Dentistry For Children Resources
Dentistry for children begins with the first visit. We recommend establishing a “dental home” for your child by their first birthday. By choosing a pediatric dentist to work with consistently, your child’s teeth have a much higher rate of staying healthy.
What’s more, establishing a “dental home” allows you and your child to build a relationship with our staff and receive more personalized care. Our goal is to ensure that your child will have healthy teeth their entire life.
During your first visit, we encourage you to join your child in the examination room. However, for subsequent appointments, we recommend that you allow your child to come back alone. Part of our dentistry for children is to establish a place of comfort for your child and to enable them to have their own personal and confident relationship with our staff.
Primary Teeth Essentials
Dentistry for children includes special services that adults don’t need. One of these things is primary tooth care. One of the reasons we recommend establishing a “dental home” by age one is because your child’s primary (or “baby”) teeth are just as important as their adult teeth. These teeth begin surfacing from about 4-8 months of age. Without proper care, mishandled primary teeth health can cause issues for your child, including:
- Speech development
- Chewing and eating
- Development of jaw and muscles
- Effectively guiding permanent teeth to correct positions
You simply can’t underestimate the power of healthy primary teeth!
Part of our dentistry for children includes dental emergencies.
- Toothache – First, try using dental floss to dislodge any food. If the pain persists, contact us or your pediatric dentist.
- Knocked out baby tooth – If you are concerned, contact us during business hours. However, this is rarely an emergency.
- Chipped permanent tooth – Visit us as soon as possible. Timing is of the essence to potentially save the tooth with little to no extra damage. If possible, keep the chipped piece of tooth.
- Knocked-Out Permanent Teeth – If you can find the tooth, handle it gently and minimally. Go to your pediatric dentist, IMMEDIATELY. Don’t try to clean it. If possible, put it back in the socket for the time being. You can use a small cloth or gauze to bite down on to keep it in place. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, place in a small cup of patient’s saliva or milk. Remember to see us as soon as possible. Timing is especially important to minimize damage.
Though fluoride is essential for tooth health, too little or too much can have adverse side effects. Use too little, and your child’s teeth won’t be adequately protected. On the other hand, ingesting too much can cause dental fluorosis. Below are some tips to ensure that your child uses fluoride correctly:
- Take care to read labels (especially for baby formulas). Many baby foods contain fluoride that your child doesn’t need in their system.
- Use baby tooth cleanser on a small child instead of traditional toothpaste.
- Children have a knack for getting into things. Be sure to put toothpaste and fluoride products somewhere safe to prevent your child from possibly ingesting too much.
- Supervise your child while they brush their teeth and encourage healthy brushing habits.
Early Childhood Caries
(commonly known as “Baby Bottle Tooth Decay”)
All parents should be aware of early childhood caries. Caries is an extreme form of tooth decay caused by sugary liquids, including breast milk. The nickname “baby bottle tooth decay” comes from the cause of many cases of caries. Often parents will put their child to sleep with a bottle that contains milk or other sugary liquids. Resting in the baby’s mouth at night can cause rapid decay. If your child requires a bottle at night, use ONLY water to reduce the possibility of caries.
X-rays are an essential part of dentistry for children. Getting regular dental x-rays can and will diagnose problems and conditions that would otherwise get overlooked.
Radiographs used for dental purposes can help:
- Diagnose bone diseases
- Track tooth growth underneath the gums
- Diagnose tooth decay for especially vulnerable children
- Get a better understanding of oral injuries
What’s more, with the help of modern technology, the possible effects of radiation exposure via dental x-rays are astronomically lower than the chances of developing an oral condition for someone who never gets x-rays.
On average, dentists suggest that a child gets one set of dental x-rays per year.