If your baby has sprouted his or her first tooth, you might wonder when it’s time to start regular dental care. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, you should start pediatric dental care as soon your baby’s first tooth appears or around their first birthday — whichever comes first.
Pediatric dentistry plays an important role in your child’s dental health, and it’s available here at SPA Dental Group.
Our team of experienced providers — Dr. Shebani Pahwa, Dr. Maham Siddiqui, and Dr. Samantha Ben-Ezra— have created this guide to share the ins and outs of pediatric dentistry and why it’s important.
What exactly is pediatric dentistry?
Pediatric dentistry is a branch of dentistry that focuses on the oral health of children, including infants, young children, and teens. Although children lose their primary teeth (commonly called baby teeth), regular dental care is still important. Primary teeth are essential for chewing and speaking clearly, but they also lay the groundwork (and hold space) for your child’s permanent teeth.
Why is pediatric dentistry important?
Pediatric dentistry includes preventive services that help avoid potential future problems as well as restorative treatments that address problems that have already arisen.
Pediatric dentistry includes:
Dental exams and cleanings
Routine exams and cleanings are one of the most important parts of dental care, and that’s true of pediatric dental care as well.
During an exam, your child’s mouth (including teeth, gums, lips, and tongue) are inspected for any red flags. Tongue ties, lip ties, decay, and spacing issues are just a few of the potential problems that can be detected during an oral exam. Early detection of problems allows your child to receive swift treatment before small problems become larger ones.
Dental cleanings for children may include:
- Counting teeth and ensuring developmental milestones are reached
- Cleaning teeth and removing any plaque
- Fluoride treatments
- X-rays to monitor the development of teeth or to detect any cavities, especially decay that is hidden between two teeth
During your child’s exam and cleaning, you can ask questions about your child’s oral care routine. Many parents of small children find this one-on-one time is invaluable. Our team can:
- Show you how to brush your baby’s teeth (or how to make brushing easier for toddlers who don’t like to brush)
- Provide guidance on selecting toothpaste for your child
- Provide guidance on how much toothpaste your child needs
- Share information about healthy oral habits for your child, including any dietary habits that impact oral health (such as drinking a lot of juice at meals)
If needed, we can also suggest any necessary treatments that your child may need.
If a visual exam or dental X-rays reveals decay, we can fill the cavity. Filling a cavity helps prevent unwanted complications of an untreated cavity. Untreated cavities can lead to infections, more pain, and even the loss of the tooth.
Not only do we treat cavities, but we also help prevent them too. Dental sealants, which are thin coatings painted directly onto teeth, are a common pediatric dental service, and they are 100% pain-free. Sealants cover your child’s molars, and they reduce the risk of cavities by sealing out decay-causing bacteria.
Many older children and teens benefit from orthodontic treatment. However, they don’t need to fuss with metal brackets and wires. We offer Invisalign so your teen can have the benefit of straight teeth without the discomfort of traditional braces.
Setting up a future for success
One of the most important aspects of pediatric dentistry is that it creates a solid foundation for your child. Starting pediatric dental care early demonstrates that dental care is part of your overall wellness.
At SPA Dental Group, we know it’s important to make a good first impression with our littlest patients. That’s why we use non-threatening and fun names like “Mister Thirsty,” “Sleepy Juice,” and “Tooth Pillow” when we talk about dental equipment.
If you have concerns about your child’s oral health, or your baby is ready for his/her first appointment, don’t hesitate to give us a shout. Call the location of your choice or visit our website to schedule your child’s appointment today.