What is Pediatric dental disease (childhood tooth decay)?
This disease is five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever. Tooth decay in children is painful, just as it is in adults. Unless arrested in its early stages, dental decay becomes irreversible. Without appropriate treatment, tooth decay will lead to infection of the teeth, gums and tooth loss. You may not think of childhood tooth decay as a disease, until you recognize its consequences. Unchecked pediatric dental disease can:
o Cause problems with eating, speaking and learning
o Negatively impact growth, function and self-esteem
o Inhibit children’s cognitive and social development
o Affect the overall quality of a child’s life
Severe dental disease in children often requires the use of general anesthesia and hospitalization. Hospital stays for severe dental disease can run several days and cost over $20,000. You can help prevent childhood tooth decay (and a host of other oral health problems) by simply taking your child to the dentist beginning at an early age.
When should children first see a Dentist?
While most babies don’t start getting teeth until they are 6 months old, infant dental care is important from the very beginning. Many dentists recommend an initial visit before the child’s first birthday to make sure teeth and gums are cared for and cleaned properly
Dentists can check to make sure that babies’ mouths are healthy, and that their teeth are coming in properly.
Another benefit: children who regularly see dentists learn to be comfortable around dentists and to take good care of their teeth. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children who begin dentist visits early in life are more likely to have a good attitude about oral health providers and dental visits.
Good habits start early. So, establish your dental home with your dentist and schedule your child’s first dental visit shortly after the first tooth appears calling us at +1 505 554 2262
What to Expect During Infancy and How to Clean Baby Teeth?
Teething – between 3 and 9 months, your infant’s baby teeth will begin to erupt. Teething may make your child irritable or fussy and may cause restlessness, drooling or loss of appetite.
Pacifiers – sucking is a normal part of development that is comforting to children well into their first years of life. In fact, sucking often brings comfort even after a child no longer needs to get nourishment from a breast or bottle.
Baby bottle tooth decay – this occurs when acid formed by bacteria on the teeth, from sugars in foods and beverages, damages the tooth enamel. This causes demineralization, and eventually can lead to a cavity.
Even though it may be tempting to let your child fall asleep with a baby bottle in their mouth, don’t. You may not be able to see any baby teeth in your child’s mouth, but they’re there. And they’re just as susceptible to tooth decay. So letting a baby fall asleep with a bottle full of breast milk, formula, juice or any sweet drink is like soaking those developing teeth in sugar. That wouldn’t be good for anyone’s teeth, especially your baby’s, and it can result in baby bottle tooth decay.
Good oral hygiene begins at birth. So it’s wise to get in the habit of cleaning your baby’s gums even before any primary teeth come in. Gently clean your baby’s gums after every feeding using a clean, damp washcloth or a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head made just for babies.
As soon as the first baby tooth arrives, you can start brushing it with a toothbrush and toothpaste. To brush baby teeth, use a small amount of non-fluoride toothpaste (sometimes called training toothpaste). Brush the front and back of your baby’s teeth, and lift your baby’s lips to make sure you get the gum line. You should brush your baby’s teeth twice a day.
Try to have your baby realize that you brush your teeth too. It can greatly influence their desire to brush like you do.
What services do we Offer?
Infant oral health exams, which includes cavity risk assessments
Preventive dental care, which includes Oral Hygiene Including nutrition and diet recommendations, management of Gum Diseases, Composite Fillings, Silver Amalgam Fillings, Teeth Extractions, Baby teeth Root Canals(Pulpotomy),Pediatric Stainless Steel Crowns, Space Maintainers, Sealants, Fluoride treatment, Mouth Guards
Habit counseling (about pacifier use, for example)
Early assessment and Referral for straightening teeth and correcting an improper bite.
Diagnosis of oral conditions associated with diseases such as diabetes, congenital heart defect, asthma, hay fever, and attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder
Emergency Dental Care for dental injuries like fractured, displaced, or knocked-out teeth
What is a Pulpotomy?
Pulp therapy is often referred to as a “baby root canal”, pulpotomy or pulpectomy. A pulpotomy is when the inflamed pulp chamber, usually on a baby molar, is removed, the area is sterilized, and the chamber is sealed. It is sometimes called a baby tooth root canal, but it’s not really a root canal and it can be done is some cases in permanent teeth. It is a very common procedure in children and has a reasonably good prognosis of success. It’s also fairly easy to do in conjunction with associated procedures. The ultimate objective of these procedures is to save the tooth, so that it will maintain the integrity and function of the dental arch.
When are Pediatric Stainless Steel Crowns necessary?
When a baby tooth is extensively decayed and using other filling materials isn’t likely to be successful, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends restoring the tooth with a stainless steel crown especially if the tooth has received pulpal therapy. The procedure for placing a stainless steel crown is pretty quick. After removing the decay, your dentist will fit and cement a prefabricated crown made of stainless steel over the tooth. Stainless steel crowns are per-made in various different sizes. The Dentist will find a size that fits the child’s tooth, we contour and adapt the crown to fit, and finally we cement it on with dental cement. The stainless steel crown will stay on the baby tooth until the baby tooth falls out at which time the crown will still be cemented on the tooth and fall out with the tooth.
Advantages of pediatric stainless steel crowns:
Durable but inexpensive
Full coverage protection for the tooth
Very little sensitivity
Less likely to need retreatment
More successful than metal fillings in children under four years old
Good choice for children who need general anesthesia
Often used as an attachment for a space maintainer
If the pulp of the tooth is involved, the dentist may also need to perform pulpal therapy before placing the crown. But rest assured it is quite common, even for young permanent teeth.
When and why are Space Maintainers needed?
Children may need space maintainers if they lose a tooth early or have a baby (primary) tooth extracted due to dental decay. Baby teeth aren’t just for chewing. Each one also acts as a guide for the eruption of the permanent tooth that replaces it. The permanent tooth loses its guide when a baby tooth is lost or has been extracted. Neighboring teeth also can move or tilt into the space. This means that there may not be enough space for the permanent tooth to come in.
What are some reasons baby teeth may be lost early?
o They can be knocked out in a fall or other accident.
o They may need to be extracted because of severe decay that causes infection.
o They may be missing at birth.
o Some diseases or conditions can lead to early tooth loss.
o Space maintainers may be used:
o If a primary tooth is lost before the permanent tooth is ready to come in
o If a permanent tooth is missing
o The maintainer keeps the space open until the permanent tooth comes in.
What Space Maintainer is best for my child?
There are two different types of space maintainers most commonly known.
o Removable – removable space maintainers are similar to orthodontic appliances and are usually made of acrylic. In some cases, an artificial tooth may be used to fill a space that must remain open for the unerupted tooth.
o Fixed – there are four different kinds of fixed space maintainers: unilateral, crown and loop, distal shoe and lingual
Please call us at +1 505 554 2262 as we can suggest the best space maintainer for your child.
What are sealants?
Dental sealants act as a barrier to prevent cavities. Sealants are a plastic material that is placed in the pits and fissures of the chewing surfaces of your teeth, particularly the molars at the back because toothbrushes can’t reach all the way into the grooves to clean well. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” plaque and food. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids. As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay.
Who should consider sealants?
Kids are notoriously bad brushers and tend to ignore the problem areas in the back of the mouth that lead to cavities and decay, making them excellent candidates for sealants. (However, if adults have certain problem areas that could be cured with sealants, this could be an option for them too.) The American Dental Association recommends that kids receive dental sealants as soon as their adult teeth erupt.
How long do sealants last?
Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and may last several years before a reapplication is needed. During your regular dental visits, your dentist will check the condition of the sealants and reapply them when necessary. If dental sealants are worn down, it’s possible for decay to get under the sealant.
How are sealants applied?
Sealants are easy for your dentist to apply. The sealant is painted onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. This plastic resin bonds into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces of back teeth.
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is often called nature’s cavity fighter and for good reason. Fluoride, a naturally-occurring mineral, helps prevent cavities in children and adults by making the outer surface of your teeth (enamel) more resistant to the acid attacks that cause tooth decay. This provides what is called a “systemic” benefit.
How does Fluoride work?
When fluoride reaches your teeth, fluoride is absorbed into the enamel. It helps to repair the enamel by replenishing the lost calcium and phosphorous to keep your teeth hard. This process is caused remineralization. When fluoride is present during remineralization, the minerals deposited into the tooth enamel help strengthen your teeth and prevent dissolution during the next demineralization phase. Thus, fluoride helps stop the decay process and prevent tooth decay and benefits both adults and children.
What contains fluoride?
When you brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste, or use other fluoride dental products, the fluoride is applied to the surface of your teeth. This provides what is called a “topical” benefit. Mouthwash with fluoride can help make your teeth more resistant to decay, but children six years or younger should not use it unless it’s been recommended by a dentist.
In addition, the fluoride you take in from foods and beverages continues to provide a topical benefit because it becomes part of your saliva, constantly bathing the teeth with tiny amounts of fluoride that help rebuild weakened tooth enamel.
Your dentist can also apply fluoride directly to your teeth during your dental visit with a gel, foam or rinse. If you have not been to a dentist in the last 6months we recommend you call us at +1 505 554 2262 for your routine exam and cleaning.