Oral health plays an important role in overall wellness. Establishing good oral hygiene habits from an early age prevents dental problems in adulthood.
Pediatric dentistry is one of the nine fields of dental specialization that deals with infants, children and adolescents. Besides general dentistry skills, pediatric dentists have additional training in child psychology.
X-rays (radiographs) give us valuable information not only about the present status of your child’s teeth but also about any potential future problems. They can detect abnormal growths, such as impacted teeth, bone loss around the roots of existing teeth, and even cavities forming between the teeth.
Children need X-rays more frequently than adults because their mouths are still growing and developing, making it difficult to get an accurate picture of their oral health from visual examination alone. In addition, children are more prone to tooth decay than adults, and X-rays can help spot cavities in the tight spaces between teeth.
Pediatric dentists may also use X-rays to check for adult teeth that haven’t yet come in behind baby teeth, or to identify any impacted wisdom teeth that might need to be removed. Occasionally, X-rays may be needed to evaluate a cyst or abscess.
Although X-rays expose patients to some radiation, the amount is minimal and is considered safe for children. Today’s high-speed digital technology paired with lead shields and filters ensure that your child is exposed to as little radiation as possible. The radiation dose from an average dental X-ray is less than that received during a flight across the country.
Fluoride is a natural mineral that strengthens tooth enamel and prevents cavities. It has been an important part of dental care for decades. It is found in drinking water and over-the-counter toothpaste. Pediatric dentists recommend fluoride treatment for patients at risk of developing tooth decay. These include infants and children, patients with dry mouth, and those who consume sugary or acidic foods or drinks frequently.
Professional fluoride treatments are available in the form of a gel, solution or varnish that your pediatric dentist will apply to your child’s teeth. These treatments contain a much higher concentration of the mineral than that found in toothpaste and water. Typically, the fluoride will harden on the teeth within minutes and last for four to twelve hours. Fluoride treatments can also be administered orally in the form of rinses, tablets or mouthwash.
Pediatric dentists may also use a spot-treatment method called Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) to prevent tooth decay and repair small cavities. This liquid contains a mixture of silver ingredients that attack tooth decay bacteria and fluoride to remineralize the surface of the teeth. This is a quick and painless process. Although fluoride treatments are effective, they will not fully protect your child’s teeth unless they are combined with good oral hygiene habits including thorough brushing and flossing, a healthy diet and regular six monthly visits to their pediatric dentist.
In addition to fluoride treatment, pediatric dentists use sealants to protect children’s teeth from decay. Sealants are plastic resin coatings that your Katy pediatric dentist paints onto the chewing surfaces of children’s back teeth to fill in and seal off the deep grooves and pits that can harbor plaque. Studies show that children with sealed permanent molars have 80% fewer cavities than children without sealants.
Sealants are typically applied to children’s teeth after their first permanent molars come in, but can be used on adult teeth as well if they have deep grooves or pits. The sealant is bonded to the tooth and hardens with a special curing light, so it forms a smooth surface that is less likely to harbor plaque. It is a painless procedure, and there is no need for anesthesia. Sealants last for up to 10 years, but will need routine check-ups and cleanings to ensure that they are still intact.
Dental sealants are one of the best preventive treatments available for kids, and they are very affordable. Because they are considered a preventive procedure, most dental insurance plans cover them fully or partially. In fact, dental sealants are so effective that they can reduce the need for costly dental restorations later in life. Contact our dental office today to schedule an appointment for your child.
Oral hygiene is a crucial aspect of overall health, as bacteria from the mouth can get into the bloodstream and cause other conditions like heart disease. Because of this, it’s important that children practice good oral hygiene and visit their pediatric dentist regularly. Ideally, they should make their first dental visit when their first tooth erupts, and then frequently after that to build trust and prevent anxiety and develop strong teeth and gums.
In addition to cleaning, pediatric dentists also teach patients and their parents the importance of proper oral care. This includes brushing techniques, proper diet, thumb-sucking cessation, and a range of other topics. The goal is to instill good oral hygiene habits that will last a lifetime.
Children are not exempt from dental problems and issues like tooth decay, gingivitis, and abscesses. In fact, they’re more prone to them because they have more milk teeth than adults do and they tend to be less careful about their oral health. As a result, pediatric dentistry often deals with these problems in kids. But with proper oral hygiene, regular visits to the dentist, and healthy eating habits, these problems can be prevented in the future. This way, children can enjoy a healthy smile that they’ll be proud of for the rest of their lives. Thanks to this, they can also prevent serious health problems later in life.