Early childhood dentistry
Our practice strives to be children friendly and we aim to make them feel at home and be comfortable. We welcome parents to sit in the room while we treat the little ones. Children are offered the opportunity to see, touch, and operate the dental equipment to help them become more comfortable with the procedures.
The initial visit is particularly informative for parents as we’ll develop an individualized preventative program for your child. We’ll answer questions about diet, brushing, flossing and any habits your child may currently have or need to adjust going forward. As your child gets older, we’ll keep you informed about their growth and development.
Our primary concern is with promoting healthy growth and development by maintaining teeth and gums through good oral health habits that can be maintained for a lifetime.
The following services are routinely delivered for our young patients:
Proper Child Dental Hygiene Includes:
Baby Teeth Cleaning: Baby teeth should be cleaned as soon as they erupt. Clean your baby’s teeth with a soft washcloth or gauze after every bottle or meal. Do not put your child to sleep with a bottle of
milk, formula, juice, or sweetened liquid. Any un-swallowed liquid in the mouth supports bacteria that produce acids and attack the teeth. Putting your child to bed with nothing more than a pacifier or bottle of water will protect him/her from severe tooth decay.
Brushing and Flossing: Your child should brush before breakfast and in the evening prior to going to bed. Children’s teeth should be brushed after they are given medicine. Acids contained in medicines may eat away at tooth enamel, which serves as a natural protective coating for the teeth. Encourage your children to brush their own teeth once they have the coordination to do so. Replace toothbrushes every two to three months. Parent-assisted dental flossing should commence when two teeth erupt next to each other. Independent flossing should occur when children have the ability to do it on their own (often by six years of age). Flossing is particularly critical in the evening.
Proper Diet: Your child must have a balanced diet to help his/her teeth and gums develop properly. A diet high in sugar and starches may place your child at risk for tooth decay. Sticky foods, such as fruit roll ups and gummy bears, tend to stick on the teeth and are not easily washed away by saliva, water, or milk and may increase the likelihood of potential to cause cavities.
Dental Sealant Application: Dental sealants are used to protect teeth from decay and are appropriate as soon as a tooth erupts.
Fluoride Treatments: Fluoride is a major component in the prevention of childhood dental caries. This is because fluoride alters the molecular structure of the tooth, making it more resistant to acid attack and decay. However, children require the right balance of fluoride treatment. Too much fluoride could be problematic and lead to fluorosis. We’ll advise whether your child needs fluoride treatment.
Mouth Wash: Mouth wash is usually recommended by age seven, provided your child can perform the activity.
We will also evaluate the need for early or interceptive Orthodontics. If this is a recommended treatment, we will refer your child to an Orthodontist.
Building Familiarity, Confidence and Trust with the Dentist
Your children need to see how fun it is to go to the dentist and get familiar with the staff. The goal is to start them early in order to develop a relationship in which they progress from an examination to a cleaning to sealants and any restorative treatment that needs to be done. Children should love coming to the dentist. Dental check-ups should be at least twice a year for most children. (Some kids may need more frequent dental visits because of increased risk of tooth decay). Typically, during a checkup we review your child’s medical and dental history and will gently examine your child’s teeth and oral tissues. We’ll then clean their teeth by removing debris from both the teeth and gums. To strengthen the teeth and prevent cavities, we apply fluoride to renew content in the enamel as necessary. We also provide hygiene instructions to improve brushing and flossing. Should X-rays be required, we’ll discuss with you before any are taken.
Common Children’s Dental Problems
Early Childhood Caries (also known as “baby bottle decay” or “nursing caries”): To prevent tooth decay from a bottle or nursing, night-time breast feeding should be avoided after the first baby tooth begins to erupt. We also encourage your child to drink from a cup as they approach their first birthday, as drinking juice from a bottle will also accelerate tooth decay. Children should not fall asleep with a bottle.
Interproximal Dental Decay (cavities in between the teeth): To prevent tooth decay, gummy and sticky foods should be avoided. Flossing should be encouraged and supervised until the child has the dexterity to floss independently (usually around the time the child can tie their shoes).
Dental injuries and traumas: One of the most upsetting things to a parent and a child is an accident in which a child’s tooth is fractured, displaced or knocked out. The majority of these injuries result from simple accidents, minor falls, sports mishaps or childish pranks. They most often involve the front teeth, so in addition to the discomfort and pain, aesthetics is often an issue. Any injury to the child’s primary tooth has the potential to damage the developing permanent one, especially if the damage occurs before age three. This is why it is important to report any such injury promptly to the child’s dentist.
Gingivitis (bleeding gums): The inflammation of the gums around the teeth due to improper cleaning of teeth. Although systemic factors and general health can modify the tissue reaction to local irritants, gingivitis in all age groups is caused primarily by local irritants. It is nearly always reversible. The usual signs of gingivitis are gums which are swollen and bleed on brushing.