with your child throughout their lifetime. Without baby teeth performing their critical job, proper nutrition, speech, jaw growth and development would not be accomplished.

If you have any questions on the importance of baby teeth or anything regarding your child’s oral care, please feel free to call our office at (973) 989-7970 and speak to one of our pediatric oral care experts.

The selection of toothpaste at the grocery store seems to grow weekly. With a little knowledge about what’s best for your little one, you can successfully navigate this isle and make a toothpaste selection that will make you happy and your child eager to brush.

From the time the first teeth begin to erupt until all permanent teeth come in it is especially important for children to use a toothpaste containing fluoride. Fluoride in toothpaste helps to prevent cavities by strengthening teeth. Until a child is capable of spitting out toothpaste when brushing, a rice or pea sized amount should be used at this stage. While you may not love the idea of purchasing separate toothpastes for your kids, toothpastes with whiteners should be avoided as they are too abrasive for baby teeth which are softer than adult teeth.

In order to get your child excited about brushing it is a great idea to allow them input in selecting their toothpaste. Many manufacturers make kid-friendly options that taste appealing to children and are also tooth friendly as well. You may shake your head at why a 3 year old prefers bubble gum flavor over mint, but the important issue at this age is to get your child to be compliant at brushing for 2 minutes twice a day. The right ingredients are much more important than the flavor of the toothpaste.

Some great, kid friendly options available in most grocery stores today are:

Toms Of Maine

Toms of Maine makes toothpastes that contain fluoride as well as those that do not contain fluoride. The only Toms of Maine toothpastes that contain fluoride are the Fruitilicious Children’s Gel and Outrageous Orange Mango Children’s Toothpaste


Kids 2 in 1 Strawberry Smash or Watermellon Toothpaste


Toothpaste featuring Disney and Marvel characters in flavors like sparkle fun, bubble gum and minty breeze

If you have questions about your child’s toothpaste, or any issues related to their oral health, please give our office a call. Our trained professionals are always eager to provide the answers you are seeking.

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