The Importance of Children’s Dentistry
Did you know that children’s dentistry appointments are just as important as checkups with a pediatrician?
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), children should visit a dentist soon after their first tooth erupts or by their first birthday, whichever is sooner.
At Grand Lake Dental, Dr. Karl Jobst and his friendly team couldn’t agree more. It’s never too early to introduce your child to a positive experience with dentistry and oral hygiene.
Why is children’s dentistry important if my child only has one tooth?
Children’s dentistry is about more than looking at teeth for cavities.
Routine dental visits focus on prevention, and this is especially true with children.
The first visit focuses on providing education regarding proper home hygiene and discussing preventative care and the development and growth of jaws and teeth. Your child will also receive an examination to look for signs of oral issues.
After this, you should bring your child back to us every six months for a checkup and professional cleaning. These visits help prevent cavities and other potential issues. Also, we will reinforce education and prevention while helping your child build an affirming relationship with the dental team.
Early dental visits help children establish good dental habits and a favorable view of going to the dentist. This is a much better scenario than waiting until there is a problem, and their first introduction is painful and scary, leaving them with an adverse reaction to dentistry.
Primary Teeth Require Dental Hygiene
Not only do primary teeth need care, but the gums do as well.
Even though baby teeth will eventually fall out, healthy future permanent teeth require healthy baby teeth and gums.
The truth is, whether you have baby teeth, permanent teeth, or no teeth, ignoring oral hygiene can lead to future consequences. Teeth or no teeth, the food we eat and drink interacts with bacteria in the mouth to form a sticky substance called plaque. If not removed, plaque can cause dental decay (cavities) and gum disease.
Cavities on baby teeth can lead to early tooth loss. This can affect the way permanent teeth erupt, which can lead to crooked or crowded teeth. The consequence may be a loss of self-esteem for your child and the price of future orthodontics for you.
Gum disease can contribute to other health issues, such as asthma and diabetes.
Moreover, establishing good oral hygiene builds positive habits, which can lead to a lifetime of good oral health.
Each new stage your child reaches requires a different level of home care. When you bring your child to Grand Lake Dental, we can provide the information and education you need to keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy.
The Extras of Children’s Dentistry
While fluoride treatments and sealants are available for all the patients, including adults, at Grand Lake Dental, they are considered routine for children. In fact, most, if not all, dental insurances cover fluoride and sealants for children.
Fluoride is a mineral that is highly effective in helping prevent tooth decay. This known fact is why fluoride is added to public water supplies and most kinds of toothpaste. However, this may not be enough to prevent decay.
Because of the benefits of fluoride, we at Grand Lake Dental recommend supplemental fluoride. Especially if your child has inadequate saliva, poor oral hygiene habits, history of cavities, or frequent sugar intake.
Topical fluoride seeps into the surface of tooth enamel, helping strengthen erupted teeth and making them more resistant to cavities. For children with erupted teeth, we recommend topical fluoride treatments every six months.
For infants and young children, we recommend systemic fluoride, which strengthens not only the erupted teeth but the teeth continuing to develop under the gums. This is available by prescription in drops, gels, or tablet form.
As an important note, you will want to monitor the amount of fluoride your child ingests. If they receive too much fluoride, it can cause tooth discoloration.
A dental sealant is a thin coating we apply to the chewing surface of premolars and molars, as well as any teeth with deep grooves. These are the areas hardest to clean and most susceptible to cavities.
Sealants help protect these teeth by sealing the grooves, which creates a smooth surface that is easier to clean.
Generally, sealants are applied once the first permanent molars erupt. However, children who are prone to cavities or those with teeth—including baby teeth—that have deep grooves are also good candidates. Adults who have teeth with deep grooves may also get sealants, as long as there is no decay present.
While sealants can protect teeth for many years, the sealants should be checked for chipping and wear at routine dental visits.
Sealants require a professional cleaning before application. The process involves preparing the tooth by surrounding it with cotton to keep it dry and then applying a solution that bonds the sealant to it. After rinsing and drying the tooth, the sealant material is painted onto the surface, covering the grooves.
Has your child been to the dentist lately?
If you have a child that has never been to the dentist, or if it has been longer than six months, it is time to schedule an appointment.
Call Grand Lake Dental at (918) 787-5800 today to talk with one of our knowledgeable team members and see how friendly we can be!