An Innovative Approach to Pediatric Dentistry in Los Angeles: The ALFAppliance

The ALF Appliance: A Gentle, Natural Approach to Oral Development in Los Angeles.

For today’s kids, going to the pediatric dentist is about so much more than teeth! Proper development of a child’s teeth, gums, oral tissues, jaw, and oro-facial anatomy can influence the proper development and healthful function of the child’s whole body. Consequently, today’s leading pediatric dentists are evaluating children’s oral health and development and creating treatment plans.

The ALF Appliance: A Gentle, Natural Approach to Oral Development

Traditional methods of orthodontic treatment use fixed brackets (attachment points on the teeth) and wires, as well as straightening and aligning teeth, using the external forces of wires to influence the positioning of the teeth. This approach. Innovative alternatives to traditional orthodontics, such as the ALF (Advanced Lightwire Functionals) Appliance, use the natural forces of bone and muscle development to help stimulate and guide optimal oral cavity development and teeth positioning. Rather than relying on externally applied forces, the ALF Appliance acts to stimulate optimal, genetically-determined development and movement of the bones and connective tissues that form the dental arches, the upper and lower maxilla (jaw), and influence tooth positioning, the shape of the upper palate, and the structure (amount of opening) of the upper airway.

The ALF treatment approach is based on the knowledge that the human body is a complex system of interrelated anatomical structures (bones and connective tissues), organs, vessels, and pathways (nerves, airways, etc.) that the alignment of the teeth, jaws, and facial structures can influence. The ALF approach goes well beyond simply straightening teeth; it aims to create harmony among all components of the face, resulting in improved breathing, posture, and whole-body health. For these reasons, the ALF can be thought of as a whole-body approach to dental development.

Key to the ALF approach is the use of ALF appliances. These appliances are customized to each patient’s unique dental and oral anatomy and particular oral health needs and are designed to guide the growth and development of the teeth and jaws in a more natural way. To design and fabricate a customized ALF Appliance, the patient’s dental arches and teeth can often be scanned using a computerized “light wand,” which produces a 3-dimensional, digital model, thereby reducing the discomfort and anxiety associated with the making of traditional dental molds.

Advantages of the ALF Appliance for Children

One of the many advantages of the ALF Appliance is that it is ideal for kids. Children’s dental needs can be complex, and treatment plans can be tailored to the development of their mouth and jaw structures. ALF for kids is gentle and not typically visible to others, making it particularly appealing to children.

To learn more about ALF appliances, look for an ALF dentist in Los Angeles, CA.

Oralase™ Therapy for Children in Los Angeles, CA: Transforming Pediatric Dental Care

Oralase™ Therapy for Children in Los Angeles, CA: Transforming Pediatric Dental Care

Oral health is of utmost importance, especially for children. Regular dental check-ups and timely treatments are crucial in maintaining a healthy smile. Advancements in technology have allowed for innovative Oralase™ therapy for children in Los Angeles, CA. This procedure is gaining popularity among children’s dental specialists and pediatric laser dentistry practitioners as it provides numerous benefits compared to traditional methods.

What is Oralase Therapy?

Oralase therapy is a gentle, non-invasive dental treatment that utilizes laser technology to help relieve pain, muscle tightness, and restricted or “tight” connective tissue (called fascia) and reduce treatment-related anxiety in children. Oralase therapy is a type of photobiomodulation (photo = light; bio = life (or living tissue); modulation = change). Oralase therapy produces calming sensations such as very gentle warming or a feeling of “release” of tight or painful tissue.

Benefits of Oralase Therapy for Children

  1. Precise and Painless: One of the primary benefits of Oralase therapy is its precise and calming nature. Some children may experience anxiety or be fearful during dental procedures. Lasers can provide a more comfortable sensory experience for young patients,
  2. Minimally Invasive: Oralase therapy for children is not invasive, meaning it does not involve the use of any instruments that touch the skin or oral tissues. This is especially helpful for children who are especially sensitive to physical contact.
  3. Reduced Dental Anxiety: Traditional dental treatments can be intimidating for children, leading to dental anxiety. However, Oralase therapy offers a less intimidating experience, making it easier for kids to cooperate during dental procedures.

Choosing a Children’s Dental Specialist in Los Angeles, CA

When considering newer treatment options, such as Oralase therapy for your child, it’s essential to choose a children’s dental specialist who is experienced in pediatric laser dentistry. Look for a reputable kids’ dentist who offers comprehensive oral care services and is well-versed in using laser technology. Consider factors such as their certifications in the use of specific technologies or procedures, referrals from other trusted pediatric specialists, and positive patient reviews (especially “word of mouth”) to ensure your child receives top-quality dental care.

How to Find the Best Pediatric Dental Specialists in Los Angeles, CA

pediatric dental specialists los angeles ca

Choosing a pediatric dental specialist can seem like a complicated affair. How do you find the “right” dentist for your child?

Fortunately, there are practical ways to choose between many pediatric dental specialists in Los Angeles, CA.

Treatment Philosophy and Office Environment

Most important is finding a pediatric dentist whose approach to treating children (treatment philosophy) most closely matches your preferences and makes you feel comfortable that the dentist truly understands your style of parenting, your unique parent-child relationship, and the individual dental, medical, and/or special needs of your child. Parents who are highly involved in their child’s health and dental care and who do a lot of their own research are likely to benefit most from a pediatric dentist who devotes a lot of attention to learning about your child’s entire health experience (not just dental experience), from birth to present day. You may want to look for specialists who emphasize a “whole body” approach to oral care. Such specialists usually describe their practice philosophy (the way they think about patient care) as “integrative,” “holistic,” (in the sense of comprehensive, not just “natural”), and/or “multidisciplinary.” These specialists also tend to focus more on patient needs and desired treatment outcomes (due to patient health history, unique developmental issues, or more “complex” health issues) rather than on types of procedures, such as orthodontics or tooth whitening.

When looking for, interviewing, or “trying out” a pediatric dental specialist, it is helpful for the parent(s) to share as much detail as possible about the child’s pre-natal, delivery, and immediate post-natal health history, as well as details about the pregnancy in general, early feeding experience, and developmental or behavioral issues or experiences.

Reading Online Reviews

Of course, parents research pediatric dentists online. However, be aware that search results are heavily influenced by how much dental providers spend on online marketing (pay-per-click ads, search engine optimization, website design) and the algorithms that service, such as Google Ads, Yelp, etc., to direct traffic. Don’t be overly swayed by online visibility or rankings (“The 5 Best Pediatric Dentists in Near You”). Nor should they be overly influenced by credentials. Instead, focus on how pediatric dentists describe their treatment philosophy and practices. When reading reviews, look for consistency of comments about meaningful things; beware of excessively mean-spirited, petty, or highly personalized complaints. These rarely reflect common patient perceptions. Look for comments that convey thoughtful information (positive or negative!) about the dentist’s office, personality, and professionalism. Nevertheless, keep in mind that online reviews could be biased and dishonest.

Seeking Referrals and Recommendations

Pediatricians are an obvious source of referrals. Perhaps less obvious but very well-informed and “networked” are lactation consultants, speech pathologists, myofunctional therapists, and occupational therapists. Online parenting groups that share advice for like-minded parents can also be a good place to “ask around.”

Looking at Dentists’ Continuing Education & Certifications

Truly, the best pediatric dentists constantly pursue additional education, as well as certifications in innovative treatment methods and technologies. Acquiring advanced education takes a lot of dedication, time, and financial sacrifice. Look for pediatric dentists with specialized training and certifications in such areas as dental appliances (for example, the ALF Appliance) and laser dentistry (company training certifications, plus technique certifications, such as BabyLase and Oralase). Additionally, ensure that the dentist’s credentials are from an accredited institution.

New Book Helps Parents Understand How the Tongue Contributes to Airway, Breathing, and Other Health Issues in Children

New Book Helps Parents Understand How the Tongue Contributes to Airway, Breathing, and Other Health Issues in Children

A newly published book, with the catchy title, “Is Your Tongue Killing You?” with a chapter for parents and pediatric professionals contributed by Dr. Hila Robbins of Los Angeles, CA, presents valuable input from an international panel of experts to provide fascinating and helpful insights on the role of the tongue in oral and whole-body health and wellness. The book is available now on Amazon. Conceived and curated by primary author Joy L. Moeller, BS, RDH, AOMT-C, the widely recognized pioneer and thought leader on the topic of oromyofunctional therapy, “Is Your Tongue Killing You,” is targeted to adults and parents and their care providers. Joy Moeller and her contributing authors share their decades of clinical experience, their personal stories, and their treatment successes.

“Is Your Tongue Killing You” is organized around the principles and therapeutic role of orofacial myofunctional therapy, defined as the “neurological reeducation of orofacial muscles.”

For parents of young children, the book contains highly relevant information, case studies, descriptions of treatment options, and expert insights on topics including:

  • Sleep and sleep disorders
  • Breathing and airway disorders
  • Chewing
  • Swallowing
  • Breastfeeding
  • Thumb sucking (and how to stop it)
  • Facial development
  • Correcting a crooked smile
  • Treating restricted oral tissues, such as tongue ties and lip ties
  • Understanding the root causes of health issues

Parents of children exhibiting any one or more of these issues will find practical and supportive information in Joy Moeller’s book. Indeed, parents may find insightful clues into their own history (possibly not previously known) with oromyofunctional disorders in the pages of the book. Indeed, Dr. Hila Robbins of Los Angeles, CA’s book chapter candidly describes Dr. Robbins’ own realization, inspired by Joy Moeller and her teachings, how growing up with myofunctional disorders contributed to her health issues. Dr. Robbins also explains how her personal journey with myofunctional disorders has given her a greater appreciation and understanding of how her pediatric patients are affected by myofunctional disorders.

  • As a parent, it is natural to want the best for your child, and their health should always be a top priority. Suppose your child is experiencing any of the problems in the areas listed above or suspect that your child has a myofunctional disorder. In that case, it is worth discussing with your pediatrician or a pediatric dental specialist. Consultation, diagnosis, and the right treatment plan from a kid’s dentist specialist can positively impact your child’s overall health and well-being.

The Ultimate Guide to Treating Pediatric Sleep-Disordered Breathing in Children

sleep and breathing treatment for children los angeles ca

As parents, we always want what is best for our children. From making sure they eat healthy foods to ensuring they get enough exercise, we prioritize their well-being above all else. However, one crucial aspect of their health often goes unnoticed—sleep disorders.

Many children suffer from poor sleep due to breathing problems caused by an insufficient airway. This condition is known as sleep-disordered breathing or SDB for short. Obstructive sleep apnea is one type of sleep-disordered breathing caused by the involuntary collapse of the airway during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea is typically considered a medical problem, whereas airway insufficiency or an inadequate (too narrow, partially restricted) can result from what is typically considered “dental problems,” such as tongue ties, which inhibit proper tongue movement, and narrow palate, which tends to reduce the volume of the upper airway. Other contributors to sleep-disordered breathing are a “slumped” or forward head posture (as when a child’s head is constantly bent forward and down when using a smartphone or tablet) and excessive mouth breathing.

Sleep-disordered breathing can result in poor sleep quality, fatigue, inattention while awake (as at school), hyperactivity, and reduced performance. Sometimes, these issues can be misinterpreted by parents and teachers as purely “behavioral problems” to be treated with medication, whereas these problems may, in fact, be caused by poor sleep.

Thankfully, through proper airway and breathing treatment for children in Los Angeles, CA, sleep-disordered breathing doesn’t have to take away from your child’s quality of life.

How Can Pediatric Sleep Disordered Breathing Be Treated?

If your child is experiencing poor sleep, consult your pediatrician and your pediatric dentist. If an insufficient airway and poor breathing are disrupting restful sleep, properly trained and equipped pediatric dentists can conduct a thorough oral and upper airway exam and can offer a range of personalized treatments [I linked “personalized treatments” to the Patient Education Page], such as laser-assisted tissue release, myofunctional therapy and use of an oral appliance to aid with proper development of the palate and upper airway.

What Is a Pediatric Dentist?

pediatric dentist los angeles ca

A pediatric dentist is a dental professional specializing in the oral care of infants (including newborns), young children, adolescents, and teenagers. Pediatric dentists provide a range of treatments specific to these young patients ‘ dental needs. Read on to learn more about what you can expect when visiting a pediatric dentist in Los Angeles, CA.

What Do Pediatric Dentists Do?

In the traditional sense (think back to when you were a kid!), pediatric dentistry is concerned with the development of a child’s teeth, gums, tongue, oral tissues, jaw, and airway. Yet, today’s pediatric dentist is really a comprehensive health specialist who considers oral health in the broad context of “whole body” health and wellness. Of course, your kid’s dental specialist will provide traditional preventive dental care such as oral examinations, prophylaxis (teeth cleanings), cavity prevention and fillings, and various types of ” early interceptive” treatments, including the use of oral appliances to protect children’s teeth from damage and prevent later developmental problems.

Pediatric dentists also educate new parents and children on good oral hygiene habits, provide advice on proper nutrition for strong and healthy teeth, and, when necessary, handle emergency care and other needs as well. Yet, today’s pediatric dentists do so much more! They consult on proper development and emergent oral health issues in newborns. They can help to ensure proper breastfeeding, working in concert with lactation consultants. They can diagnose and treat tissue constrictions, such as tongue ties and lip ties, that may otherwise impede optimal oral-facial development, breathing, and speech. They can implement early interceptive treatment plans to facilitate proper orthodontic development. They can help to diagnose and treat airway issues that may impair healthful breathing and sleep.

To put it simply, today’s pediatric dentist is a comprehensive oral health and wellness specialist and an important member of the multi-disciplinary pediatric care team.

What Type of Children’s Dental Specialist is Right for My Child?

Children's Dental Specialist in Los Angeles, CA

A children’s dental specialist in Los Angeles, CA, is simply a dentist who treats children, right? If only it were so simple! We used to refer to a dentist who specializes in treating children as a “pedodontist,” but today, “pediatric dentist” is the term more commonly used. A pediatric dentist has completed the traditional 4-year doctoral training in dentistry plus a two-year, post-doctoral specialty residency focused on pediatric dentistry. Some pediatric dentists, including Dr. Hila Robbins in Los Angeles, CA, have also completed a post-doctoral fellowship at a children’s hospital and gained additional experience in caring for hospitalized children or outpatients.

Traditionally, pediatric dentists have focused on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of common dental problems, such as tooth decay, dental pain, infection, cleanings, referrals to other specialists, and early orthodontic intervention. Yet, today’s pediatric dentists treat much more than the teeth and gums. Today’s pediatric dentists take a comprehensive, “whole-body” approach to dental health, as it relates to the entire body because of the interrelation and interaction between the health of the teeth, gums, and oral cavity to whole-body health.

Today’s pediatric dentists are also adopting and following practice philosophies and new modes of treatment that go beyond “traditional” care an incorporate research and evidence from other disciplines. Thus, more pediatric dentists are taking a multidisciplinary approach to their practices.

In addition, pediatric dentists may now refer to their practices or be known among colleagues and parents as alternative, holistic, natural, integrative, functional, or biological, to name the most popular “non-traditional” approaches to care. It is important to note that these terms are neither precise nor mutually exclusive. The terms can mean different things to different people, and also, pediatric dentists may combine elements of different practice philosophies or choose different modes of treatment, to adapt to different parental and patient preferences and health situations.

In future blog posts, we will explain “non-traditional” approaches to pediatric dentistry in more detail.

Pediatric Sleep Disorder?

Sleep Disorder Treatment for Children in Los Angeles, CA

When thinking about the topic of sleep disorders, most people think about obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a chronic condition characterized by the collapse of the upper airway during sleep, which afflicts approximately 3% to 7% of adults1 and 1% to 5% of children2 However, obstructive sleep apnea is just one specific type of sleep disorder. While people look for a single cause or a definitive diagnosis, sleep disorders typically arise from a combination of physiological and anatomical factors.

Obstructive sleep apnea is widely recognized, but other conditions, such as sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) and problems caused by poor dentition (positioning of the teeth), a restricted airway (as may be caused by a narrow palate), or even poor posture, can contribute to or cause sleep problems.

Proper diagnosis of sleep disorders should include a thorough medical and dental history and examination and, if indicated, various sorts of tests and, possibly, imaging (for example, scans of the upper airway). Pediatric dentists, such as Dr. Hila Robbins in Los Angeles, CA, have special training and resources to assess and treat children suffering from sleep disorders.

Signs of poor or disordered sleep in children include:

Snoring, Often with Pauses, Gasps, or Snorts Between Breaths

Heavy Breathing While Sleeping

Extremely Restless Sleep

Bedwetting (Especially if the Child Previously Stayed Dry at Night)

Daytime Sleepiness

Behavioral Problems

Notice that your child shows signs of a possible sleep disorder. It might be time to reach out to your pediatrician and pediatric dentist for a clinical assessment and possible treatment options.

How Does BabyLase Work?

Babylase Non Surgical Therapy Procedure in Los Angeles, CA

It’s not unusual for newborns and infants to need a little help with breastfeeding. Breastfeeding problems may be caused by tight or restricted oral tissues or by an uncoordinated or under-responsive nervous system that is not properly integrating sensory inputs and motor (muscle) outputs. Pediatric dentists, such as Dr. Hila Robbins, are specially trained to look for and recognize these anatomical and functional issues and have a range of potential solutions to offer. One such solution is BabyLase, a non-invasive (non-surgical) therapeutic procedure using laser light. In Los Angeles, CA, pediatricians, lactation consultants, and pediatric dentists may recommend BabyLase may to “relax” tight or restricted tissues and help “turn on” reflexes, integrate nerve function, and improve oral function important to breastfeeding, such as latching, sucking, and swallowing.

Learn how BabyLase therapy for children works so you can prepare for the procedure.

Laser Light Is Administered

The BabyLase procedure uses a specific wavelength of highly focused (the technical term is “collimated”) light to relax tight or restricted tissues and to stimulate neural activity in a coordinated manner. Laser light is applied to the arms, hands, face, neck, and mouth. During a treatment session, the baby may feel a mild warmth from the light and will not be in any pain.

The Ability to Heal Improves

The type of laser light used for BabyLase procedures improves blood flow and can reduce restrictions to the fascial layer (bands or sheets of connective and supportive tissue) beneath the skin. The laser light also promotes tissue relaxation, pain reduction, and inflammation reduction. This allows the body to heal more effectively and alleviate the kinds of post-procedure complications associated with conventional, invasive procedures.

The Reflexes are Switched On

During a BabyLase procedure, laser light is directed in a specific sequence that stimulates the senses and improves nerve-muscle communication. The goal is to allow the baby’s reflexes and muscle function to flourish balanced.

Consult with a Pediatric Dentist

If you and your baby are experiencing difficulties with breastfeeding, ask your pediatric care team about BabyLase or contact Dr. Hila Robbins’ office to schedule a consultation. Dr. Robbins can determine if BabyLase is the right procedure or if other pediatric dentistry treatments are needed.

What a Biological Dentist Does

Pediatric Biological Dentist in Los Angeles, CA

Biological dentistry is a comprehensive approach to dental care that recognizes the clinically significant relationship between oral health and whole-body health. Sometimes referred to as the “mouth-body connection,” this relationship has inspired a large body of well-validated research, revealing how unhealthful conditions of the oral cavity can negatively impact the cardiovascular system, the immunologic system, respiratory function, nutrition, and even sleep—and more.

The modern practice of dentistry, including pediatric dentistry, is about much more than teeth and gums. Indeed, the practice of dentistry today incorporates and applies a wide body of knowledge from the fields of biology, physiology, medicine, biomechanics, biomaterials, photonics, and high-tech advancements in laboratory science, digital imaging, 3-D computer modeling and automated manufacturing of dental restorations (e.g., crowns) and oral appliances. Applying these sciences and technologies, biological dentists are having a truly revolutionary and highly beneficial impact on the practice of dentistry, offering patients, including children:

  • A deeper understanding of the underlying biological and physiological basis of oral and systemic disease or conditions.
  • A better understanding of the relationship between oral health and whole-body health, and vice-versa.
  • Reduced reliance upon or total elimination of invasive oral procedures, resulting in greater patient comfort, less pain, and faster recovery from procedures, such as cavity filling or surgery on soft tissues. For example, dental lasers, rather than traditional drills, may be used for “no-touch” cavity preparation or cutting of soft tissue.
  • Reduction or elimination of certain medications, products, or materials that may not be appropriate or well tolerated in some patients or that may be replaced by more “gentle” methods or forms of treatment.
  • Use of more “natural” ingredients or more bio-compatible materials.
  • Consideration of a wider range of “non-traditional” or “alternative” treatment options (sometimes referred to as “holistic” or “natural” dentistry).
  • Greater emphasis on nutrition, behavioral changes, and whole-body health.

Pediatric biological dentists tend to emphasize infancy and early childhood development issues, establishment and reinforcement of positive habits and behaviors, reliance on the body’s natural forces for optimal growth, and recognition of the body’s self-healing and self-corrective tendencies.

Health-conscious parents across the country are actively looking for more comprehensive, natural, gentle, less invasive, and less forceful solutions to traditional dental procedures. Parents are finding more alternatives by going to a pediatric biological dentist in Los Angeles, CA.