Pediatric Dentistry for Children and Infants in Plymouth MN
Do you see Children? We do! And their long-term dental needs.
At Smile Design Dentistry we are a dental home for the entire family. In fact, one of our favorite parts of dentistry is getting to know families and seeing them grow through the years. Having children comes with a lot of moving parts and pieces. And we understand that it can be confusing and challenging to figure out when to take kids to the dentist for the first time. Here are a few guidelines and tips on orthodontic and pediatric dentistry for young children.
When Should I first bring my child to the dentist?
First Dental Visit by the first year: This is the current guideline from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Most children will start to have teeth erupt between 6 months and 1 year of age. Once your child has teeth, they need to be cared for to prevent cavities, the need for reconstructive surgery, and oral disease.
At these first visit, the focus is on getting your child comfortable coming to the dentist, understanding the process of getting the dental cleaning with one of our fantastic hygienists, educating you on oral health care tips for your child and establishing a dental home and routine. Do not be surprised if a child has difficulty or is apprehensive at these first visits.
The amount of actual dental cleaning that can be completed may be minimal or even at the tail end of your visit. But watching Mom, Dad or siblings get teeth cleanings, along with experiencing a dental visit can do wonders to making the dental office an easier experience in the future. By the time your child is 3 years old, we find that most kids tolerate and are excited for their dental cleaning and getting to ride in the chair every 6 months!
When should I start brushing teeth and what should I Use?
You can start getting your child comfortable with a toothbrush even before they get teeth. Use a soft bristle toothbrush with a child appropriate brush head size and massage the gums. Once the child actually gets teeth it is important to begin brushing those teeth with fluoride-containing toothpaste.
For children under 2 use no more than a “smear” on the brush. For children 2-5 years old use no more than a pea-sized amount. Mom and Dad should be at minimum assisting and finishing brushing for children up to age 5. Young kids lack the dexterity and the patience to effectively brush. It is important that an adult assists to ensure good oral hygiene that can prevent future orthodontic emergencies.
I don’t let my child have lots of candy or sugar but they are still getting decay, how can that be?
Sugar comes in lots of forms and is added to most foods that your child eats. A reality is that you cannot avoid some forms of sugar and find it in unexpected places. Even such nutritional staples as milk, cheese, and fruit contain some that can lead to cavities. It is impractical if not impossible to remove all sugar from your child’s diet but there are things that can be done to minimize the impact on your child’s dental health.
Some of the prime suspects for high sugar include juice and sugary snacks. Juice should never be given to a child in a bottle and restricted to meal times. High sugar content snacks and foods do the most damage when eaten as a standalone snack.
Minimizing the exposure to meal times will lessen the impact. A child should never go to bed with a bottle that has anything other than water. During sleep, the saliva production goes down and milk or juice in a bottle at night time bathes the teeth in sugar and can lead to extremely high levels of decay. Sticky snacks can cause trouble. Raisins, dried fruits or even fruit snacks can all stick to teeth and cause cavities.
Eating these with non-sticky foods can minimize the amount left behind and good oral hygiene can manage the remainder. As a rule of thumb, good oral hygiene habits are paramount to decreasing the risk of cavities and dental pain for a child. It all starts with the brush.
My child fell at the playground, what should I do?
We all know that kids are accident prone. As they learn to walk and develop motor skills, they are prone to falls and dental injuries. It doesn’t end there, as children get older and are more involved in sports, trauma to the face from an errant elbow or ball are not uncommon. Prevention is the key in these cases. Getting your child a well fitting mouth guard for sports where it is appropriate can protect from many dental injuries.
For younger kids, even the best supervision can result in falls and bumps that result in a little one being hit in the mouth. Once it has happened, do your best to assess the damage. If you see there are any fractured teeth or out of position teeth, bring your child into the office for an evaluation. Sometimes this happens to children while playing hockey or other sports; we can help!
Trauma to the mouth can impact not only the teeth but also head and neck structures including bones, lips, joints and facial structures. Be sure to give your dentist as much information about when and how the accident happened so any underlying trauma can be found.
Will my child need braces and when do they need to start?
A comprehensive dental evaluation is needed to determine this, and the plan and timing are case specific. Depending on the nature of the biting issue and tooth alignment issue, it may be something that can be addressed in the early teen years, or possibly something that will need to be addressed prior to your child losing all their baby teeth.
The good news is, that Smile Design Dentistry has been treating orthodontic cases for over 25 years and our Doctors are happy to answer your questions, and develop a plan with you to address the concerns you have for your child or even yourself!
As you can see, there are many questions about dentistry and children. At Smile Design Dentistry we love children and families and look forward to building a relationship with you and your family. Call us when your children need fillings, bondings, dental crowns, root canal treatment, extractions, and preventive dental care.