Choose a Dentist That Offers Pediatric Dentistry
A family dental practice that provides pediatric dentistry will be able to look after the oral health of all your family in one convenient location. This allows the dentist to get to know your family and paves the way for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums for your children.
The dentist will monitor your children for any developing dental problems, and early intervention can prevent issues such as loss of their permanent, adult teeth in the future. Seeing a family-friendly dentist from an early age will also give your youngsters a positive perception of dental care and help them to develop good oral health habits through to and during adulthood.
What Can a Family Dentist Do for My Children?
Some general dentists may treat only adults and older children. Specialist pediatric dental practices have age limits too and often don’t have patients over the age of 18. But family dentists offering pediatric dental services can take care of the dental needs of both you and your kids. Child-friendly dental offices are experienced in putting kids at ease and gaining their trust, explaining dental terms and procedures in a way younger patients can understand. And the dentist can advise you and your children on oral hygiene measures at home. A dental practice offering kids’ dentistry will provide a broad range of preventive and restorative pediatric dental services that help ensure the ongoing oral health of your children.
Preventive Pediatric Dental Services
Baby teeth play a crucial role in reserving space for adult teeth. If baby teeth are lost prematurely, the remaining teeth may move and obstruct the emergence of permanent teeth. However, primary teeth are susceptible to the same problems as adult teeth – cavities and gum disease, the leading causes of tooth loss. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say 20 percent of kids aged five to 11 get tooth decay. Gum infection is also common among children who still have their primary teeth. Preventive pediatric dental services in the form of regular check-ups including X-rays reduce the risk of your children developing cavities or gum problems. These exams also incorporate a professional cleaning to remove plaque from teeth.
Other preventive dentistry measures for kids include:
- Fluoride treatment. Fluoride helps to prevent tooth decay by strengthening dental enamel. Professional fluoride treatments are far more effective than over-the-counter products containing weaker levels of fluoride.
- Dental sealants. These thin, plastic coatings for back teeth help to avoid cavities after children get their permanent teeth around the age of 12 to 14.
Restorative Pediatric Dental Services
Restorative dentistry for kids includes:
- Fillings. Fillings prevent decay from penetrating deeper into a tooth or spreading to surrounding teeth. Tooth-colored composite fillings provide a more natural-looking alternative to silver amalgam fillings.
- Crowns. Dental crowns – also called dental caps – encase the entire tooth and can be used in more severe cases of decay.
- Orthodontic treatment. Braces or plastic aligners like Invisalign correct the problems of crooked teeth and bite irregularities.
Tooth Extraction and Space Maintainers
Your family dentist will do everything possible to protect your children’s teeth. Sometimes, though, extraction is the only solution when a tooth is badly decayed or otherwise severely damaged. Tooth extraction may be frightening for children because they don’t know what to expect. Sedation dentistry can be used to ensure kids are as comfortable as possible during the extraction procedure. When a baby tooth is removed, adjacent teeth may shift out of place, resulting in crowded or crooked adult teeth. Temporary space maintainers can be placed after extraction to keep remaining baby teeth in their correct position until the permanent teeth emerge.
Inhalation Sedation Dentistry for Kids
Inhalation sedation helps to ease anxiety of kids from the age of four or five when they get dental treatments such as a tooth extraction. It entails breathing in a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen – commonly called laughing gas. Nitrous oxide calms the child by stimulating pleasant feelings. It works quickly and the effects tend to soon wear off. Special breathing masks are available for kids, introducing scents into the odorless gas. This can help to make the process less intimidating. A few children may react negatively to laughing gas but most just get the giggles. Inhalation sedation can make it easier for your children to get dental treatment if they have a particularly small or sensitive mouth or are resistant to local anesthetic.
Inhalation sedation also benefits kids with:
- A general tendency toward anxiety.
- Special needs.
- Difficulty sitting still.
- Negative associations with dental visits.
Getting Started with Your Children’s Dental Care
The American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) advise parents to take their children for their first dental appointment when they get their first tooth or by the time they’re 12 months old. Getting your youngsters accustomed to dental visits from an early age will give them a positive view of the importance of oral healthcare as they get older and your family dentist continues to look after their smile. Although your children’s primary teeth will fall out eventually, they require the same level of care as permanent teeth.
Finding Your Family Dentist
Without professional dental care from a young age, your children face increased risk of tooth loss and gum disease, with infection that can spread to other areas of the body. Finding a family dentist experienced in pediatric dentistry is an important step in setting your child on the road to a healthy life. Adult-oriented dental offices can make kids apprehensive, but a family dental practice that offers pediatric dentistry will be kid-friendly and treat your children with respect, compassion and empathy.
Call us at (949) 569-5253 if you’d like to find out more about the benefits of taking your kids to a family dentist who offers pediatric dentistry with a range of preventive and restorative services provided in a modern and comfortable child-friendly dental office.