Garden Grove Dental Arts : Marianna Ibrahim DDS


Have kids? Looking for good tooth fairy ideas? Look no further!

Every day, our dentists in Garden Grove work with families of all kinds. From old families – with children who have long since left home, to new families – still learning, growing, and losing baby teeth!

That’s where we’d like to help. Every day our dentists in Garden Grove work with young children who are either starting to lose their baby teeth or already well on their way. But sometimes – parents wonder how they can help support their children when it comes to getting excited about good dental health.

Well, many times – that’s where the tooth fairy can come in (seriously!).

The sheer magic that children will believe in is nothing short of amazing to behold. One way that many parents promote this creativity and get kids excited about their teeth is with the tooth fairy.  But the tooth fairy doesn’t just have to be depositing cold hard cash under your kids’ pillows. You can also get creative with it. Here are some suggestions:

Encourage good dental care by laying some praise on your kids, courtesy of their favorite fairy

Don’t just stop at a dollar or two, what about some praise? Sharpen a pencil really sharp so you can get the writing nice and fine, and lay some praise on your kids for taking such good care of their teeth…here’s an example.

Dear [Child]

I can’t believe how perfect your teeth are! As you may already understand, the tooth fairy collects teeth that children lose from around the world and use them to create special fairy tools in fairyland. Without your perfect teeth – our tools just wouldn’t work like they’re supposed to – and Toothville just wouldn’t be the same! So thank you for taking such good care of your teeth and for helping the Fairy Kingdom stay strong! Keep up the good work!  As a thank you – I hope you’ll enjoy the reward I’ve left for you.

Toothiest Wishes,

Your tooth fairy

To go the extra mile, add the tiny letter with its tiny handwriting to a similarly tiny envelope – with a tiny wax seal, and plenty of fairy glitter.

Leave something more than money behind

Every kid loves getting a visit from the tooth fairy, but have you ever thought about adding a little more wonder to the experience? Imagine waking up only to find that your tooth fairy FORGOT her wand under your pillow? Just google “Tooth Fairy Wand” for a multitude of options to get you thinking.

Leave some footprints on the window sill

This sort of fun isn’t left to Santa. Making the tooth fairy as fun as possible can really help give your children a greater sense of value in their teeth. So while the tooth fairy sure is fun, you can also use her mythical reputation to encourage your kids to stay on top of their teeth.

Fairy footprints left in glitter on the window-sill are just one way to make the whole thing seem more real.

Trying to prove that teeth are valuable? Give them a receipt!

How else can you prove the value of something than by providing a receipt?! The same can be done to great effect with your children. Consider this great idea from

The main point? Make it fun

Being the tooth fairy isn’t just some old-fashioned parental obligation – it’s a tactic to get your kids caring about their teeth.  What better way to do it than with a bit of magic?

Have questions about kids teeth? If your family is looking for a dentist in the Garden Grove area – our dentists would love to help. Contact us today to learn more!

Can Pregnancy Lead to Dental Problems?

These days, when many couples want children they try to have them as close together as possible. It makes sense, right? Get the tough toddler years out of the way as soon as possible and never look back. Sounds like a perfect plan (until they grow up too fast).

But what many young moms don’t realize is that pregnancy demands quite a lot from your body – and that can lead to some specific dental problems.  The good news is that you’re much less likely to experience dental problems in pregnancy if you’re already taking good care of your teeth when you get pregnant. Pregnancy should never be thought of as an excuse for your teeth to go bad! Because with proper care and regular dental checkups during your pregnancy – your teeth will be just fine.

With that said, pregnancy can lead to increased gum disease and tooth decay due to changes in hormones and the way they can influence the plaque in your mouth – which directly affects cavities.

Other problems our dentists in Garden Grove encounter with pregnant patients include:

  • Gingivitis: Gingivitis is run of the mill gum inflammation – and one of the most common afflictions on the planet. It’s most likely to happen in your second trimester in the form of gum swelling and bleeding (especially during flossing).
  • Periodontal disease: this is next level gum disease, and occurs when gingivitis goes untreated. It can lead to tooth loss and blood infection  and should be taken care of as soon as possible. This is incredibly important – since this is where the problem moves beyond your teeth and you risk hurting your baby.

And what about when baby finally arrives? Well – then if you’re a patient in the Garden Grove area – just schedule an appointment when your brand new baby gets their first tooth.

And check out some of our previous articles on pediatric teeth.

Are you Expecting? Our Dentists in Garden Grove Remind You: Your Baby’s Teeth are Growing RIGHT NOW

What to Watch out for With Baby Teeth

Don’t Skip The Dentist When You’re Pregnant


Soothing Baby’s Teething Pain Without Benzocaine


When a newborn enters your life – and for the 9 months until that very fateful day – it always seems like every single person you meet has a piece of advice.

Whether your baby has a skin condition, a bad mood, a curly hair, or his first tooth – there’s always a wives tale or sage bit of advice that you absolutely need to hear.

Unfortunately, you’re always going to end up hearing it. But when it comes to the wives tales about teething – our dentists in Garden Grove really recommend taking any advice with a grain of salt. The best advice we can offer? Just ask your dentist.

The Problem With Benzocaine

Teething can be a miserable experience for babies, and it’s no surprise – pushing teeth through delicate soft-tissue doesn’t feel good! With this in mind, it’s understandable that some parents might turn to products like benzocaine, which can dull the pain from teething. Unfortunately, it’s not the best for your baby.

The problem with benzocaine – according to the Harvard Medical School is the fact that – in addition to numbing pain, it also effectively changes hemoglobin into methemoglobin – which can potentially cause a dangerous condition known as methemoglobinemia. 

What hemoglobin does is gather oxygen from the lungs so that it can help distribute oxygen to tissue throughout the body. However, when the iron in hemoglobin interacts with some chemicals (including benzocaine) it changes its structure so that it holds the oxygen instead of letting it go. Ultimately, this can prevent tissue from getting the oxygen it needs. And because babies are much smaller than adults and have less blood volume, it takes less benzocaine.

Symptoms of this problem often include pale skin, a blue-ish tint to skin, headaches, dizziness, seizures, coma, and – potentially – death. With this in mind, the FDA has been warning parents about the potential problem for years – and are finally beginning to enforce the rule that companies must stop making products that contain benzocaine for children under the age of 2.  

Alternatives to Benzocaine

Fortunately, there are remedies that work just as well as benzocaine (while often lasting longer). And they’re simple. These include small (pediatrician approved) doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen and a cool teething ring.

Do You Need a Retainer?


In the past, we’ve talked about topics like braces, bridges, crowns, and Invisalign (feel free to catch up with some links to past blog posts)

…but what about retainers?

What a Retainer Does

Put simply, a retainer is a relatively simple piece of plastic and metal that’s been custom-made for the patient (child or adult!) that needs it. No two are alike – and they fit the top teeth and hard palate.

Typically, most people that wear braces and have recently gotten them off have to wear a retainer to ensure that the teeth stay in their new position. This is because teeth continue to shift as the mouth grows. In these cases, for example, a child might only need to wear a retainer for 3 months or so. In other cases, a child might only need to wear the retainer at night (but perhaps for a year instead). A retainer might also be used in a similar way to help close a specific gap in the teeth.

In other cases, a retainer might be needed to help with a specific medical problem. Tongue thrust, a condition where your tongue pokes through your teeth when you talk, is often one of them. This trains your tongue to go towards the roof of your mouth instead – and is usually only needed for children.

Yet another reason for retainers is to help correct TMD – temporomandibular disorder. Typically this results from a bite problem or jaw disorder. In this case – a retainer might help prevent your teeth from lining up in a way that allows them to grind at night, which helps prevent other issues like cracks, erosion, sensitivity, and more.

It takes some time and effort

Fitting you for a retainer is easy. Getting used to it and caring for your retainer take a little bit of time, but they are both also very easy.

Most of all, you really don’t want to lose your retainer. Why? Remember when we talked about them being custom-made? That’s right. They’re not cheap.

Also, do make sure you follow your dentist’s recommendations for cleaning your retainer. You don’t want to be putting more bacteria in your mouth when you use a dental device designed to help your teeth instead.

Have a question? 

If you’re a patient in the Anaheim area – our dentists in Garden Grove are here to help you. All it takes is a call!









Pediatric Dentistry: The Negative Side of Pacifiers


For the last few days, we’ve talked about pediatric dentistry and pacifiers. Why? Because new parents have a lot of questions – and the answers aren’t always simple.

There’s quite a lot at stake when it comes to raising your child, and the decisions you make can ripple through the years. So as pediatric dentists in the Anaheim area – it’s our task to try and make sure you have all the information you need to raise healthy, happy children with bright and shiny teeth. The fact that pacifiers can often be misunderstood is unfortunate. Because they can help a great deal. But as the saying goes: too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. And it’s no different for pacifiers.

The Potential Negative Effect of Pacifiers

The biggest question about pacifiers often centers around the concern that they can make teeth crooked and misaligned. The simple answer to this is that, “Yes, pacifiers can and will make teeth crooked” (if they aren’t used with care). Our dentists have seen plenty of children who probably used a pacifier far too often.

To be more specific, pacifier over-use can lead to:

  • An open bite: This is the most common pacifier-related dental problem, and is when the bottom and front teeth are pushed outward – developing around the nipple (or a thumb).
  • High narrow palate: this occurs when the roof of your baby’s mouth is higher than normal and the airway is narrower, which causes the airway to be reduced in size.
  • Problems with intercuspal width in the maxillary arch: “intercuspal” means “between the teeth”. A pacifier can cause the width between the top molars to be narrower than it should be. Which can cause alignment problems in the future
  • Crossbite: More specifically, a posterior crossbite. This is when the front teeth cover the bottom teeth – but the bottom molars don’t exactly behave the same as the top molars.

Why it’s important

It might not seem like a big deal. But once your baby becomes addicted to the pacifier – it can be hard to break the habit. But it’s important to be aware of the possible outcomes of a “pacifier addiction” in order to prevent some serious problems that can develop with your child’s airway and dental development. Some of the most serious problems involve the development of your child’s airway.

In fact, improper airway development can even lead to a wide variety of disorders, including:

  • Exhaustion
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Behavioral problems
  • Insomnia
  • ADHD
  • Obesity
  • And others…

On top of this, an over-reliance on pacifiers can also contribute to difficulty breastfeeding (through nipple confusion or poor latching) and an increased risk of ear infections. However – as most studies show, these downsides tend to be highly dependant on how often and how you use a pacifier. So again – moderation is key. Refer to our tips in yesterday’s post What you should know about pacifiers for some tips.

Pediatric Dentistry: When and How You Should Use a Pacifier


Yesterday we provided a general overview of pacifiers – and why you might want to use (or avoid) them with your baby. The thing is – the entire subject isn’t completely cut and dry.

As we mentioned, our dentists in Garden Grove definitely recommend being careful and using pacifiers with moderation. However – the pros and the cons of pacifiers are far to evenly balanced to completely rule them out.

From the ability to help prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) to the valuable respite parents can get from a simple pacifier – the benefits of pacifiers can seem pretty great. But the downsides can also be problematic as well – ranging from improper oral development to issues with breastfeeding.

There’s a great chance you will want to use a pacifier from time to time. What our Anaheim pediatric dentists recommend is to not completely rule it out. There’s no shame in using a pacifier (at all). Digest the following lists to get a better idea of how and when to safely use a pacifier.

When you should consider using a pacifier

  • Once your baby has formed a strong breastfeeding latch
  • If you bottle-feed, pacifiers can strengthen the baby’s ability to feed
  • Before your baby turns 1, to help prevent SIDS
  • If your baby is in pain, or is in the NICU (and can’t have other forms of comfort, like skin-to-skin contact).
  • When all other methods to sooth the baby have been exhausted, and the baby just won’t. stop. crying.

Bottom line: Pacifiers should never be the first option when soothing your baby.

Some pointers for safely using a pacifier with your baby

  • Don’t force your baby to use a pacifier.
  • Only offer a pacifier between feedings. Never offer your baby a pacifier in order to buy-time or delay a feeding.
  • Don’t use your own mouth to clean it, and always make sure its clean. The bacteria in your mouth can drastically influence the make-up of bacteria in your baby’s mouth and can sometimes increase the risk of cavities.
  • Be sure it’s made from only the safest materials

What You Should Know About Pacifiers


New parents have to make so many decisions.

  • Breast or bottle?
  • Feed on a schedule? Or eat when hungry?
  • Co-sleeping or sleeping on her own?
  • Let her cry, or comfort her tears?
  • What about using a pacifier?

For many new parents, the pacifier is a gift from God – sent down to quickly and effectively squelch the cries and win some peace.  But, as your pediatric doctor and our pediatric dentists in Garden Grove will remind you – it’s important to be knowledgeable about the pros and cons of using a pacifier with your baby.

On one hand, pacifiers are a fast and easy source of comfort for babies. On the other hand, they can have a very noticeable impact on the development of your baby’s teeth.

The thing is, pacifiers can be incredibly helpful. But they should come with a warning label (of sorts). At our dental practice in Garden Grove – one of our favorite parts of being dentists is getting to know families as their children transition from having their very first pediatric dental appointment to watching their permanent teeth slowly move into place.

It’s no secret that new parents want to do everything right – and it’s only natural that this can lead to some anxiety. But the thing is, in the last handful of decades – the prevalence of tools made to make babies “easier” live with also effectively change the way a normal child’s mouth develops. Today, the need for tonsil and wisdom tooth removal is a result of how developing mouths are…well…developing! Bottom line:  if your baby is developing with a pacifier in their mouth – they’re developing differently than nature intended. So naturally – there’s a consequence.

“So what’s the big picture? Should I give my baby a pacifier?”

The question isn’t always easy to answer perfectly. Because ultimately – if we’re concerned with oral development – it’s best to avoid pacifiers. But that’s only if we’re just thinking about teeth. There are other factors at play as well. Like, for instance, the fact that pacifiers severely reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrom (SIDS) by up to 90%.

On top of this, pacifiers can also help prevent mouth breathing, improve jaw function, and provide some much needed quiet for mom and dad (which is also important). While most moms will understand a pacifier shouldn’t be used until a proper breastfeading latch has been established (to prevent nipple confusion) – the pros and the cons don’t exactly outweigh each other.

So what’s the best way to approach pacifiers? Our dentists in the Anaheim area simply recommend care and moderation. Should you have a question? Just don’t hesitate to reach out to your dentist or doctor.

Getting Your Toddler to Brush


At Garden Grove Dental Arts, one of our largest focuses is laying the groundwork for healthy teeth for life. More often than not – that starts at home and in the dentist’s office.

More specifically, this often starts with your child’s very first dental visit – which can happen as early as about one year of age – or, more specifically, by the time your child’s first tooth erupts through their gums.

However, the most important factor when it comes to pediatric dental care is often your child’s diet. Eliminating or at the very least – minimizing – things like sweets and excess sugar from your child’s diet (in the form of candy and juices) can significantly reduce the occurrence of childhood cavities.

But many parents say, “my kids LOVE juice!” and that’s okay. Here’s a really easy tip to keep them eating and drinking what they love without ruining their teeth in the process: water it down.  By watering down drinks like apple juice (which contain as much sugar as soda), you significantly reduce how much sugar your child’s teeth are exposed to.

On top of this, you need to remind your children that technique is king. That means brushing correctly every day, twice a day – with fluoridated toothpaste that’s designed to help protect their enamel. Worried about fluoride? Don’t be. This is why you don’t swallow toothpaste and why you only need a small dab of toothpaste.

How long should parents help their children brush?

If your child is still not getting the hang of brushing by 7 or 8 – an intervention is likely needed. Around the age of 8, brushing should be a solid habit. This could also mean that your child is overdue for a nice and calm visit to our dentist’s office in Garden Grove – where our pediatric dentists have years of experience working with children to ensure they have the foundation they need for years of healthy teeth.

Bonus Tip: Don’t Ignore Baby Teeth

Contrary to what many might think, baby teeth are actually incredibly important. Even though baby teeth may come in one tooth at a time, they can still become decayed. The worst part is if infection goes untreated on a baby tooth – it can impact the permanent tooth that’s growing below it.  So the best course of action is to never take baby teeth for granted.


Have questions about pediatric dentistry in Garden Grove? Our dentists can help! Schedule an appointment with our family dentists to learn how we can help make sure your children have healthy teeth for years to come.  


What makes a pediatric dentist different?: By Primary Dental Care of Garden Grove












Every parent understands how easy it is to put your children in front of your health. Fortunately, when it comes to dental care – you don’t have to. Because getting your kids to take better care of their teeth starts with making sure you take incredible care of your own. That’s where a lifetime of healthy teeth begins – at home, with family.

But outside of the home, you can always count on your pediatric dentist to help ensure your children have healthy teeth for life. But if you haven’t found a pediatric dentist – you might wonder, “what makes a pediatric dentist different?” So today, our pediatric dentist in Garden Grove have weighed in on what it means to focus on little teeth.

Like any other dentist, a pediatric dentist focuses on teeth – but they specialize in treating children. While adult teeth and “baby teeth” aren’t that much different, the patient is very different. Adults  generally don’t need the amount of reassurance or instruction that a child does. Special training ensures a quality of care that results in years of healthy dental checkups.

The dentist’s office can be a very strange and overwhelming place when you’re experiencing it for the first time. Especially when you don’t really understand what’s going on at all. A pediatric dentist will take your child’s very first X-rays, clean their teeth for the very first time, and act as much a teacher as a doctor when it comes to establishing the groundwork for a healthy mouth for years to come.

Because of this, a pediatric dentist develops a knack for speaking to kids on their level, and creating a relationship where your child is actually excited to go to the dentist. Considering the problems that dental anxiety can solve (check out our post: Get Better Teeth and a Happier Smile by Saying Goodbye to Your Dental Anxiety), an excitement for clean teeth at a young age can prevent a world of trouble in the future.

While not every dentist is a certified pediatric specialist, all dentists can care for children. Many general dentists have years of experience working with children (in addition to being parents themselves) but to be a Certified Pediatric Dentist it does require extra certification.



How to Get Your Child to Brush Their Teeth


As our dentists in Garden Grove will tell just about any patient, the easiest way to keep your teeth healthy for a lifetime is pretty darn simple: take care of them. And while that might seem vague, it’s really not. It’s actually really simple – and it all starts with brushing.

But what do you if you can’t get your kid(s) to brush (we won’t even start on flossing yet)? The thing is – it’s a habit. If you have a 9 or 1 0 year old that won’t brush their teeth, there’s a good chance they didn’t make brushing a habit when they were 9, 8, 7, or 5 years old for that matter.

Fortunately, though – if you have a child that refuses to brush their teeth, you have. And it’s definitely a lot better than being stuck with the numerous dental problems an adult would have after neglecting brushing for so many years.

Our tip: change the entire conversation around oral hygiene in your home. But how?

Try Data

People love tracking their progress with anything. Kids are no different. Take some pictures of your kid’s teeth and show them what they look like over time. Brushing and flossing (combined with a healthy diet) will only make teeth cleaner and brighter, and tracking progress should help give your children a new perspective and a personal stake in their dental health.

Try Positive Reinforcement

Easy right? All it takes is a nice word or two (every once in  a while)

“Your teeth look so shiny!”

“Look at those pearly whites!”

“What amazing teeth you have!”

Positive feedback can encourage your kids to actively want more. In this case, that requires keeping up with their oral hygiene.

Call for help

This doesn’t need to be complicated, and it shouldn’t be a fight. But sometimes – you need to call in the “big guns” and in this case, that means your local family dentist. Sometimes, kids just won’t listen to their parents. We get it! But when it’s not just mom or dad telling them their teeth are going to fall out – a few carefully chosen words (and sometimes even photos) by your dentist can go a long way.