Pediatric Dental Topics
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a dental check-up at least twice a year for most children. Some children need more frequent dental visits because of increased risk of tooth decay, unusual growth patterns or poor oral hygiene. At Cornerstone Kids Dental, we will let you know the best appointment schedule for your child.
Tooth decay is not the only reason for a dental visit. Your pediatric dentist provides an ongoing assessment of changes in your child’s oral health. For example, your child may need additional flouride, dietary changes or sealants for ideal dental health. The pediatric dentist may identify orthodontic problems and suggest treatment to guide the teeth as they emerge in the mouth.
Preventing Tooth Decay
Four things are necessary for cavities to form: 1) a tooth; 2) bacteria; 3) sugars or other carbs; 4) time. Dental decay is an infection of the tooth. Studies show that children with poor oral health have decreased school performance, poor social relationships and less success later in life. Children experiencing pain from decayed teeth are distracted and unable to concentrate on schoolwork. (source: AAPD.org)
It is very important that primary teeth are kept in place until they are lost naturally. These teeth permit your child to chew properly, are involved in speech development, and help the permanent teeth by saving space for them.
Getting an early start in regular dental care is an important step on the road to teaching your child healthy lifetime habits. The first dental visit should occur shortly after the first tooth erupts and no later than the child’s first birthday. At the first visit, we will prevent a program of preventive home care, caries risk assessment, and the latest information on growth and development.
Adolescents have special needs. Appearance and self-image are very important to them. Decayed or poorly positioned teeth or jaws might make them more self-conscious. Pediatric dentists provide a professional, sensitive and caring approach to restoring and guiding teeth, and teaching preventive dental health care through the teen’s high school years.
An integral part of a pediatric dentist’s education is concerned with the medical and dental health of the special patient. People with significant medical, physical, or mental disabilities often present challenges to dentists. Our training allows us to address their special needs and provide the best care possible.
Daily brushing and flossing are fundamental to a child’s dental care. Brushing removes bacteria and prevents the formation of plaque on the teeth. Otherwise, bacteria in the plaque produce acid that eats away at the tooth’s enamel and causes cavities. A child should begin brushing as soon as the first tooth comes in. Flossing is also important, as it removes bacteria and plaque that the toothbrush can’t reach. With young children, floss their teeth daily. When the child is old enough, a floss holder can help. Your pediatric dentist can help develop a preventive plan to help your child avoid cavities.
What about fluoride?
Fluoride makes tooth enamel stronger in order to help prevent cavities. It’s important to find out if your community water has fluoride. Ask your pediatric dentist if your child is getting the proper amount of fluoride. Your dentist will help create a preventive plan for your child with the optimal amount of fluoride that he or she may need.
Don’t forget sealants
Sealants are a safe and effective way of protecting your child’s back teeth from decay. A thin plastic coating is bonded to the chewing surfaces of the molars. The sealant forms a barrier that doesn’t allow food or bacteria to penetrate into the grooves and pits of those molars, protecting against cavities.
Early Infant Oral Care
Nighttime bottle feeding should be stopped by age 1. However, teeth should be brushed as soon as they appear in the mouth. This is also the time you should schedule your first visit with our office. When a child is transitioned to a “sippy cup,” water is the recommended content. If you choose to give your child any sugary liquids (like juice or milk with cereal, or chocolate syrup, in example), then you should rinse your child’s mouth with water right after, and limit sugary liquid intake to only 6-8 oz per DAY. Sipping sugary liquids all day, whenever your child wants, can contribute to cavities.
Dental Radiographs (X-Rays)
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends radiographs and examinations every six months for children with a high risk of tooth decay. On average, most pediatric dentists request radiographs approximately once a year. Approximately every 3 years, it is a good idea to obtain a complete set of radiographs, either a panoramic and bitewings or periapicals and bitewings.
Pediatric dentists are particularly careful to minimize the exposure of their patients to radiation. With contemporary safeguards, the amount of radiation received in a dental X-ray examination is extremely small. The risk is negligible. In fact, the dental radiographs represent a far smaller risk than an undetected and untreated dental problem. Lead body aprons and shields will protect your child. Today’s equipment filters out unnecessary x-rays and restricts the x-ray beam to the area of interest. High-speed film and proper shielding assure that your child receives a minimal amount of radiation exposure.