Children’s Dentistry

Dental checkups should be fun, especially for kids! We welcome children at Reliance Dental and our team is great at making children’s dental appointments an experience your kiddos will enjoy. Most children’s checkups should begin between the ages of two and three. We’ll look for proper development of teeth and also provide preventive measures for little smiles, including hygiene, sealants, and fluoride treatments, all aimed to protect your child’s teeth and maintain good oral health.

CONCERNS WITH CHILDREN’S CAVITIES OR HABITS

Habits which promote tooth decay and cavity formation:

  • Drinking a lot of juice, any amount of soda or other sweetened drinks
  • Drinking milk or juice before bedtime or in the middle of the night
  • Continuous snacking throughout the day
  • Eating a lot of candy, especially gummy candy, which can get in between teeth and can be hard to get out without flossing
  • Giving kids bottled water instead of fluoridated tap water

And perhaps the worst habit that can promote cavities and tooth decay is not getting an early start at proper tooth brushing twice a day as soon as your child gets a tooth. In fact, you should likely start even earlier, wiping your baby’s gums with a soft washcloth or soft infant toothbrush and water each day even before the teeth erupt.

Avoiding Cavities

You can’t always avoid cavities, as some parents and kids do everything right and still have problems with tooth decay. However, engaging in these activities can help reduce the likelihood of developing cavities:

  • Breastfeed until at least 12 months of age
  • Provide fluoridated water once they are 6 months old
  • Ensure gums and teeth are brushed at least twice a day, including before bedtime
  • No drinks around bedtime and after brushing, which is especially important for older infants and toddlers
  • Promote a healthy, balanced diet that include fruits and vegetables
  • Avoid dry cereal, chips and crackers, as some of these high-starch foods can promote the formation of cavities
  • Encourage rinsing or brushing after eating or drinking sweets
  • Try to avoid sharing utensils, cups or toothbrushes with other family members, as this can spread cavity-causing bacteria
  • Consider dental sealants to coat and protect the grooves on the surfaces of molars when they come in at around age 6 years (first molars) and age 12 (second molars)
  • Start flossing once teeth are in contact with each other

What if my child doesn’t like to brush?

Whether or not they like it, brushing their teeth every day is not something your kids should be able to get out of. That doesn’t mean you can’t make it more enjoyable so that they will want to brush on their own one day. A technique that works for many kids is to allow them to brush their teeth on their own while you brush your own teeth. Give them positive reinforcement for brushing and then brush their teeth again to make sure they did a good job.

Use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste for children ages 2 to 5 years; even less, a smear of toothpaste, for younger infants and toddlers.

Remember that your kids will likely need help brushing well until they are about 8 years old.

When should my child first see the dentist?

Tooth decay can start as soon as a tooth appears, so children should see a dentist shortly after their first tooth or before their first birthday. Seeing a dentist early can be especially helpful to educate you about proper brushing and flossing techniques, how to avoid unhealthy habits and promote good oral health.

DIFFICULTY SPEAKING PROPERLY

There are many possible causes of speech disorders. Working with a speech expert (Speech and Language Therapist/Pathologist) or medical professional can help identify the cause and best course of treatment.

  • Possible physical causes:
    • Cleft palate
    • Malocclusion is when the teeth do not have the proper normal bite. Usually corrected through braces, although orthodontic surgery is necessary in some cases.
    • Neurological disorders caused by trauma or tumors can cause a speech disorder called dysprosody.
  • Possibly psychological causes:
    • Dyslexia and other mental disabilities can prevent a person from learning how to speak properly
    • Children who have learning disabilities may also have speech impediments
    • People who suffer from traumatic experiences can develop speech problems like stammering and stuttering. For example, a death in the family, an accident, or a crime can cause psychological trauma and affect the ability of a person to speak clearly.

TONGUE TIES

A normal tongue can move around freely and is not restricted by teeth, extending outwards between the upper and lower jaw. Infants swallow with their jaws parted and the tongue positioned between gum pads. This produces a vacuum for swallowing called the “infantile swallow.”

frenectomy is the removal of a frenum in the mouth.  A frenum is a muscular attachment between two tissues that causes a person to be tongue tied. There are three frenums that may require frenectomies: the upper lip, lower lip, and the tongue. A laser is used for the procedure so there is no incision, therefore less risk of infection.  Post-operative exercises are mandatory so that the frenum does not grow back.

Infant frenectomies, or sometimes known as tongue tied, can be performed on newborns up till the age of 3 months. Because of their age, no anesthetic is given for this age group. The rationale for this is that we don’t want to introduce foreign substances into the body, and the amount of discomfort and time it takes to administer the local anesthetic would be longer and more uncomfortable than the procedure itself.  After the age of 5, an anesthetic may be used.

LIP TIES

Two types of lip-ties can occur: upper lip-ties and Lower lip-toes. An upper lip-tie occurs when a piece of skin under the upper lip is relatively thick or short and is tightly attached to the upper gum. Restricted movement of the upper lip occurs, preventing it from being able to freely pull up.  This can make infant feeding difficult, as the baby will be incapable of forming a tight seal with the nipple. In adolescents and teenagers, an upper lip-tie may be linked to a gap between the front teeth, called a diastema; this is can be considered a cosmetic issue. Upper lip-ties are commonly linked to Tongue-ties.

frenectomy is the removal of a frenum in the mouth.  A frenum is a muscular attachment between two tissues that causes a person to be lip tied. There are three frenums that may require frenectomies: the upper lip, lower lip, and the tongue. A laser is used for the procedure so there is no incision, therefore less risk of infection.  Post-operative exercises are mandatory so that the frenum does not grow back.

Infant frenectomies, or sometimes known as tongue tied, can be performed on newborns up till the age of 3 months. Because of their age, no anesthetic is given for this age group. The rationale for this is that we don’t want to introduce foreign substances into the body, and the amount of discomfort and time it takes to administer the local anesthetic would be longer and more uncomfortable than the procedure itself.  After the age of 5, an anesthetic may be used.

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