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Common Pediatric Dental Topics in Moreno Valley, CA

General Dental Topics

What Is A Pediatric Dentist?

A pediatric dentist is a dentist who has completed an additional two to three years of dental education and is dedicated to the oral health of children from infancy to teenage years. A pediatric dentist is best qualified to meet the varying needs of infants, adolescents, and teens.

Why Primary Teeth Are Important.

The health of primary teeth is important. Cavities that are left unattended can and often does lead to problems affecting the growth and development of permanent teeth. Primary teeth (baby teeth) are important for:
 
  • Proper Chewing
  • Providing space for permanent teeth while guiding them into the correct position.
 
  • Development of muscles and bones in jaw
  • Development of speech
 

Eruption Of Your Child's Teeth

The first primary (baby) teeth erupt through the gums as early as 4 months. First, the lower central incisors, followed by the upper central incisors. Although the pace and order may vary, 20 primary teeth typically appear by age 3.
Permanent teeth begin to erupt around the age of 6. Typically the first molars and lower central incisors. Adults have 28 permanent teeth (up to 32 including wisdom teeth) that continue to erupt until around 21 years of age.

Dental Emergencies

Toothaches: Rise mouth out thoroughly with warm water and use floss to remove any food. If there is still pain, contact your child's dentist. If swelling occurs, apply cold compression and call your dentist.

Cut/Bitten Tongue, Lip, or Cheek: Apply ice or cold compression to area to minimize swelling. If bleeding apply pressure with cloth or gauze. If pressure does not stop bleeding, call a physician immediately.

Loss of permanent tooth: If it is possible to find the tooth handle it with care; do not touch the root, wash with soap, or scrub the tooth. Inspect the tooth for any damage. If tooth does not look to be damaged, re-insert the tooth into the socket and hold in place by biting down on gauze. If the tooth cannot be re-inserted, carry tooth in a cup containing saliva or milk and visit a dentist immediately as saving the tooth is time-sensitive.

Loss of primary (baby) tooth: Not usually an emergency in most cases. Contact your pediatric dentist.

Fracture/Chipped permanent tooth: Contact dentist immediately. Keep any fragments and bring it to the dentist, acting quickly can save the tooth or reduce the need to additional treatment.

Fractured/Chipped Primary (Baby) Tooth: Contact your pediatric dentist.

Importance of Dental X-Rays

Dental X-rays (Radiographs) are an important piece to dental health diagnostics. X-Rays help identify cavities, view incoming (erupting) teeth, diagnose bone disease, evaluate an injury and many other uses. These help combat any conditions that could not be found during a standard clinical examination and boost preventative care. It is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry that every six months a X-Ray (Radiograph) for those at high risk for tooth decay. It is best practice that every 3 years a set of panoramic and bitewings or periapicals and bitewings radiographs are taken. As a pediatric dentist proper shielding is used to ensure minimal radiation exposure.
 

Early Infant Oral Care

 

Best Brushing Practices For Children

Some toothpaste contain abrasiveness that can strip away tooth enamel. When choosing a toothpaste, it is important ti use one that is approved by the American Dental Association. These have been through a testing process to ensure safety.

It is also important that the toothpaste is spit out during use to limit the amount of fluoride ingested. Use only a pea-sized amount or consider a fluoride-free brushing option.
 
Smiling girl with toothbrush - Dental Care in Moreno Valley, CA
 

Thumb Sucking

Sucking of the thumb that continues after the eruption of permanent teeth can cause problems with growth and alignment. The severity of problems can vary depending on how vigorous the sucking may be. Most children stop between the ages of two and four.

Pacifiers do not serve as a alternative for thumb sucking. They essentially effect the teeth the same way. However, pacifiers are more easily controlled compared to thumb sucking.
 
A few ways thumb sucking can be controlled:

  • Thumb Sucking typically occurs when the child is feeling insecure. Focus more on the cause of insecurity and not the sucking of the thumb.
  • Provide comfort to reduce the feeling of anxiety.
  • Place a bandage on the thumb or put a sock on their hand when sleeping. This reminds the child of their habit.
 
Thumb Sucking  - Dental Care in Moreno Valley, CA
 

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby bottle decay is a serious type of decay that occurs when the teeth are exposed to sugary liquids such as milk (including breast milk), formula, fruit juice, and other sweet drinks. If a bottle is given to a child during the night as they sleep it should contain water only. If your child will not sleep without its usual drink, dilute the contents gradually over the course of two to three weeks. Another way to combat bottle decay is to wipe the child's teeth and gums with a damp cloth to remove plaque.

Sippy cups

Sippy cups act similar to bottles in that they typically are filled with a sugary drink. This allows the child to expose their teeth to cavity causing bacteria throughout the day. Use of a sippy cup should end by the first birthday of the child.
 

Preventative

Healthy Diet Means Healthy Teeth:

Much like the rest of the body, mouth care begins with a healthy diet. Children should eat a well-balanced diet with minimal amounts of sugar. For snacking try nutritional foods such as fruits, vegetables, and low fat dairy options like yogurt and cheese.

Cavity Prevention

Use the best oral health practices to help fight cavities. For infants and young children use a damp cloth to wipe plaque from teeth and gums. For older children, brushing should take place at least twice a day. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a visit to the dentist every 6 months beginning at the age of one. Limit the number of sugary snacks and drinks. Protective seals or home fluoride treatments can be applied to prevent decay.
 

Sedation

Nitrous Oxide

At times, children are given nitrous oxide/oxygen, also known as laughing gas, before dental treatment. It is administered through a breathing mask place over the child's nose. This allows them to relax without putting them to sleep. This techniques is recognized as safe by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. The gas in non-addictive and leaves the body quickly. The child does not lose consciousness and all reflexes and natural movement is retained.
Prior To Appointment:

  • Inform dentist of any change in your child's heath or medical conditions.
  • Inform dentist of any respiratory conditions your child may have.
  • Inform dentist of any medication your child is on.

Conscious Sedation

There are many different medications that can be used for conscious sedation and your doctor will prescribe the medication that is best suited for the child's health. We will be happy to answer to any concerns regarding the medication used.
 
Prior To Appointment:

  • Inform dentist of any change in your child's heath or medical conditions.
  • Inform dentist of any respiratory conditions your child may have.
  • Inform dentist of any medication your child is on.
  • Dress child in comfortable clothing
  • Make sure child uses bathroom before appointment
  • No solid foods at least 6 hours before their sedation and clear liquids only up to 4 hours before appointment.
 
  • The parent or legal guardian must be present during the complete procedure
  • While the medication is going into effect the child should be supervised at all times. Child should preferably be help or close to parent. The child should not be active.
  • Slight excitement may occur along with drowsiness.
 
After The Appointment:

  • The child may still be drowsy and will need to be monitored. Keep child away from items and areas that may cause harm
  • If the child is to sleep they should sleep on their side with their chin upwards. Dehydration may occur, wake every hour and encourage them to drink water. The first meal should be something easily digestible and should not be anything heavy.
  • If vomiting occurs, have the child bend over with their head turned to the side to eliminate ingestion.
  • Local anesthetic used to numb the mouth may cause the child to touch bite or chew lips, cheeks and tongue.
  • Call us if you have any question or concerns.

I.V. Sedation

This option is recommended for children who are apprehensive or have special needs where conscious sedation is not the optimal method. An anesthesiologist will administer and monitor the sedation while the dentist performs the procedure.
 
Prior To Appointment:

  • Inform dentist of any change in your child's heath or medical conditions.
  • Inform dentist of any respiratory conditions your child may have.
  • Inform dentist of any medication your child is on.
  • Dress child in comfortable clothing
 
  • Make sure child uses bathroom before appointment
  • No solid foods at least 6 hours before their sedation and clear liquids only up to 4 hours before appointment.
  • The parent or legal guardian must be present during the complete procedure
 
After The Appointment:

  • The child may still be drowsy and will need to be monitored. Keep child away from items and areas that may cause harm
  • If the child is to sleep they should sleep on their side with their chin upwards. Dehydration may occur, wake every hour and encourage them to drink water. The first meal should be something easily digestible and should not be anything heavy.
  • If vomiting occurs, have the child bend over with their head turned to the side to eliminate ingestion.
  • Local anesthetic used to numb the mouth may cause the child to touch bite or chew lips, cheeks and tongue.
  • Call us if you have any question or concerns.
 

Orthodontics At An Early Age

Orthodontic evaluations should take place by the age of 7. This is recommended by the American Association of Orthodontist to better ensure the child has natural growth and development. Our goal is to give your child a simile that will last a lifetime.
 
Signs that indicate early treatment:

  • Thumb sucking and tongue thrusting
  • Swollen adenoids or tonsils (causes airway constriction)
  • Heavy breathing from mouth or snoring
 
  • Narrow or Underdeveloped jaws
  • Spaces and gaps
 

First Phase

Growth (Functional) Appliances as well as Limited Braces -- Ages 5 to 12
The first phase consists of position and symmetry of the jaw, growth, spacing, breathing, and any abnormal dentofacial development. First phase treatment is very successful and sometimes eliminates the need for further orthodontic treatment.

Second Phase

Braces - Age 12 to 14
In phase two the dentist focuses on how the teeth and jaws align and how they work together. the straightening of teeth and bite is properly aligned. The first phase can decrease the need for brace, however close attention is still given to the jaw joint, gum tissues, and facial profile.