Has your child ever begged you not to leave the dentist? Impossible, you say? Not at our dental office. It could be our gentle touch and special way with kids. We offer pediatric dentistry, one of the general dentistry services we provide to children in Plano, Texas. Our pediatric specialists and staff love children and are specially trained to put them at ease. We teach your children the proper way to care for their teeth; 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, all in our delightfully friendly open treatment area.
Pediatric dentists have an additional two to three years of training at university pediatric facilities, four years of dental school, and four years of college study. Some pediatric dentists (including 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 to make the experience pleasant. Pediatric dentists also are trained and qualified to treat special needs patients. We provide pediatric dentistry in our Plano, TX office with the help of our specialists.
What Dental Problems Could My Child Have?
Some dental problems begin very early in life. One concern is early childhood tooth decay, a serious condition caused by a child staying on the bottle (or breast) too long. Another problem is gum disease. About 40 percent of children two to three years old have at least mild inflammation of gum tissues. Oral habits (such as digit sucking) should also be checked. The earlier the dental visit, the better the chances of preventing problems. Strong, healthy teeth help your child chew food easily, speak clearly, and feel good about his or her appearance.
Why Are Baby Teeth So Important?
Primary teeth are important because they help with proper chewing and eating, help in speech development, and add to an attractive appearance. A child who can chew easily, speak clearly, and smile confidently is happier. Healthy primary teeth allow normal development of the jaw bones and muscles, save space for the permanent teeth, and guide them into place.
If a baby tooth is lost too soon, permanent teeth may appear crooked. Decayed baby teeth can cause pain, abscesses, and infections that can spread to permanent teeth. Also, your child’s general health can be affected if diseased baby teeth aren’t treated. Remember, some primary molars are not replaced until age 10-14, so they must last for years.
Your Child’s First Visit to the Dentist
The first “regular” dental visit should be just after your child’s third birthday. The first dental visit is usually short and involves very little treatment. We may ask you to sit in the dental chair and hold your child during the examination. You may also be asked to wait in the reception area during the visit to build a relationship between your child and your dentist.
We will gently examine your child’s teeth and gums. X-rays may be taken (to reveal decay and check on the progress of your child’s permanent teeth under the gums). We may clean your child’s teeth and apply topical fluoride to help protect the teeth against decay. We will make sure your child is receiving adequate fluoride at home. Most importantly, we will review how to clean and care for your child’s teeth.
What should I tell my child about the first dental visit?
We have been asked this question many times. We suggest you prepare your child like before their first haircut or trip to the shoe store. Your child’s reaction to his first visit to the dentist may surprise you.
Here are some “First Visit” tips:
- Take your child for a “preview” of the office.
- Read books with them about going to the dentist.
- Review with them what the dentist will be doing during the first visit.
- Speak positively about your own dental experiences.
During your first visit, the dentist will:
- Examine your mouth, teeth, and gums.
- Evaluate adverse habits like thumb sucking.
- Check to see if you need fluoride.
- Teach you about cleaning your teeth and gums.
- Suggest a schedule for regular dental visits.
What about preventative care?
Tooth decay and children no longer have to go hand in hand. At our North Dallas area offices, we are most concerned with all aspects of preventive care. We use the latest dental sealant technology to protect your child’s teeth. Dental sealants are space-age plastics bonded to the chewing surfaces of decay-prone back teeth. This is just one of the ways we will set the foundation for your child’s lifetime of good oral health.
What about sterilization?
Your health and peace of mind are always our primary concerns. Therefore, we use state-of-the-art sterilization procedures. After each patient’s visit, the treatment area is thoroughly disinfected. We ultrasonically clean and heat-sterilize all non-disposable instruments. Our staff wears gloves and masks during procedures. Please feel free to ask us for information on the measures we take to ensure your and your children’s safety or a tour of our sterilization area.
Most of the time, cavities are due to a diet high in sugary foods and a lack of brushing. Limiting sugar intake and brushing regularly, of course, can help. The longer it takes your child to chew their food and the longer the residue stays on their teeth, the greater the chances of cavities.
Every time someone eats, an acid reaction occurs inside their mouth as the bacteria digest the sugars. This reaction lasts approximately 20 minutes. During this time, the acid environment can destroy the tooth structure, eventually leading to cavities.
Consistency of a person’s saliva also makes a difference; thinner saliva breaks up and washes away food more quickly. When people eat diets high in carbohydrates and sugars, they tend to have thicker saliva, allowing more of the acid-producing bacteria that can cause cavities.
Tips for Cavity Prevention
- Limit the frequency of meals and snacks.
- Encourage brushing, flossing, and rinsing.
- Watch what your child drinks.
- Avoid giving your child sticky foods.
- Make treats part of meals.
- Choose nutritious snacks.
The two bottom front teeth are the first baby teeth in the mouth. You will notice this when your baby is 6-8 months old. Next to follow will be the four upper front teeth, and the remainder of your baby’s teeth will appear periodically. They will usually appear in pairs along the sides of the jaw until the child is about 2 1/2 years old.
At around 2 1/2 years old, your child should have all 20 teeth. Between the ages of 5 and 6, the first permanent teeth will begin to erupt. Some permanent teeth replace baby teeth, and some don’t. Don’t worry if some teeth are a few months early or late, as all children are different.
Baby teeth are important as they hold space for permanent teeth and are important to chewing, biting, speech, and appearance. For this reason, it is important to maintain a healthy diet and daily hygiene.
What is a dental sealant?
Highly effective in preventing decay on the biting surfaces of your chewing teeth, dental sealants are a simple procedure in which a tooth-colored acrylic “coating” is painted onto the tooth’s surface. Dental sealants effectively “seal” the deep grooves as a barrier and protect the enamel from plaque and acids.
Sealants protect the depressions and grooves of your teeth from food particles and plaque that brushing and flossing can’t reach. Easy to apply, dental sealants take only a few minutes to seal each tooth. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and can last several years before a reapplication is needed. Children and adults can benefit from dental sealants in the fight against tooth decay.
Call Your Family Dentist Today
Does your child need a dentist? Contact our Plano, TX office at 972-636-4522 or request a dental appointment with us online.