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Pediatric Dentistry
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Periodontics is that specialty of dentistry which encompasses the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the supporting and surrounding tissues of the teeth or their substitutes and the maintenance of the health, function and esthetics of these structures and tissues. Professional dental cleanings are needed at least twice a year to maintain good oral health. Many people require a routine cleaning three or four times a year because of the build of plaque and tartar that they accumulate. If you have been told you have periodontal (gum) disease, you are not alone. An estimated 80 percent of American adults currently have some form of the disease. Periodontal diseases range from simple gum inflammation to serious diseases that result in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. In the worst cases, teeth are lost. Gum disease is a threat to your oral health. Research is also pointing to possible health effects of periodontaldiseases that go well beyond your mouth (more about this later). Whether it is stopped, slowed, or gets worse depends a great deal on how well you care for your teeth and gums every day, from this point forward.

What is pediatric dentistry?

Pediatric dentistry is the branch of dentistry that deals with infants, children and adolescents including those patients with special care needs.

Do you have to be a pediatric dentist to treat children?

No you do not. However, a pediatric dentist attends a post graduate program after dental school for two to three years to learn more about the specific needs of young dental patients.

Do I need to brush my childrens teeth?

Yes because children develop plaque just like adults do and it mush be removed on a daily basis so it does not lead to tooth decay. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush that will fit into the childs mouth at least once a day to begin with when they are very young and at least twice a day by the time most of the baby teeth have erupted.

When should I take my child to the dentist for the first time?

You should schedule an appointment around the first birthday so that we can check for good oral hygiene, cavities and any developmental or congenital abnormalities.

If baby teeth eventually fall out, why are they important?

Baby teeth are very important because they serve many of the same purposes of adult teeth such as tearing and chewing food and helping the child speak properly. Additionally, they hold the place for adult teeth. If adult teeth are lost prematurely, an appliance called a space maintainer is needed to prevent the remaining teeth from shifting into the space of the lost tooth.

How do thumb sucking and pacifier habits harm teeth?

There is not much difference between the two habits and they only become a problem if the baby teeth start to get displaced or if the habit continues after the adult teeth have erupted. Read more about thumb sucking and pacifiers.

I did not give my baby candy but he still has decay. How did that happen?

Decay is not only caused by candy; it can be caused by most foods or liquids other than water that do not get removed from the surface of teeth. Infants and children are at the mercy of their parents. If a toddler is continuously given a bottle with almost anything other than water at bedtime, they will probably develop baby bottle caries, which is decay on the front teeth. Do not give a bottle with anything other than water and get in the habit of brushing your childs teeth on a regular basis.

How often do children need to visit the dentist?

Children should visit a dentist every six months. We like to catch anything when it is small and by seeing the child every six months gives us the best chance to keep an eye out for any signs of early decay. Additionally, since teeth start coming and going, we like to have a history of each patients dental development.

Is toothpaste good or bad for children?

Fluoridated toothpaste should not be used for children under age 2. After that time, parents should be in charge of dispensing the toothpaste and the amount to be used each time should not be bigger than the size of a pea. Make sure the children spit the toothpaste out instead of swallowing it. It is not dangerous if they swallow it once or twice but do not let it become a habit.

Should baby teeth be sealed?

Baby teeth should be sealed if they have deep pits and fissures meaning that they will probably decay without a sealant. Read more about sealants.

What should I do if my child has an accident and knocks out a tooth?

Please read how to save a knocked out tooth.

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