While caring for children’s teeth is not drastically different than dentistry for adults, there are some differences in the approach dentists take. Dentists who care for pediatric patients will cater their services and methods to little ones in an effort to create a positive relationship with oral health. By focusing on education and prevention in a fun, relaxing environment, pediatric dentists can help empower children to feel comfortable and confident at the dentist’s office.
Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease.
Once your little one has met our team and is comfortable in the office, we will perform a thorough, gentle cleaning. We’ll remove plaque and bacteria and polish each tooth before flossing out those hard-to-reach places.
We may recommend x-rays for your child, especially if they haven’t had them taken before. Digital x-rays are a safe and effective way for us to monitor your child’s developing smile, and can help us catch hidden oral health problems. We require approval from our patient’s parent or guardian before we take any x-ray images.
Your child’s dentist will visually inspect their teeth, gums, and x-rays (if they’ve had them taken) to ensure that their smile is free from cavities or decay. They will also ensure that your child’s mouth is developing correctly, and discuss their findings with you.
Once your child’s dentist has completed the exam, they will recommend further treatment options if necessary. Depending on the treatment, it may be able to be completed during the same visit, or could require scheduling a second appointment.
Whether your child is in need of restorative care, like a filling, or just a regular cleaning and checkup, we’ll help you get them scheduled for their next dental visit.
Just like cleanings and exams for adults, pediatric cleanings and exams are fairly straight forward. Your child’s dental hygienist or dentist will clean their teeth and gums, then their dentist will carefully examine their mouth and any x-rays to look for potential issues with your child’s oral health or development.
You’ll have the opportunity during this visit to speak with your child’s dentist about what to expect during the various stages of their oral development, like when their teeth will be erupting, falling out, then erupting again as adult teeth. We will discuss proper techniques for at-home oral care and hygiene for different age groups, and even talk about nutrition and diet, and how it’s related to your child’s developing oral health.
For children inneed of an alternative to dental fillings,Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) can be used to treat minor-to-moderate toothdecay in baby teeth. SDF is made from a blend of silver, fluoride, ammonia, andwater, and when applied to a cavity, kills the bacteria that cause decay, haltingthe progression and saving the tooth.
The reason we generally only recommend SDF for baby teeth is that the treatment permanently discolors the tooth, turning it black. It’s a good option for baby teeth that will eventually fall out, or for little ones who are too young or uncooperative to receive a traditional filling.
Stainless steel crowns are another effective alternative to traditional fillings for your child. Because they are pre-fabricated in a full range of shapes and sizes, stainless steel crowns can be placed directly onto their tooth to cover and protect it from any additional damage or decay.
Depending on why your child needs a crown, the placement method can vary. If the tooth has experienced significant decay or damage, your child’s dentist will likely trim their tooth before the crown is placed. For more minor cases, the tooth may simply be cleaned, and the crown will be placed directly over the tooth without needing a trim with a dental drill.
Children who lose a baby tooth early may require the placement of a space maintainer. A space maintainer is a dental prosthetic that sits in the gap where a missing tooth used to be, in order to prevent the surrounding teeth from shifting into the now-empty socket.
Space maintainers can ensure that your child’s permanent tooth will erupt properly when it’s ready, so they can avoid any oral development issues that would require orthodontic intervention.
The bacteria that cause cavities can be transmitted by an infant’s mother or other family members.
We recommend that you bring your child in for their first visit by the time they turn two years old.
Starting dental care early has many benefits. First off, it allows your child to become familiar with seeing the dentist, so they are more comfortable with the process and less likely to develop dental anxiety as they grow up. Early visits with the same dentist also allow their doctor to develop familiarity with your child’s oral development, which can help them identify any potential issues early to minimize future issues. By establishing a dental home early on, you can set your child up for a healthy relationship with their oral health and help foster good habits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
To prepare your little one for their dental appointment, it’s important to speak positively about the dentist, and about their oral health. If you have any dental anxiety, it is crucial that you don’t create a negative image of going to the dentist’s office. A good first impression can have lasting benefits for your child’s relationship with their oral health.
It may also be helpful to:
Drinking a bottle of milk or breastfeeding right before bed puts your child at a higher risk for tooth decay.