As a family oriented practice, we are so passionate about taking care of children of our dental families. We are firm believers in prevention!
One of our particular interest with kids is craniofacial development.
We see a growing number of kids these days have underdeveloped jaw. The first sign of underdeveloped jaws is the adult teeth have no room to come in. Increasingly, we are seeing kids having crowding as adult teeth are coming in. But why is that (watch this video)? In search of answers, we studied deeply into pediatric craniofacial development which answers the question of why adult teeth have no room to come in. Typically underdevelopment of the jaw leads to crowded teeth. But not only that, underdevelopment of the jaws could also lead to poor development of airway and breathing, which in turn lead to poor sleep and other medical issues. Many kids do compensate well; however, as kids mature into their teenage years and then into adulthood, some of the symptoms might start to show up.
We now know if we can help and guide growth in the right direction (forward facial growth), kids will sleep better, grow better, and they might have room for their adult teeth when they come in. Our understanding with kids partially came from treating adults with sleep apnea, which we know many had some form of underdevelopment of the size of jaws when they were growing up. We look at tongue anatomy, tongue function, and oral habits. We also will talk to parents about food, diet, allergies, habits which all contribute to possible deficiency of facial growth.
Typical treatment will involve growth guidance appliance (i.e. Myobraces, Healthystart, Vivos Guide) or palatal expanders (Schwartz, DNA, other fixed or removable functional appliances).
This is an exciting new front where we know early intervention can help young children develop into healthy teenager and adults. Please feel free to contact us to learn more about how we can help your child or request an appointment online
Other procedures we perform routinely on children are oral hygiene instructions, cleanings, sealants (as below), pulpotomy (baby teeth root canals), baby teeth extractions, and restorations.
We also work closely with local orthodontists, myofunctional therapist (Physical therapist of the oral muscles) in treatment planning any early bite, speech, and esthetic corrections.
FAQ Pediatric Dentistry
When should I take my child to the dentist for the first time?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommend that your child should see a dentist when the first tooth appears or by the age of one. Your child’s baby teeth will begin coming in between 4 and 8 months. All baby teeth should be present by age 3. Having your child seen regularly by a dentist for exams, cleanings, and fluoride treatments are very important for their dental development and preventing future dental problems. We often talk to parents about bottles, pacifiers,
Are baby teeth important?
YES! Baby teeth help your child speak clearly since teeth are important in creating certain sounds. They are important for nutrition since teeth are needed for chewing. Another important, often over-looked, role of baby teeth are maintaining space for the permanent teeth to erupt into.
When should I start brushing my child’s teeth?
As soon as teeth begin to erupt you can clean the teeth and gums with a moist washcloth. When more teeth are present, you can switch to a soft child’s toothbrush with either a SMALL smear of fluoridated toothpaste or use non-fluoridated toothpaste until your child can spit out the toothpaste. Once your child is able to spit out the toothpaste, use a pea-size amount of fluoridated toothpaste. Getting into a routine of brushing your child’s teeth is very important. Parents should supervise their child with toothbrushing until they are able to brush effectively by themselves.
Will thumbsucking affect my child’s teeth?
Thumb sucking, as well as pacifier use, is common during children’s development. The habit becomes problematic when continued for a long period of time. Prolonged thumb sucking or pacifier use can cause the front teeth to stick out and the front and bottom teeth will not come together (an open bite), as well as narrowing of the upper teeth arch, limiting the amount of space for permanent teeth.
What are the tips for preventing cavities?
- For very young children: Only put your child to bed with a bottle of water, not milk or juice. After you child is asleep, the sugars from these drinks will remain on the teeth through the night.
- Limit the amount of sugary, especially sticky, snacks. The chewy/sticky snacks will remain on the teeth longer, increasing the chances of getting cavities.
- Limit the frequency of meals & snacks. Include treats with meals.
- Keep juices & milk with meals, use water in between meals and with snacks.
- Brush & floss regularly.
- Have your child’s teeth evaluated to see if sealants are needed/recommended.
Are sealants important?
YES! Dental sealants fill in the grooves on the chewing surfaces of teeth, preventing food and plaque from getting stuck in those grooves. This makes the surface of tooth easier to remove any plaque and food, helping prevent cavities.
Is fluoride important?
YES! Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay- it gets incorporated into the developing tooth structure, making the teeth more resistant to decay. Fluoride is usually obtained through drinking water, so before having your child put on a fluoride supplement, the levels of fluoride in your child’s drinking water should be evaluated. If your child is drinking fluoridated water, regular brushing with a fluoride toothpaste (with a parent’s supervision) and fluoride treatments every 6 months at their dentist appointment is recommended. While fluoride is a good thing, too much fluoride can cause flurosis (internal pitting and staining of enamel).
What to do during a dental emergency?
- Toothache: Contact our office to arrange for an appointment as soon as possible. You can have your child rinse their mouth with warm salt water. Use a cold compress if the area is swollen. If needed, give your child either Children’s Tylenol or Children’s Advil. Do not apply the medication directly on the gums or teeth.
- Baby tooth is knocked out: Do not re-implant a baby tooth as this may damage the underlying permanent tooth, which is still developing. Contact our office as soon as possible.
- Permanent tooth is knocked out: Contact our office immediately and come right over. You can rinse the tooth gently in cool water, being careful to hold the crown of the tooth, not the root. Do not scrub the tooth. Gently place the tooth in its socket and continue holding it in place. Do not force the tooth into the socket. If you are unable to replace the tooth, place it in a container immersed in milk or cool water.
- Chipped tooth: Contact our office to arrange for an appointment as soon as possible. Use a cold compress if there is any swelling.
Please feel free to contact us for appointments or if you have any questions at 508-478-3800