Phoenix, Pediatric dentistry - Children and Dental Care
At Advanced Dental Health, we enjoy providing dental care to patients of all ages. Creating positive memories for children beginning as young as three years of age helps to foster a healthy lifelong outlook on dental visits. At such a young age, our main goal is to make a child’s experience at the dentist a happy one so they become excited to come back. We hope to get a few x-rays, polish their teeth and take a look to see if there are any imminent problems that should be addressed early, but will not push a child past their comfort level.
One very common issue we may see in a young child is a habit of thumb sucking. We hope that by this age, they have outgrown this tendency because it can alter the development of the child’s face and teeth. If it is still occurring when we see them, we will explain in more detail how this adversely affects the child. This can be a difficult habit to break but is well worth the effort.
Another issue that may be discovered at an early visit to the dental office is inadequate daily plaque removal. Our hygienists are excellent resources for parents. They can help a parent become better at determining if this is a general problem or if it is a problem in only a specific area or two. Showing parents how to more effectively clean their child’s teeth and giving guidelines for how to decide when this task is able to be transferred to the child’s responsibility is another area in which they are uniquely qualified to offer assistance.
Many adults remember wearing braces during their high school years and so do not understand the more current trend toward starting a child in orthodontic treatment at a young age while they are still growing. An early visit to an orthodontist can prevent much more invasive, expensive and traumatic treatment later in life even if the child does not end up in braces right away. Simply assessing the facial structure of a young child to predict future problems can allow early intervention that can be as simple as extracting some baby teeth that may be delayed in self-exfoliation. This one very easy and simple step can prevent the need for attaching brackets to teeth to pull them into position through the palate. Appliances designed to help guide the facial growth of a child to a more optimum shape can be utilized while the child is still developing. If this time period is missed, it may require surgery to correct but sometimes there is not another option to correct the malformation. It is simply an opportunity missed. Although Dr. Holton looks at oral development every time a child is examined, an orthodontist is a specialist in this field and we will often recommend consulting with one earlier than a parent may think necessary. Although having straight teeth creates an attractive smile, this benefit is secondary to the health benefits of having the teeth in the proper position throughout a lifetime.
Another potential problem that affects children is nutrition. Although putting a baby to bed with a bottle filled with milk or juice is not a common practice anymore, we do see this happening occasionally even today. This habit can lead to severe dental problems for children as the fluids pool around their teeth allowing the bacteria ample time to literally eat away their tooth structure. As a child gets older, soda, candy, sports drinks and even energy drinks are items that also contribute to cavities, or decay. Limiting or eliminating these will significantly improve oral health as well as overall health.
Fillings in primary (baby) teeth
If your child does get a cavity in a primary tooth, Dr. Holton evaluates the overall situation to determine if it needs to be filled. Most of the time, it is necessary even though it will be replaced with a permanent tooth at some point in their life. The expected length of time until the primary tooth is replaced with an adult tooth and the severity of the decay are some of the factors that go into their decision. You can be certain that a filling will not be recommended if it is not necessary.
Sports and mouth guards
Once your child becomes involved in sports at a more competitive level, a professionally fitted mouth guard can protect them from dental trauma. Although the drugstore boil-to-fit mouth guards are common, they will not offer the same level of protection as a custom fitted guard that is made of better material. We all agree that football players should wear a guard during a game or practice, but most team sports are potential risks for fractured teeth or worse. By the time a child is old enough to be involved in this level of activity, they likely have many or all of their permanent teeth so damage to them becomes a lifelong problem. It is prudent to have your child protect this part of their anatomy and an easy process to have a guard made.
Dental care for the whole family
At Advanced Dental Health, we are committed to providing the best dental care for you and your family. Please give us a call today to schedule an appointment if you or your children are due for an exam, are experiencing a dental problem or are ready to have an initial dental visit.