Pediatric Dentistry

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises that a child’s first dental examination should occur by their first birthday. Why should it be this early? The likelihood of maintaining excellent dental health is boosted by starting dental visits at an early age. An encouraging experience at the Tahquitz Dentist Group in Palm Springs could pave the way for regular visits to the dentist well into your child’s adult years. Moreover, early dental visits provide the opportunity to promptly detect and address any development issues or unfortunate cavities.

The Initial Dental Checkup

What should you expect from your child’s first dental examination? Your child’s dentist first checks for tooth decay. Tooth decay can start even in the very young, impacting infants and toddlers. If left untreated, childhood dental caries can progress swiftly, potentially reaching the tooth’s soft, inner part (dentin) in as little as six months. This causes great pain and discomfort and risks infections of the blood.

The dentist not only looks for tooth decay, but also ensures the proper growth of the teeth and jaw. If there are any irregularities, the dentist can collaborate with you to devise a suitable treatment plan for your child.

Pediatric Dental Treatments

There are a variety of treatments designed to preserve, repair, and assist in the development of children’s teeth. Moreover, some treatments can even prevent the onset of tooth decay. These treatments include:

  • Topical Fluoride: Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that bolsters tooth enamel by enhancing its decay resistance. Although the fluoride concentration in most toothpastes and drinking water is sufficient for many children, some might need a higher concentration directly applied to their teeth by the dentist.
  • Sealants: Children’s teeth contain tiny grooves, pits, and fissures on their chewing surfaces. Dental sealants are plastic coatings that cover these imperfections, preventing the buildup of decay-causing bacteria.
  • Bonding: Active children are more susceptible to chipping or fracturing their teeth. With special bonding materials — resins tinted to blend with the color of teeth — the dentist can repair chips and fractures, restoring both functionality and appearance.
  • Root Canal Treatment: Primary teeth play a crucial role in guiding the permanent teeth, which start forming beneath the gums early in a child’s life. Sometimes, root canal treatment may be necessary to salvage an injured or decayed primary tooth, thus preventing future complications.
  • Orthodontic Treatment: By the age of seven, a dentist can typically detect definitive issues with tooth alignment and jaw growth. Orthodontic treatments can rectify these problems, thereby averting or reducing the need for more complicated and costly treatments as the child ages.

Should My Child Wear a Mouthguard?

If your child is an active participant in sports, the dentist might suggest using a tailor-made mouthguard. This safety equipment can considerably lower the risk of dental injuries; the American Dental Association states that an athlete without a mouthguard is 60 times more likely to suffer dental injuries! A custom-fit mouthguard, molded from your child’s dental impression or by digital imaging, offers optimal protection. This minor investment today could save your child from significant pain and costs in the future.

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