As a family oriented practice, we are passionate about taking care of children of our dental families. We are firm believers in prevention!
One of our particular interest with kids is cranial facial development. Year after year, we've told kids and their parents, they need to have their crowded teeth straightened by orthodontists, most typically at around age 11-13 when all the adult teeth come in. Nowadays, it is also fairly rare that kids have room for adult teeth to come in straight. But why is that? In search of answers, we studied deeply into pediatric cranial facial development which is closely linked to why teeth would come in striaght or not.
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. We now know if we can help and guide growth in the right direction, 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. This is an exciting new front where we know early intervention can help the teenage and adult years. Please do call if you have any additional questions.
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.
We recommend routine dental cleanings for several reasons. When we perform a professional cleaning, we remove the buildup of plaque and tartar. We also clean the parts of your child’s teeth that are hard to reach, such as underneath the gums.
After a cleaning, we will polish your child’s teeth so that they shine! We can also apply a fluoride treatment, if necessary, to help prevent tooth decay.
Oral Health Exams
We truly believe that regular dental examinations are important in order for your child to have good dental health and a smile of which he or she can be proud. We start by doing a professional cleaning, removing all of the bad tartar and other buildup on your child’s teeth.
We then do an examination, looking to catch and fix any problems before they become bigger ones. We examine each tooth, looking for any signs of decay, damage, or any other problems, such as signs of infection. We want to correct any problems your child may have before they get any worse.
We are usually able to fill in broken teeth to make them look like normal teeth. We even use a cement that is the color of your child’s teeth. If that does not work, we offer veneers and caps to cover up any broken teeth.
We can also fix missing teeth and have many options for how we do so. Typically, we like to place implants, which will act like the tooth’s replacement root. On top of the implants, we use crowns, which are artificial teeth, to restore your child’s mouth with normal-sized and shaped teeth.
One of the most commonly used types of sedation is nitrous oxide, which is also known as laughing gas. This helps many children relax during their procedure.
Nitrous oxide is a combination of two different gases–-oxygen and nitrous oxide. We administer the gas through a small mask placed over your child’s nose. The gas will make your child relax without the full effect of anesthesia.
Silver Diamine Fluoride
We believe that fluoride works well to strengthen children’s teeth. It also has been shown to help prevent tooth decay in people of all ages.
For this reason, the American Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Medical Association believe that topical fluoride is necessary for good oral health.
Because of this, you may be wondering if your child needs fluoride treatments. Often water is enhanced with fluoride, so additional fluoride treatments are not necessary.
Emergency Dental Care
It is very important to be prepared in case your child has an emergency. Even though we wish that they wouldn’t, emergencies do happen. Being educated and knowing what to do in an emergency can be the difference between losing and saving a tooth. You also need to know your dentist’s phone number.
You need to contact us right away if you are having an emergency! If we are not open, go to the nearest emergency center.
Cavities and Fillings
Dental fillings are used to treat different dental problems like cavities and broken teeth. Teeth are usually filled with a material called composite resin, which is designed to look like natural teeth. Fillings can also be done with gold, porcelain, or silver amalgam.
Composite resin takes a little longer, though most people still prefer it because it creates natural-looking teeth. It takes more than one layer, and a special light is used to harden the area around the filling.
Dental sealant is a plastic coating painted on your teeth. It attaches to your child’s teeth, smoothing the rough edges, depressions, and grooves that are typically found on teeth. It gives your child’s teeth a protective coating, helping to prevent tooth decay and cavities.
Sealants are usually done on the back teeth since they are hard to reach and very irregular. Even if your child brushes and flosses properly, he or she may miss some areas. For this reason, sealants are a good way to protect your child’s teeth.
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