Our dentist have provided informative answers to common pediatric dentistry questions to help parents understand their child's dental health and needs:
Children's primary teeth are essential for their overall health and play an important role in the growth and development of the face. Primary teeth also act as natural space maintainers and guide the eruption of the adult permanent teeth. "Cavities" or decay in primary teeth can cause speech problems, pain, swelling, infection and early loss of primary teeth. This can create crowding, misaligned teeth and the need for extensive orthodontic treatment later on.
The eruption and exfoliation of your child's teeth will be monitored every 6 months at their regular check-up and cleaning visits. Typically, the last baby teeth to erupt are the second molars or "2-year" molars. Most children will be in a stable stage where there will be no loose exfoliating baby teeth or new permanent adult teeth erupting until about the age of 6.
Children between the ages of 3 and 5 begin to show more independence. It is important to be mindful of their oral hygiene practices as well as their diet and snacking habits. Try to avoid sticky snacks and juices daily, and if your child must drink juice daily, limit it to 4 ounces a day with a regular meal. Oral hygiene should include brushing twice a day and flossing if there are no spaces between the teeth. Children at this age cannot brush independently and will need assistance from their parents until they are 6 or 7 years old.
Thumb sucking or pacifier use in infants is normal. Prolonged habits can cause dental as well as orthopedic changes which can include but are not limited to speech problems, flared teeth, front teeth that don't close when biting, crowded teeth, crossbites of the back teeth and narrowing of the arches. We will discuss ways to help discontinue these habits.
Activities such as climbing, jumping and running are all common activities that can result in an injury. Keep an eye on your little ones as best you can.
During this time period, children are in a mixed dentition phase and problems with the jaw and teeth can become apparent. We will check to see if the teeth and jaws are aligned, and how the permanent teeth are erupting in the mouth. Children should be receiving a comprehensive evaluation of orthodontic development around the age of 7 to 9 years old. During this time, we may refer your child to an orthodontist for the benefit of early evaluation.
This radiograph allows the dentist to do an overall evaluation of the joints and position of the adult teeth that are still developing. This typically occurs after the first set of permanent molars have erupted.
Good oral hygiene and nutrition, which includes talking about healthy and unhealthy snack choices, are the best ways for children to prevent decay. Parents should also assist with brushing and flossing until the child is about 6 or 7 years old, or has the dexterity that adults have to brush and floss effectively. Exams and cleanings should happen every 6 months.
This is a quick and painless treatment that protects the posterior teeth. Sealants are a protective coating applied to the chewing surface of back teeth. Sealants fill the tiny grooves where cavity-causing bacteria live. Sealant application is one of the most important preventive treatments available. We use sealants that do not contain Bisphenol-A (BPA).
Frequent use of sports drinks or soft drinks promotes tooth decay. Dental caries is most common in teenagers who frequently drink soft drinks and sports drinks. While sports drinks hydrate, they are also full of sugar and acid that promote tooth decay. A better alternative would be plain water in between meals.
Sealants are placed on the decay-prone chewing surfaces of the molars. Sealants are a highly effective preventive measure that helps reduce the development of caries on the back molars.
We highly recommend mouth guards for all kids that play any type of contact sports including football, hockey, basketball and, soccer. Mouth guards prevent tooth injuries and are also effective in reducing concussions and more severe brain injuries. There are many mouth guard options such as over-the-counter mouth guards as well as custom mouth guards.
Sugar-free gum is actually helpful because it helps stimulate a constant salivary flow which naturally cleans and protects teeth. Just make sure it is sugar-free!
Good oral hygiene practices including regular brushing, flossing and light brushing of the tongue will help manage bad breath (halitosis). Plaque can coat the surface of the tongue and contribute to bad breath. Beyond good oral hygiene practices, if halitosis persists, consult your child's doctor to rule out any underlying issues. Asthma, as well as sinus and throat infections, can contribute to bad breath (also referred to as secondary halitosis).
"Everything went perfect and smooth. My daughter felt safe and didn't cry. Going to the dentist felt like going out for fun."