Just as you take your child to the doctor for regular check-ups, it’s important to take your child to the dentist, too. Our mouths are full of bacteria. Some types are helpful. Other types interact with sugar and food to create acids that can erode tooth enamel, creating cavities. A cavity is literally a hole in a tooth.
Most of our general dentists at Towncare Dental are family dentists who see children, teenagers, and adults. Some of our dental offices also have a pediatric dentist on the team. A pediatric dentist is a family dentist who completed an additional two-to-three years of specialized training in diagnosing and treating infants, preschoolers, children, and teenagers.
Dental Care for Children
Children have different oral health needs as they get older, but one thing remains the same: if the child has a tooth, that tooth can develop a cavity.
Foods containing sugar and starches feed the bacteria in our mouth that create cavity-causing acid. The acid attacks the enamel of teeth, causing them to lose minerals. The first sign of a problem may be a white spot where the minerals have been lost. The good news is the minerals can be replaced by the minerals in saliva and toothpaste with fluoride.
That’s why it’s so important to brush and floss teeth even in young children. A pea-sized dab of fluoridated toothpaste will help remove the bacteria and food particles from children’s teeth, prevent mineral loss, and keep tooth decay from occurring.
Every time a child – or an adult – eats or drinks, the bacteria breaking down the food creates a sticky, colorless film called plaque that attaches to teeth. If it’s not removed by brushing twice a day and flossing once a day, it hardens into a substance called tartar (calculus). At that point, it’s almost impossible to remove the hardened substance with just regular brushing. Dentists and hygienists use special tools to clean the tartar off teeth and remove the cavity-causing plaque buildup.
Pediatric Dentists Provide Specialized Care for Children
Pediatric dentists are specially trained in the needs of infants, children, and teenagers. They know how to examine even fussy children, keeping the visit fun and explaining every step of the process in a way that children can understand. They take away the fear many kids have of going to the dentist, and give helpful tips to parents about what they can do to ensure their children are brushing and flossing at home.
In addition to providing teeth cleanings, sealants, and fillings, pediatric dentists can also create customized mouthguards for children who play sports; identify teeth that may cause future problems; place space maintainers to keep the space left by a baby tooth open so the permanent tooth has room to come in; and perform root canal treatment or extractions as needed.
Providing Caring Dental Care for Children with Special Needs
Pediatric dentists are trained to help children with a wide variety of special needs. They have the compassion, the understanding, and the expertise needed to help children with development disorders such as Autism and Down Syndrome, as well as behavioral and emotional disorders such as ADD, ADHD, and anxiety disorders.
Our pediatric dentists have also received extensive training as part of their education in helping children with sensory impairments, such as blindness or hearing problems. They are also skilled with helping children with Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, cancer, asthma, epilepsy, and other physical disorders.
Most general dentists have not gone through the extensive training that pediatric dentists have completed in these areas. It’s one more reason why many parents prefer to have their child see a pediatric dentist instead of a general dentist.
Emergency Dental Care for Children
It can be scary when your child has a toothache or has suffered an injury to the mouth. Call one of our pediatric dentists at Towncare Dental today to schedule an emergency dental appointment for your child. If our pediatric dentist is not available, we can refer you to either one of our family dentists or to a pediatric dentist at one of our affiliated dental offices.