Taking care of children’s teeth is not dissimilar to caring for adult teeth. The treatment principles are the same, just performed on a smaller scale. However, a dentist who offers pediatric dental services will always cater their treatment and oral health education to the patient’s age. This helps enhance the child’s level of understanding of oral hygiene and dental procedures, and encourages them to become more familiarized and comfortable in the dentist’s office.
The #1 most common childhood disease is tooth decay.
After your child is introduced to our dentist and team, a dental hygienist will gently clean your child’s teeth and gums, removing plaque and bacteria, polishing each tooth, and then finishing with flossing.
If your child has never had x-rays before, if it has been a few years since their last set of x-rays, or if the dentist suspects a hidden oral health problem, X-rays may be recommended. As the parent or guardian, you will be asked to approve x-rays before they are taken.
The dentist will examine your child’s mouth, teeth and x-rays to ensure your kid is free of cavities and that their smile is developing properly. If the parent did not sit in with the child during their exam, the dentist will bring parents into the room at this point to discuss their findings.
Next, the dentist will provide a recommendation for further treatment if needed. Some treatments, like fluoride treatments or dental sealants, can usually be applied at the first appointment and may be recommended during regular cleanings. Other treatments, like filling cavities, may require a second appointment.
If additional treatment is needed to keep your child’s smile healthy, we’re happy to schedule follow-up appointments before you head out. We also recommend that you schedule your child’s next oral exam and teeth cleaning at this time.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children ideally see the dentist around the time their first tooth erupts or by their first birthday. At Lakeview Modern Dentistry, we want to encourage getting your child started early with good dental habits that will last them a lifetime, so the first exam is free for your child while they are under three!
Pediatric cleanings and oral exams are just like cleanings and oral exams for adults. A dental hygienist will clean your child’s teeth, then a dentist will examine their mouth and x-rays to rule out any concerns about your child's oral health or oral development.
During this appointment, you’ll have an opportunity to speak with the team members about what to expect at different stages of your child’s oral development such as erupting baby teeth, losing baby teeth and growing adult teeth. We’ll go over proper at-home oral care and hygiene for different age groups and discuss nutritional information and how diet is related to oral health.
Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) is an alternative to fillings for minor-to-moderate tooth decay in baby teeth. It consists of a blend of silver, fluoride, ammonia, and water. When applied to a decayed tooth, this mixture kills the bacteria that cause decay and halts the progression of the cavity.
This treatment is only used in baby teeth because it discolors the tooth permanently, turning it black. It’s a good option for baby teeth that will fall out naturally in time, or for kids who are too young to get a filling.
Stainless steel crowns are a good alternative to fillings. They are pre-fabricated in a variety of sizes and are placed directly onto your child’s tooth to cover and protect it from further damage and decay. Depending on the position of their tooth, the dentist will either trim your child’s tooth before the crown is placed, or the crown may be placed directly over the tooth after it has been cleaned.
A space maintainer may be required if your child loses a baby tooth early. The space maintainer is made to sit between your child’s healthy teeth, resting in the gap where their missing tooth used to be.
By doing so, the space maintainer prevents the surrounding teeth from shifting toward the now-empty socket, which is common after tooth loss. This ensures that your child’s permanent tooth will erupt properly when it’s ready. Without a space maintainer, your child may experience severe crowding of the adult teeth that may require complicated orthodontic treatment.
A frenectomy is used to treat tongue and lip ties (ankyloglossia). With this condition, the “frenulum” of your child’s lips or tongue are excessively thick, which restricts proper lip and tongue movement. This can lead to breastfeeding problems, difficulties with chewing, and even speech issues later in life.
During a frenectomy procedure, your dentist will use a laser to release the tension in the frenum, allowing proper range of motion of the lips and tongue.
Parents will be given aftercare instructions and exercises to do with or for their child or infant to ensure proper healing and the effectiveness of the procedure.
Pulpotomies are often called “baby root canals,” because this pediatric treatment is used to treat infected baby teeth. The process is quite similar to that of a root canal in an adult tooth as it is used to open up your child’s tooth and remove the decayed pulp from the inside of the root canals. This is required if their tooth has become infected due to untreated decay or an oral injury.
Your child’s dentist will begin by cleaning and numbing your child’s mouth, removing decayed enamel, and creating an access tunnel in your child’s tooth to access the infected pulp. Once the infection is cleared from the roots, the interior of the tooth is cleaned and sanitized.
After the area is disinfected, a special healing dressing will be applied to the remaining pulp. This dressing will encourage the pulp to heal, which will keep the baby tooth alive and healthy until it falls out as part of your child’s natural oral development.
Cavities can be caused by the transmission of bacteria from a mother to her infant.
The answer may surprise you. It’s typically recommended by the AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) that children start seeing the dentist when they’re 1 year old, or whenever their first tooth erupts.
Is your child a little older? You should bring them to the dentist for an appointment as soon as you can to ensure their teeth and mouth are healthy and strong.
Going to the dentist early and regularly helps your child become more familiar with the process of regular dental visits, making them less likely to be anxious about going to the dentist as they grow up. Seeing the same dentist regularly throughout your child’s early years will also allow the doctor to become more familiar with your child’s teeth. They’ll be able to identify any potential oral development issues early, and take the proper action to ensure their teeth stay strong and healthy. These regular appointments also encourage children to build better life-long oral health habits.
The most important thing you can do to prepare your child to see the dentist is to speak about it positively. They don’t have any experiences with the dentist yet, so this is an opportunity to help the doctor make a good first impression.
Drinking a bottle of milk or breastfeeding right before bed puts your child at a higher risk for tooth decay.