Preparedness is key in the realm of pediatric dental care. Regular dental check-ups and preventive measures are essential, but unforeseen emergencies can arise, leaving parents in a state of urgency. That's why maintaining easy access to emergency pediatric dental care is paramount. Sudden toothaches, dental injuries, or broken teeth can occur unexpectedly, requiring immediate attention from spec...
Your kid is going to need teeth cleaning and exams from a dentist soon, but when? It depends on a few key factors. In this article, we will discuss pediatric dental hygiene to help keep your kids on the right path.
When to Take Your Kids to The Dentist for the First Time
Hygienists and pediatric dentists will tell you that if your child has teeth, he or she should see a dentist six months after the first tooth appears. This is even more important for kids with conditions such as cleft palates; these kids need to make sure there are no dental issues interfering with their speech and eating. Other kids can wait until their first birthday, but sooner would be better than later. The American Dental Association recommends an initial dental appointment by age one, followed by one every six months. These appointments typically involve examining the teeth and gums, looking for cavities between the teeth, assessing the growth of the jaws, and checking how well they come together when the baby bites down. The pediatric dental practice check on your child’s risk of decay, which can be influenced by genetics, diet, or even the medications you give your child.
If there are no issues discovered in the first set of visits, biannual checkups are adequate to maintain healthy teeth and gums for most kids. When a problem is found such as a cavity between two teeth, additional appointments might be needed to take care of it before it gets worse. Kids with tooth decay may need more frequent visits so they can receive fluoride treatments and have their diet assessed for sugary snacks and drinks that could be causing or worsening the problem. Some children might need to see a dental specialist, such as a pediatric dentist or family orthodontists.
Dental Problems Your Kids May Have as They Grow Up
Dental problems in children are common, and parents should be aware of the following conditions.
Brushing with too much fluoride can leave tooth enamel mottled or discolored. The condition is called fluorosis when it is permanent after the age of eight. If you are giving your child multivitamins or fluoride supplements, talk with his or her dentist about the amount they contain to ensure that your child does not receive too much fluoride.
A baby tooth may become loose due to being attacked by plaque bacteria, allowing it to fall out behind a permanent successor anchoring in its place in the jawbone. Also, pulling on teeth excessively can cause them to become loose earlier. Your child can also accidentally knock a baby tooth out, in which case you should see your dentist right away.
A permanent tooth may not come in normally, causing its neighbor to shift position and crowd out others in the jawbone. Impacted teeth that are not removed could impact normal tooth growth, prevent the eruption of the next tooth, or create gum disease problems. The extraction of impacted teeth is sometimes postponed until other dental needs have been attended to.
Malocclusion (Bad Bite)
Malocclusion appears when there is an incorrect relationship between the upper and lower jaws or teeth which creates abnormal wear on teeth. Many factors contribute to this condition including genetics, early loss of primary or baby teeth, misalignment of the upper jaw, or gum disease-causing premature loss of primary teeth. Children may require early treatment to prevent more serious problems later in life.
The lip and tongue are held together by a piece of tissue called the labial frenulum which is normally wide enough to allow normal movement. When it is too tight, it can hinder normal movement, which causes an abnormal bite. This condition is not noticeable during infancy but becomes apparent at around 4-10 months old when infants become more active with their mouths and tongues.
The Cost of Seeing a Pediatric Dentist
Like most medical treatments, the cost of seeing a pediatric dentist depends on your location and the dentist’s experience. If the procedure is more extensive or complicated, you’re looking at even greater costs. Also, if anesthesia is needed for any reason, that can add on an additional few hundred dollars to the bill. Insurance companies may cover some of these costs or they could be used as tax deductions or write-offs for self-employed individuals. If this is an issue, talk with your dentist about potential solutions. The health care cost savings of pediatric preventive dental care are difficult to estimate. The most pragmatic estimate would be the cost of treating the untreated dental disease.
The Best Way to Teach Your Kids About Oral Hygiene
Most parents know that instilling good habits in young children is an important part of raising kids, and oral hygiene maintenance can be one of those habits.
Children might not yet be aware that they have to brush their teeth better than just leaving them alone until bedtime, so it’s the parent’s job to teach them about proper brushing techniques and remind them often. But what is the best way to make sure your child does actually want to brush their teeth daily? Here are some tips:
- Make it interesting for children; choose a toothbrush with colorful characters and fun shapes.
- Let your child pick out his own toothpaste; he’ll feel like he has more control over his health if he gets involved in every step of the brushing process.
- Buy a toothbrush holder that your child will enjoy; in general, children are more likely to brush when they’re in their own space.
- Choose fun rewards for getting good results; you can find all kinds of personalized stickers and little toys that kids really love.
The most important thing is not only to have them brush their teeth but also to show them how to do it correctly so they can maintain healthy habits on their own once outside of your supervision. Most kids don’t care about what kind of toothpaste or what style of toothbrush they use because it’s just what parents get for them, so if you want something specific, it might be best to buy these things yourself instead of asking them to choose from a selection. If they have their favorite character on the toothbrush, it’s more likely that they will want to use it, and if they pick out their own toothpaste flavor, they may actually brush longer instead of just spitting out as soon as possible. Whether your child brushes their teeth twice or three times a day is up to you, but teaching good oral hygiene at an early age can be a big step in having healthy teeth throughout life.
What Causes Tooth Decay
Caries, a simple medical term for tooth decay or cavities, happens when the enamel breaks down due to acid attacks by bacteria that form plaque on teeth after eating and drinking foods containing sugars. Repeated exposure to these acids leads to visible holes in the tooth called dental caries or cavities. The process of this damage is known as demineralization where minerals are dissolved from the outer surface of the teeth (enamel) and it cannot be repaired without treatment. Demineralization happens faster than remineralization, which represents a natural reparative mechanism occurring within teeth. Fluoride plays an important role in increasing the resistance of enamel to caries attack by reducing acid formation.
Bacteria in plaque, eating sugary foods and repeated exposure to sugars combined with less saliva flow are all risk factors for dental caries. The bacteria may also create toxic substances which dissolve minerals from teeth, leading to holes or cavities in the teeth. Parents who place their baby to sleep with a bottle containing anything other than water increase their children’s susceptibility to tooth decay since they are constantly exposing them to high sugar concentrations during these nighttime feedings. If left untreated, severe cases of tooth decay can lead to pain, infection, and even loss of affected teeth.
Services Your Kids Might Require as They Get Older
As your child grows up, there might be additional dental services they need to maintain a healthy smile. Here are a few:
In place of a lost tooth, a small titanium post is surgically inserted into the jawbone and allowed to integrate with the surrounding tissue before being crowned as an artificial tooth. Dental implants may be used in place of one or several teeth. They also last longer than other restorations and can continue to function like normal teeth.
Wearers of these implants no longer have to worry about replacing their dental bridge or getting food stuck in between them as is often the case with bridges. Dental implant procedures allow your child’s dentist to securely attach artificial crowns that resemble natural teeth.
Will improve the look of your child’s smile while offering support for their jaw and helping them to speak clearly. They will need to wear fixed or removable metal appliances that use adhesive, wires, springs, or elastic bands to apply pressure to the teeth as they move. A more expensive alternative is Invisalign, a clear plastic aligner that uses gentle pressure to straighten your child’s teeth over time.
In order to repair or cap a broken tooth or protect its replacement such as an implant, the tooth is first prepared and an impression is taken before a permanent crown is created using porcelain or metal.
Dental veneers can be used to hide tooth stains or minor imperfections. These thin shells are bonded to the front of your child’s real teeth using dental adhesives and can change their color, shape, or size. Veneers are practically invisible and result in an aesthetically appealing smile without the need for more invasive dental surgery.
Dentures are removable appliances that can replace multiple or just one tooth, usually for individuals with severely decayed teeth. Dentures are customized to fit your child’s mouth and used either on top of their gums or to support the jaw. They are designed so that they look like natural teeth while also being easy to clean and maintain.
A dental bridge replaces missing teeth by joining together dental implants or a metal framework with crowns attached to a natural tooth or artificial teeth. If your child has any gaps between their teeth, a bridge can help fill them in while improving their appearance and speech. Dentists use impressions of your child’s teeth to get an accurate idea of what the final product will look like before working on its construction.
Throat specialists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of throat diseases. They often work closely with an ear, nose, and throat specialist or another oral surgeon.
The Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends children wait until they are at least 14 years old before considering a dental teeth whitening service. This will allow the teeth to fully develop and reduce the implications of tooth sensitivity.
Taking care of your kids’ teeth is important. Starting dental care when they are younger provides you with the opportunity to develop good dental habits and keeps your child’s oral health in optimal condition. Kids usually get their first teeth at around six months of age and they will continue to develop more until about three years old. Once the primary teeth are in, you should start caring for those teeth as soon as possible with brushing and flossing. It’s never too early to start their oral hygiene.
Your child will probably visit the dentist every six months after the first exam, for checkups and occasional preventive care such as teeth cleaning and fluoride treatments. Some children may need more frequent appointments, especially if they’re at high risk of tooth decay because of frequent snacking or if they have special dental needs related to small jaws or orthodontic appliances. If so, they might need to visit a cosmetic dentists office.