Pediatric dentists, similar to pediatricians, monitor growth and development from infancy through the teenage years. This begins with your child’s first dental visit. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) recommend that the child’s first dental visit occur by your child’s first birthday. This early visit enables us to evaluate potential problems related to your child’s oral health as well as introduce you and your child to proper oral hygiene and dietary practices.
We recommend that children receive a cleaning, x-rays, and check-up at least every six months. Often, kids with special needs or a high risk for dental disease require more frequent check-ups. At that time, the dental hygienist can review oral health topics such as brushing and flossing, diet, and restorative needs. This is also a good time to introduce kids to all the sights and sounds of the dental office. We find that when children are comfortable with common dental “tools”, they are more likely to do well should they need any treatment done in the future.
If a child has dental decay, the restorative treatment that Dr. Horne and Dr. Miner will depend on several factors. They will take into consideration a child’s age, development, cooperation level, decay risk, and the particular affected tooth. Most baby teeth will require a tooth colored filling if decay is present. Sometimes if the decay is more extensive, a crown is needed to prevent orthodontic problems and maintain function for chewing.
In many cases, Dr. Horne and Dr. Miner will recommend extraction for baby teeth that have problems like cavities or infection. Occasionally, baby teeth need to be removed if they are not exfoliating normally when the permanent tooth comes in. There is usually some anxiety associated with a child knowing they have to have a tooth extracted. Our staff will use phrases such as “wiggle the tooth” rather than “pull” or “yank”. The good news is most kids are surprised and relieved at how quick and easy it is to have a tooth removed.