What kinds of treatments are included in pediatric dentistry?
Pediatric dentistry treats patients aged 3 to 18 years of age. Treatments include routine dental checkups, including examination of the entire oral cavity and digital x-rays of the mouth, as well as preventive treatments such as cleanings and dental sealants.
We know that establishing good oral hygiene early in childhood increases the likelihood that children will have healthier teeth throughout their lives. For this reason, we will take the time to instruct our pediatric patients on proper dental hygiene and home care to help keep their teeth and gums healthy, as well as the importance of regular dental exams.
When should children start getting dental checkups?
Your child’s first dental checkup should happen just after their third birthday.
During a dental checkup, Dr. Harding will gently examine the child’s teeth and gums and take digital X-rays to check on the development of your child’s permanent teeth developing below the gumline. Dr. Harding will screen for oral cancer, diagnose and fill cavities, and perform orthodontic evaluations, referring patients to our orthodontic specialist as needed. He will also examine the overall condition of the teeth and gums, as well as the underlying bone tissue for problems that could develop into serious conditions.
Our hygienist will clean the child’s teeth professionally. Dr. Harding may also recommend and apply dental sealants to protect your child’s developing teeth. These are applied once the full set of baby teeth have grown in, and again after the permanent teeth have grown in.
How should I prepare my child for the first visit?
The best way to prepare for a child’s first dental checkup is to clearly explain to them what they can expect during the first visit. We also recommend that you read books to them about going to the dentist and talk to them about the importance of maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Speak positively about your own experiences with dental checkups. It may also be helpful to bring the child to the dental office before their visit or to have them accompany their parents during a dental exam.
How can cavities be prevented?
At West Bend Dentistry, we emphasize preventive care and are committed to setting a healthy foundation of good oral health to ensure a bright smile for your child’s lifetime. We use the most advanced dental sealants in the field to protect your child’s teeth and apply them to the chewing surfaces of teeth that are prone to decay.
Cavities are caused by a variety of factors but primarily from eating sugary foods. Chewing food produces an acid reaction inside the mouth as oral bacteria break down the sugars in food. This typically takes about 20 minutes. This acid environment can damage tooth enamel so the longer your child takes to chew their food, the higher the risk of tooth decay.
The consistency of the saliva in a child’s mouth also affects oral health. Thinner saliva digests food more quickly. A diet rich in carbohydrates and sugars produces thicker saliva, which increases the risk of developing cavities.
You can help to prevent cavities by encouraging brushing and flossing after every meal, and choosing nutritious snacks over sugary treats, and maintaining a healthy, balanced diet. Please don’t hesitate to contact our office to learn more about how you can prevent and treat cavities.