As a family dentist, providing dental care for children is at the center of everything we do at Vanek Dentistry. Just like adults, children are often fearful of visiting the dentist. Our friendly and patient staff will do everything possible to make your child feel comfortable and relaxed.
Common Pediatric Dental Procedures
Pediatric dentistry is an important field of dentistry that focuses on the oral health of children from infancy through adolescence. As children's teeth and mouths continue to develop and change, it is essential to provide them with specialized dental care that is tailored to their unique needs. One aspect of this care involves performing routine dental procedures that can help prevent tooth decay and maintain good oral health in children, they are typically painless and can be completed in a relatively short amount of time.
A dental checkup is recommended every six months for children to prevent cavities and other dental problems. During a checkup, a thorough examination of the mouth, head, and neck is performed to detect potential issues.
This is a procedure in which a dental hygienist or dentist removes plaque and tartar buildup from a child's teeth. The teeth are also polished to remove surface stains, and fluoride may be applied to help prevent tooth decay.
Fluoride is a mineral that helps to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent cavities. A fluoride treatment involves applying a fluoride gel or varnish to a child's teeth, usually after a cleaning.
Sealants are thin plastic coatings that are applied to the chewing surfaces of a child's back teeth (molars). The sealants fill in the crevices and grooves on the teeth, making it more difficult for bacteria and food particles to get trapped and cause decay.
Common Pediatric Dental Problems
Preventing dental problems in children involves a combination of good oral hygiene habits, a healthy diet, and regular dental checkups. If a problem does occur, prompt treatment can help prevent it from becoming more serious.
Cavities and Tooth Decay
Cavities, also known as dental caries, are one of the most common dental problems in children. Cavities are caused by bacteria that produce acid when they come into contact with sugars and carbohydrates in the mouth. Over time, the acid can eat away at the tooth enamel and form a cavity. To prevent cavities, it's important to encourage children to brush their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, floss daily, and limit sugary and starchy foods and drinks. Regular dental checkups can also help catch cavities early before they become larger and more painful. Treatment for cavities typically involves removing the decayed portion of the tooth and filling the area with a dental filling material.
Gum disease is another common dental problem in children, especially those who are older or have braces. Gum disease occurs when bacteria in the mouth build up and cause inflammation in the gums. Symptoms can include red, swollen, or bleeding gums, bad breath, and loose teeth. To prevent gum disease, children should brush and floss daily, avoid tobacco products, and eat a balanced diet. If gum disease is diagnosed, treatment may involve a deep cleaning called scaling and root planing or in more severe cases surgery.
Tooth trauma, such as a knocked-out tooth or a chipped tooth, can also occur in children. If a permanent tooth is knocked out, it's important to try to re-implant the tooth immediately or store it in a container of milk or saline solution until you can see a dentist. Chipped teeth can often be repaired with dental bonding or dental crowns. In some cases, a root canal may be needed to save a damaged tooth.
Frequently Asked Questions
When should I start brushing my baby's teeth?
You should start to clean your babies gums before they have teeth. Using a soft cloth or your finger to gently wipe their gums will help keep them bacteria free and healthy. Once your baby has teeth you should start brushing them to avoid tooth decay or any other oral health issues, but it's more important to make it fun than to be perfect about brushing from year 1-6yrs old. If you use toothpaste only use a tiny amount and try to angle you child’s head down so that the toothpaste can dribble into the sink or a washcloth so they do not swallow it.
When should I take my child to the dentist for their first check-up?
You should take your child to the dentist within 6 months from when their first tooth appears or by their first birthday. Early dental exams are important to identify any potential problems with their teeth, mouth or gums. Early detection of any issues will prevent these issues getting worse or becoming more difficult to treat.
Will thumb sucking or using pacifiers damage my child's teeth?
Persistent sucking can cause pressure on the teeth which over time could affect the placement of the child’s permanent teeth and the shape of their jaw causing biting issues. However, if they don't stop sucking their thumb or pacifier before their permanent teeth come in one useful trick is to "mail" the old pacifiers to a cousin or other newborn that needs them... this helps them wean off the bad habit.
How often should my child see a dentist?
Children should see a dentist every six months for regular check-ups and cleanings.
How do I help my child feel comfortable at the dentist?
Parents can help by talking to their child about what to expect at the dentist, reading children's books about going to the dentist, and choosing a pediatric dentist who is experienced in working with children and has a kid-friendly office environment.
What can I expect during my child's first dental visit?
During the first visit, we will examine your child's mouth, teeth, and gums and may clean your child's teeth if necessary. We may also discuss oral hygiene and will answer any questions you have about your child’s dental care.
How can I help my child maintain good oral hygiene?
Parents can help their children maintain good oral hygiene by encouraging them to brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, floss daily, and eat a healthy diet that's low in sugar and starches.
What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a regular dentist?
Pediatric dentists have additional training in treating children, including infants and children with special needs.