Pediatric dentistry is the specialty of dentistry that focuses on the oral health and unique needs of young people. We are devoted to improving the oral health of infants, children, adolescents and patients with special health care needs.
Taking care of your child’s teeth is important because even “baby” teeth help your child chew and speak clearly. Baby teeth also hold space so permanent teeth can grow in straight. If you start your child off with good dental habits, your child will find it easier to keep those good habits forever.
You should take your child for a first dental visit within six months of the first baby tooth and by no later that the first birthday. This gives the dentist a chance to look for early tooth problems and to talk to you about how to take care of your baby’s teeth. It also helps your child feel okay in the dentist’s office.
You should start caring for your child’s gums and teeth at birth by wiping your baby’s gums with a soft, wet cloth after feeding. In children up to 3 years of age, use a small dab of children’s fluoride toothpaste. Parents should brush pre-scholars teeth and supervise the brushing for school age children until they are 7 or 8 years and make sure they are doing a thorough job. Choose a toothbrush specifically designed for children’s small hands and mouths.
Proper brushing removes plaque from the inner, outer and chewing surfaces, when teaching children to brush, place the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle where the gums and teeth meet. Start along the gum line, move the brush in a gentle circular motion several times. Brush the mouth in quarter sections. Finish by brushing the tongue to help freshen the breath and remove bacteria.
First, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water and place a cold compress on the face if it is swollen. Give the child acetaminophen for any pain, rather than placing aspirin on the teeth or gums. Finally, see a dentist as soon as possible.
Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers past the age of three, your pediatric dentist may recommend a mouth appliance.
The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. As soon as the teeth begin to appear, start brushing twice daily using fluoridated toothpaste and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Use a “smear” of toothpaste to brush the teeth of a child less than 2 years of age. For the 2-5 year old, dispense a “pea-size” amount of toothpaste and perform or assist your child’s tooth brushing. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.
Sealants work by filling in the crevasses on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This shuts out food particles that could get caught in the teeth, causing cavities. The application is fast and comfortable and can effectively protect teeth for many years.
The most important thing to do is to remain calm. Then find the tooth. Hold it by the crown rather than the root and try to reinsert it in the socket. If that is not possible, put the tooth in a glass of milk and take your child and the glass immediately to the pediatric dentist.
Parents should take their children to the dentist regularly, beginning with the eruption of the first tooth. Then, the dentist can recommend a specific program of brushing, flossing, and other treatments for parents to supervise and teach to their children. These home treatments, when added to regular dental visits and a balanced diet, will help give your child a lifetime of healthy habits.