At Williamsburg Dental Arts, we care about building a solid dental foundation for your children through gentle pediatric care. Young children should start seeing the dentist around their first birthday or just after their first tooth erupts. Without proper dental care or hygiene instruction, children are susceptible to cavities or disease due to their sensitive young teeth and improper at-home cleaning. By seeing the dentist early your children build an improved relationship with their oral health and are less afraid to visit the dentist in the future.
Some dental problems begin very early in life. One concern is baby bottle tooth decay, a serious condition caused by a child staying on the bottle (or breast) too long. Another problem is gum disease. About 40% of children 2-3 years old have at least mild inflammation of gum tissues. Oral habits (such as thumb-sucking) should also be checked. The earlier the dental visit, the better the chances of preventing problems. Strong, healthy teeth help your child chew food easily, speak clearly and feel good about his or her appearance.
Primary teeth are important because they help with proper chewing and eating, help in speech development and add to an attractive appearance. A child who can chew easily, speak clearly and smile confidently is a happier child. Healthy primary teeth allow normal development of the jaw bones and muscles, save space for the permanent teeth and guide them into place. If a baby tooth is lost too soon, permanent teeth may come in crooked. Decayed baby teeth can cause pain, abscesses, infections, and can spread to the permanent teeth. Also, your child’s general health can be affected if diseased baby teeth aren’t treated. Remember, some primary molars are not replaced until age 10-14, so they must last for years.
We are asked this question many times. We suggest you prepare your child the same way that you would before their first hair-cut or trip to the shoe store. This will not be the frightening experience you may remember from your youth. If you are nervous about the trip, then the less you say the better. You cannot hide your anxiety from a child (they have radar for these things). Your child’s reaction to his first visit to the dentist may surprise you.
Tooth decay and children no longer have to go hand in hand. At our office we are most concerned with all aspects of preventive care. We use the latest in sealant technology to protect your child’s teeth. Sealants are space-age plastics that are bonded to the chewing surfaces of decay prone back teeth. This is just one of the ways we will set the foundation for your child’s lifetime of good oral health.
Your health and peace of mind are always our primary concern; therefore, we use state-of-the-art sterilization procedures. After each patient’s visit, the treatment area is thoroughly disinfected. We ultrasonically clean and heat sterilize all non-disposable instruments. Our team wears gloves and masks during procedures. Please feel free to ask us for information on the measures we take to ensure the safety of you and your children, or a tour of our sterilization area.
Children’s hands and mouths are different than adults. They need to use toothbrushes designed for children. Both adults and children should use brushes with soft, rounded bristles for gentle cleaning. Change to a new brush about every three months.
Wipe infant’s teeth gently with a moist, soft cloth or gauze square. As babies grow, use a child’s toothbrush with a small, pea-sized dab of toothpaste, usually non-fluoridated until your child can spit. By age two or three begin to teach your child to brush. You will still need to brush where they miss every day. We advise parents/ guardians to use a gentle, small, circular motion to remove plaque. When children are older, usually around age 7, they can switch to this method and brush independently.
Hold the brush at a 45 degrees angle towards teeth and gums. Move brush in a circular motion with gentle pressure, about a tooth wide for 2 minutes.
Brush the inside and outside surfaces of each tooth, top and bottom.
Hold the brush flat on top of the teeth and brush the chewing surfaces.
Gently brush the tongue to remove debris.
Floss between teeth daily.
Digit (Thumb) sucking is a habit that occurs in infants. Children usually give up digit sucking by the age of four. If the child continues past the age when their permanent teeth start to erupt, they may develop crooked teeth and a malformed roof of their mouth. This results from the frequency, duration, intensity, and position of the digit in the child’s mouth. This can also affect the position of the upper and lower jaw and can also affect speech.
Suggestions to break the habit:
The first baby teeth which come into the mouth are usually the two bottom front teeth. You will notice this when your baby is about six to eight months old. Next to follow will be the four upper front teeth and the remainder of your baby’s teeth will appear periodically. They will usually appear in pairs along the sides of the jaw until the child is about 2-1/2 years old.
At around 2-1/2 years old, your child should have all 20 teeth. Between the ages of five and six, the first permanent teeth will begin to erupt. Some of the permanent teeth replace baby teeth and some don’t. Don’t worry if some teeth are a few months early or late as all children are different.
Baby teeth are important as they not only hold space for permanent teeth, but they are important to chewing, biting, speech, and appearance.
For this reason it is important to maintain a healthy diet and daily hygiene.
Several specific types of bacteria that live on the teeth cause decay. When sugar is consumed, the bacteria use the sugar and then manufacture acids that dissolve the teeth and cause an infection in the tooth. This infection is called decay.
Babies who go to bed with a bottle of milk, formula, or juice are more likely to get tooth decay. Because the sugar in formula, milk, or juice stays in contact with the teeth for a long time during the night, the teeth can decay quickly.
Some Tips To Avoid Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Fluoride helps make teeth strong and prevents tooth decay. If the water where you live does not have enough fluoride, your doctor may prescribe fluoride supplements (fluoride drops or pills). These drops or pills are taken every day, starting when your child is about six months old. Only give as much as the directions say to use because too much fluoride can cause spots on your child’s teeth. Also, be sure to call your local water authority and ask if your water is fluoridated. If it is, tell your dentist or pediatrician so that your child is not being over fluoridated. Children should take these drops or pills until they are 12 to 16 years old (or until you move to an area with fluoride in the water).
Fluoride varnish is a topical agent containing a high concentration of fluoride (5 percent sodium fluoride (NaF) or 22,600 ppm of fluoride) in a resin or synthetic base. It is painted directly onto teeth and is intended to remain in close contact with enamel for several hours. Because it adheres to the tooth surface, it stays in place so that our patients can eat and drink following their appointment and it minimizes the risk of inadvertent fluoride consumption. The ADA considers fluoride varnish to be safe and efficacious as part of a caries prevention program that includes caries diagnosis, risk assessment, and regular dental care. We recommend this fluoride treatment in our very young patients as well as our patients at high risk for dental decay.
Most of the time cavities are due to a diet high in sugary foods plus a lack of brushing.
Limiting sugar intake and brushing regularly, of course, can help. The longer it takes your child to chew their food, the longer the residue stays on their teeth and the greater the chances of getting cavities.
Every time someone eats, an acid reaction occurs inside their mouth as the bacteria digests the sugars. This reaction lasts approximately 20 minutes. During this time the acid environment can destroy the tooth structure, eventually leading to cavities.
Consistency of a person’s saliva also makes a difference as thinner saliva breaks up and washes away food more quickly. When a person eats diets high in carbohydrates and sugars, they tend to have thicker saliva, which in turn produces more of the acid-producing bacteria that causes cavities.
Some tips for cavity prevention:
While many people believe periodontal disease is an adult problem, studies indicate that gingivitis (the first stage of periodontal disease) is nearly a universal problem among children and adolescence. Advanced forms of periodontal disease are more rare in children than adults, but can occur.
Chronic gingivitis is common in children. It can cause gum tissue to swell, turn red, and bleed easily. Gingivitis is preventable and treatable with a regular routine of brushing, flossing, and professional dental care. If left untreated, it can eventually advance to more serious forms of periodontal disease.
Localized aggressive periodontitis can affect young healthy children. It is found in teenagers and young adults and mainly affects the first molars and incisors. It is characterized by the severe loss of alveolar bone, and ironically, patients generally form very little dental plaque or calculus.
Generalized aggressive periodontitis may begin around puberty and involve the entire mouth. It is marked by inflammation of the gums and heavy accumulations of plaque and calculus. Eventually it can cause the teeth to become loose.
Conditions that make children more susceptible to periodontal disease include:
For example, in a survey of 263 Type I diabetics, 11 to 18 years of age, 10 percent had overt periodontitis.
Many people ask why it is so important to visit a pediatric dentist, and the answer is simple – experience. While many dentists may treat children if they are not a kids dentist, they may lack the experience necessary to keep a child comfortable during their dental treatments. When treating children, it is not enough to get the job done, how it is done is equally important. At Williamsburg Dental Arts, we understand that how a child feels during their first several dental visits, will influence how they react to dentistry throughout their lifetime. A positive experience now can set the tone for ongoing, regular dental care throughout their adult life. A negative or scary dental visit can have the opposite effect and make them not want to visit the dentist anymore. In our office, we can treat children and take active steps to ensure their emotional and physical comfort. To learn more or to schedule a dental exam, call (347) 763-9394.
Our children's dentist office is conveniently located in Brooklyn. We treat children from a very young age, believing that preventative oral health care is essential for their ability to eat and speak clearly, avoid discomfort, and decrease the need for braces later on. We also know that most families have an extremely busy schedule, and it can be difficult to make a dental appointment in between school, soccer, and ballet. As a kids dentist, we will work with you to schedule appointments for a time that is convenient so that you do not have to pull the kids out of school or take too much time off work. Let us know what your scheduling restrictions are when calling our office so that we can provide you with a convenient appointment time.