Why a pediatric dentist?
Dentistry is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of conditions, disorders, and diseases of the teeth, gums, mouth, and jaw. Often considered necessary for complete oral health, dentistry can have an impact on the health of your entire body. Our pediatric specialists and staff love children and are specially trained to put them at ease. We teach your children the proper way to take care of their teeth and just as important, they learn that going to the dentist can be fun.
What is a pediatric dentist (pedodontist)?
In the same way that pediatricians are trained to meet a child’s medical needs, our pediatric dental specialists are uniquely qualified to protect your child’s oral health using the most advanced techniques, and all in our delightfully friendly, open treatment area.
Pediatric dentists have an additional two to three years of training at university pediatric facilities in addition to four years of dental school and four years of college study. Some pediatric dentists (including all of ours) practice general dentistry before specializing, giving them a unique perspective. They learn how to deal with the behavioral aspects of children, how to make them feel comfortable, and how to make the experience pleasant. They also are trained and qualified to treat special needs patients.
Why is visiting the dentist so important?
Visiting the dentist regularly will not only help keep your teeth and mouth healthy, but will also help keep the rest of your body healthy. Dental care is important because it:
Helps prevent tooth decay
Protects against periodontal (gum) disease, which can lead to tooth and bone loss
Prevents bad breath – brushing, flossing, and seeing the dentist regularly will help reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth that causes bad breath
Gives you a more attractive smile and increases your self-confidence
Helps keep teeth looking bright by preventing them from becoming stained by food, drinks, and tobacco
Strengthens your teeth so that you can enjoy healthy, beautiful smiles for the rest of your life
My teeth feel fine. Do I still need to see a dentist?
Your teeth may feel fine, but it’s still important to see the dentist regularly because problems can exist without you knowing. Your smile’s appearance is important, and your dentist can help keep your smile healthy and looking beautiful. With so many advances in dentistry, you no longer have to settle for stained, chipped, missing, or misshapen teeth. Today’s dentists offer many treatment choices that can help you smile with confidence, including:
Professional teeth whitening
Fillings that mimic the appearance of natural teeth
Tooth replacement and full smile makeovers
What should I look for when choosing the right dentist for me?
Choosing a dentist who “clicks” with you and your family is important, and you may wish to consider several dentists before making your final decision. During your first visit, you should be able to determine whether the dentist is right for you. During your appointment, consider the following:
Is the appointment schedule convenient?
Is the office easy to get to and close by?
Does the office appear to be clean and orderly?
Was your medical and dental history recorded and placed in a permanent file?
Does the dentist explain techniques for good oral health?
Is information about cost presented to you before treatment is scheduled?
Is your dentist a member of the ADA (American Dental Association)?
How can I take care of my teeth between dental checkups?
ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth at least two times a day, and floss at least once!
Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities.
Avoid foods with a lot of sugar (sugar increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth causing more plaque and possibly cavities) and avoid tobacco (this can stain your teeth, cause gum disease, and eventually lead to oral cancer).
Don’t be afraid to brush your tongue! By brushing your tongue, you will remove food particles and reduce the amount of plaque-causing bacteria. Tongue brushing also helps keep your breath fresh.
Be sure to schedule your routine checkup. It is recommended that you visit the dentist every six months.
At what age should I start taking my child to see the dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children first see a dentist as early as six months of age and no later than one year of age. During this time, your child’s baby teeth will be coming in and your dentist can examine the health of your child’s first few teeth. After the first visit, be sure to schedule regular checkups every six months.
How often should I see the dentist?
Children, teens, and adults should all see the dentist for a regular checkup at least once every six months. Patients who are at a greater risk for oral cancer or gum disease may be required to see the dentist more than just twice a year. Your doctor will help determine how often you should visit the dentist for regular checkups.
What is a cavity?
A cavity is a small hole that forms inside the tooth because of tooth decay. Cavities are formed when plaque buildup on the outside of the tooth combines with sugars and starches in the food you eat. This produces an acid that can eat away the enamel on your tooth. If a cavity is left untreated, it can lead to more serious oral health problems. Cavities can be prevented by remembering to brush your teeth at least two times a day and floss between teeth at least once.
What is a filling?
A filling is a synthetic material that your dentist uses to fill a cavity after all of the tooth decay has been removed. Fillings do not generally hurt because your dentist will numb your mouth with an anesthetic. Fillings are made from a variety of different materials, including composites, gold, or ceramic. If you need a filling, be sure to talk to your doctor about what type is best for you and your teeth.
How often should I brush my teeth?
According to your dentist and the American Dental Association, you should brush your teeth at least two times a day. Brushing keeps your teeth, gums, and mouth clean and healthy by removing bacteria-causing plaque. It is also recommended that you use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride when you brush your teeth. You should spend at least a minute on the top teeth and a minute on the bottom teeth, and remember to brush your tongue; it will help keep your breath smelling fresh!
When should I change my toothbrush?
Your toothbrush will eventually wear out, especially if you are brushing your teeth twice a day for two to three minutes each time. Your dentist recommends that adults and children change their toothbrush every three months. If you are using an electric toothbrush, be sure to read the directions because you may not need to change toothbrush heads as frequently. Patients with gum disease are encouraged to change their toothbrush every four to six weeks to keep any bacteria from spreading. After brushing, rinse your toothbrush with hot water to kill germs and keep the bristles clean. If you’ve been sick, be sure to change your toothbrush as soon as possible.
What is gum disease?
Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is mostly caused by plaque and bacteria buildup that is not treated in its early stage. Other causes of periodontal disease include tobacco use, teeth grinding, some medications, and genetics. Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease, and, if detected, is treatable. Gingivitis left untreated may turn into gum disease. Advanced gum disease will lead to tooth and bone loss, and is a permanent condition. Brushing your teeth regularly and visiting the dentist every six months will help prevent gingivitis and more severe cases of periodontal disease. Common signs of gum disease:
Red, irritated, bleeding, or swollen gums
Chronic bad breath
Loose teeth, or loss of teeth
Extreme tooth sensitivity
Receding gum line
Does Your Child Grind His Teeth at Night? (Known as Bruxism)
Bruxism is the grinding of teeth. It can be caused by stress, anxiety and sleep disorders as well as an abnormal bite or teeth that are missing or crooked. Symptoms include:
a) Dull headaches
b) Jaw soreness
c) Teeth that are painful or loose
d) Fractured teeth
“Sleep” Bruxism is the grinding of teeth while you are sleeping. The cause is unclear; but the American Dental Association studies indicate that a number of factors play a role in sleep bruxism, including but not limited to, genes, anxiety, sleep patterns, anatomy and use of some types of drugs. For a child, the stress or anxiety may be based on an event in a child’s life, i.e., parental separation or divorce, changing schools, moving away from friends, etc., all of which create an environment that can cause anxiety and stress. There is also the medical-based cause relating to pressure in the inner ear at night-time.
Parents may first be made aware of a child grinding his teeth by the noise it creates or they may notice the teeth wearing down. The latter can be addressed with a simple mouth guard fitted by the dentist and worn at night-time/nap-time. The good news is that most children outgrow bruxism. It normally occurs between ages 6-9 and is gone by ages 9-12.
If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups every six months?
Yes! You still need to have a dental check up and cleaning every six months to ensure that bacteria/plaque is removed from your teeth. Food particles are even more apt to be trapped in the wires of your braces and between your teeth when you have braces. Visiting the dentist and having your teeth cleaned by the hygienist will give you a healthy mouth and prevent the bacteria and plaque that causes cavities, gingivitis and gum disease.