Pediatric Dentistry: Move It to the Top of Your To-Do List

Pediatric Dentistry: Move It to the Top of Your To-Do List

With our busy schedules and seemingly endless to-do lists, it is easy to put off taking our kids to the dentist – we probably don’t go ourselves unless we are suffering from unendurable pain. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right? This expression might have some truth to it, but it certainly does not apply to our oral health. When it comes to your kids’ pearly whites, prevention and early treatment are key to ensuring not only your children’s oral health but their overall physical health as well.

Read on to learn more about pediatric dentistry and where to find the best pediatric specialists in Salt Lake City.

What Is a Pediatric Dentist?

A pediatric dentist is a specialist who provides preventive and therapeutic oral health care for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health care needs. Pediatric dentists provide care, carry out research, and teach in diverse clinical and institutional settings. They collaborate with other health care providers and
members of social disciplines for the wellbeing of children.

To become a pediatric dentist, after four years of dental school, a dentist must complete a 24-month advanced education program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association. Pediatric dentistry programs cover a variety of disciplines, techniques, procedures, and skills which are adapted to the particular needs of infants, children, adolescents, and those with special health care needs.

The work-scope of a pediatric dentist encompasses all of the following:

• Behavior guidance (for example, pacifier use and thumb sucking)
• Care of medically and developmentally compromised and disabled patients
• Supervision of orofacial growth and development, including early assessment and treatment for straightening teeth and correcting an improper bite (orthodontics)
• Caries prevention, including cleaning and fluoride treatments, as well as nutrition and diet recommendations
• Repair of tooth cavities or defects
• Management of gum diseases and conditions including ulcers, short frenulae, mucoceles, and pediatric periodontal disease
• Care for dental injuries (for instance, fractured, displaced or knocked-out teeth)
• Pharmacological management, including sedation

Why Is Pediatric Dentistry Important?

As any parent knows, children usually feel nervous or even terrified of the simplest medical procedures – and unfortunately visits to the dentist are not the exception. Thankfully, pediatric dentists know how to examine children and interact with them in ways that put them at ease. Furthermore, the entire office is geared towards children from the equipment to the decoration – don’t underestimate the soothing effect of a set of Peppa Pig scrubs!

Not only do pediatric dentists win over their patients with fun outfits and decorations, but – more importantly – they also explain and demonstrate to kids step by step what they will do before they even ask the children to open their mouths. For example, a water flosser looks scary even to adults, but if children have seen how it works and maybe felt the water on their hands, instead of being afraid, they might think it seems fun and look forward to a cleaning.

Is Pediatric Dentistry a Modern Invention?

As parents, it often seems like the world our kids are growing up in is vastly different from the one we grew up in, and it is hard to distinguish between true improvements/necessities on one hand and inventions of consumer society on the other. However, in the case of pediatric dentistry, the American Dental Association officially recognized this specialty in 1940, and the American Academy of Pedodontics was founded in 1947. Furthermore, the first book on children’s dentistry dates all the way back to 1742. In other words, pediatric dentistry is by no means a new fad.

Moreover, taking kids to the dentist nowadays is even more important than it was in the past. According to the latest National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999-2004), tooth decay in children ages two to eleven has been increasing since the mid-1990s with younger children being more severely affected. The aforementioned survey found that 42% of children two to eleven have had dental caries in their primary teeth, so if you haven’t yet taken your children to the dentist, it is imperative that you do so; remember that with oral health sooner is always better.

Kids Dentist Near Me

If you live in or around Salt Lake City, Utah, we have three conveniently located pediatric dentistry offices for you to choose from: in Redwood, in South Davis, and in Herriman. Click on the location nearest you to get to know us a little better – the more you know us, the more you’ll love us; then call to schedule your child’s appointment today!

Tooth Decay in Children: Sealants, Prevention, & Treatment

Tooth Decay in Children: Sealants, Prevention, & Treatment

Spring is almost here, and with it often comes later bedtimes, busier days and fuller weekends. It’s easy to get caught up in it all and let some other things start to slide. However, one relatively small part of your morning and evening routines needs to remain firmly entrenched: brushing teeth. 

Tooth decay, early cavities, and bad breath are all products of poor oral hygiene that we’ve seen in kids. It’s not because parents don’t care about their children’s teeth. To the contrary, our experience has shown us that parents care, very much. The issue is usually education. Parent’s need more guidance in how to care for their children’s teeth and how to teach and instill good dental hygiene habits.  

Here we’ve put together a healthy teeth guide for kids (and parents) to help you right here in your own home. 

Healthy Guide to Prevent Tooth Decay in Children 

When Should We Start Brushing Teeth? 

The answer to this one is simple. Start earlier than you may think, before the first tooth has even erupted. Yes, you might not see a tooth in your sweet baby’s gummy smile, but they are there. The primary teeth begin to form, usually, during the second trimester of the pregnancy.  

Before any teeth have come through, you’ll want to take a clean, wet washcloth and gently rub it over your baby’s gums. This will wipe away bacteria, and begin to familiarize your baby with the idea of something being put in their mouth that does not have a drinking, eating, or chewing purpose. 

Once a tooth has erupted, you’ll switch to an infant toothbrush and use a dab of fluoride toothpaste no larger than the size of a single grain of rice. Start flossing when your baby has two teeth side by side. 

At three years of age, you can graduate from grain of rice size to pea sized dab of toothpaste. Around two years old, work with your child to practice spitting out the toothpaste instead of merely swallowing it. 

When Should the First Dentist Visit Take Place? 

We recommend that kids have their first dentist office visit by the age of one year. We’ll take the time to explain brushing and flossing to your toddler, and even do a quick dental exam. It’s important for your kids to become familiarized with the dentist office early on to both normalize it, and minimize the potential for anxieties and fears to develop and become associated with a trip to the dentist.  

Moreover, by the age of one, your little one is likely drinking more than just milk or water, and has definitely graduated to foods. We can identify potential problems early on and help your little one get on track to having a healthy and happy smile. 

Why Should You Take Your Kids to a Pediatric Dentist? 

Please consider taking your children to a pediatric dentist. The importance of establishing healthy oral hygiene early on in life, makes a huge difference when your kids are older and more independent. A pediatric dentist is specially trained to work with children. In fact, pediatric dentists do an extra two years of dentistry school. We are trained to handle the communication and development limitations that young children have, and our offices are designed to be appealing and comforting to children. 

Can You Prevent Cavities? 

Yes! Cavities occur when food is left on, in between, or around the teeth instead of being brushed away. Bacteria forms, acid can collect and from there a cavity can form. 

There are several things as a parent that you can do to help prevent cavities. As you might have guessed, routine brushing and flossing make the top of that list. Make it part of their morning and nighttime routines if it’s not already. Nevertheless, there are other things we can add to this list. 

Fluoride toothpaste is important because fluoride introduced at regular intervals will strengthen your child’s teeth. If your town or city water supply doesn’t have fluoride added, you talk to your pediatric dentist about what you can do to make sure your child’s getting enough fluoride.  

Limit their sweets, sodas, and even juices. All those sugars can cause enamel erosion and damage to their teeth. Substitute for water when you can, or try watering down the juice. We recommend you don’t provide soda at all, and if or when you do place limits on how much, and encourage them to rinse their mouths out with water. 

Can You Get Rid of Cavities? 

Yes, if we determine that your kid does have a cavity, whether it be a cavity on a front tooth, or one more hidden in the back, we can treat cavities. This is typically done by doing a filling, where we literally fill the cavity. For front teeth, we may recommend a composite resin filling that will match the color of the tooth. 

Pediatric Dental Treatment Options for Cavities 

In spite of all prevention and routine brushing, it’s not uncommon for us to find cavities in the kids we see. Sometimes we may recommend fluoride treatments. Sometimes we may recommend sealants, which is a seal that covers the tooth to protect the enamel all while maintaining the appearance of the tooth.  

So, there you have it. A quick guide to healthy teeth for kids. When was the last time your kids were in to see us? We are currently offering $25 gift cards for kids who come in to sit in the big chair and have their teeth cleaned and checked from now through to April 15. That should give you time to fit it into your busy schedules.  

We have offices in four convenient locations in the Salt Lake City area, thereby making it easier for you to get your kids in to see us. For more information about those gift cards, go here. We hope to see you soon! 

7 Children’s Dental Care Tips

7 Children’s Dental Care Tips

7 Children’s Dental Care Tips

To have children means to have joy, love, frustration, and responsibilities. Lots of responsibilities. Among that long list of responsibilities is your child’s dental care. There’s a lot more to understanding the world of children’s dental care than simply connecting to your local pediatric dentist (although that is definitely important).

Here we’ve put together a list of tips for maneuvering the world of pediatric dental health. Some things may seem obvious and intuitive, but you may be surprised by a few others.

1. Start Dental Hygiene Habits Early

Even before their first tooth comes in, you can introduce the idea of mouth hygiene to your child. Gently wipe their gums with water and a clean wash cloth. Once their first tooth erupts it’s time not only to go to your friendly pediatric dentist, but also to start establishing the routine of brushing their teeth (or tooth if it’s just the first one).

2. Find a Pediatric Dentist that You and Your Kids Feel Comfortable With

You may be happy as a peach with your own dentist, but the reality is for your children, you really need a pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists have an extra two years of schooling under their caps that has prepared them to work specifically with children. This means they’re better prepared for the psychology of working with children, and that they’re specially trained for the dental issues and treatments that are specific to children as well.

For more information on how to select a pediatric dentist for your kids, read our in-depth post titled, “How to Find the Best Kids Dentist Near Me” where we list how to look and what to look for. This is an important decision because positive dental experiences in children lead to better dental health in adults.

3. Baby Teeth Require Care, Regardless of the Fact That They’ll Fall Out

Unfortunately, some parents believe dental health for baby teeth isn’t terribly important because they’ll all fall out anyway. Proper dental care of baby teeth is important for several reasons. Starting with the fact that dental issues, even in baby teeth, can be very painful. Save your baby/child the pain when you can. Secondly, habits that are formed early are very hard to break. If you’re child learns the habit that dental care isn’t a priority, when their permanent teeth come in, it’s going to be difficult to change that habit on its head. And finally, the baby teeth help your child learn to chew, to speak properly, and reserve the space in their growing jaws for when their permanent teeth come in.

For a more in-depth look at baby teeth and why their care is so important, read our post titled, “Baby Teeth Decay: Is It a Big Deal?

4. Twice a Day Brushing is a Must

Until at least eight years of age, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends parents do or assist in their children’s teeth brushing. The reasons vary depending on age, development, and character, but don’t take away from the necessity.

Just because it’s a “must” doesn’t mean it has to be misery however. Get them fun colors or characters of toothbrushes. Instead of setting a timer, listen to a fun song to get them to last the full two minutes of brushing. The American Dental Association (ADA) put together a playlist of fun tooth brushing songs. Check them out, and find a favorite!

5. Careful and Cautious with Loose Teeth

If your child has a tooth that is knocked loose from an accident or a fall, just because it’s a baby tooth doesn’t mean you should pull it out. In these circumstances, it’s best to contact us right away to get in and let one of our pediatric dentists check it out.

If it’s a tooth that is wiggly and loose just because, then let your kid wiggle it all they want, but don’t try to pull it out. Teeth get loose because the roots are being pushed out by the permanent teeth preparing to erupt. This is a natural process and is best left alone.

For more information about how and when your kids baby teeth start to fall out, check out our post, “The Childhood Rite of Passage, Losing a Baby Tooth“. Alternatively, if a tooth has been knocked loose or chipped, call us right away and follow our instructions which we’ve lined out clearly in our post, “My Child Chipped a Tooth: What Should I Do?

6. Get on the Fluoride Train

Fluoride may be controversial in some circles, but the truth is, fluoride makes tooth enamel stronger, helps teeth resist the acid and bacteria that are found in our mouths, and community water fluoridation is considered one of the top public health achievements of the 20th century. Make sure the toothpaste for your kids (and you!) has fluoride added, and if your water supply at home is fluoride water, be sure they’re drinking it instead of store bought bottled water.

Additionally, fluoride varnishes are a preventative service that our pediatric dental practice and others offer.

7. Healthy Eats Help Healthy Smiles

Even with routine brushing and flossing, fluoride water and toothpaste and routine checkups healthy eating is important. We explore this topic thoroughly in our post titled, “Do-Eats and Don’t Eats for Kids to Promote Healthy Teeth“. Furthermore, we realize that getting your kids to eat healthy can seem like an impossible challenge. Because of that, we put together a list of hacks to encourage healthy eating in your home. Read our post, “To Get Your Kids to Eat Healthy – Try These 7 Magic Tricks“.

If your child is due for a checkup, don’t wait until the holidays are over to get it done. We’re offering patients with appointments until the end of the year, $25 gift cards. For more information about this promotion, give us a call today!