Dentistry for Kids
We enjoy working with all of our young patients and know that they have unique needs when seeing the dentist. We never try to push young children so that they find themselves scared of the dentist’s office. We wish their appointment to be as fun and comfortable as it can be, as well as for them to establish life-long relationships with the dentist’s office.
At our office in Gladstone MO, we strongly encourage mothers and fathers of young kids to take them along to the parent’s scheduled dental visit so the child can see how things go during the visit, and become accustomed to our staff members and office.
We also advise that the little one’s very first visit be between twenty four months and three years of age. At that age we will begin to monitor the growth and progression of their teeth.
When New Teeth Arrive:
Your child’s first tooth erupts between ages 6-12 months and the remainder of their 20 primary or “baby” teeth typically erupt by age 3. During this time, gums may feel tender and sore, causing your child to feel irritable. To help alleviate this discomfort, we recommend that you soothe the gums by rubbing a clean finger or a cool, wet cloth across them. You may also choose to make use of a teething ring.
Your child’s primary teeth are shed at various times throughout childhood, and their permanent teeth begin erupting at age 6 and continue until age 21. Adults have 28 permanent teeth, or 32 including wisdom teeth.
At our office in Gladstone MO, we think that kids as young as 2-3 should see our dentist! Prevention and early intervention can help maintain healthy, happy smiles for a lifetime!
BRACES? In Pre-School?
Many young parents of today didn’t wear braces when they were teens. Actually, if they saw an orthodontist it was because their teeth were embarrassingly crooked and out of line. Braces were too expensive for some families. However, it was usually because their parents didn’t think that their teeth were misaligned enough for orthodontic treatment, and their dentist didn’t bring it up unless the parents asked about braces.
In those days, if there wasn’t enough space for all your teeth, the dentist made space by pulling permanent teeth. Of course, upon reflection, we figured out that doing so was one of the worst things that could be done.
Only after today’s parents had grown up did we learn about the vicious circle of pain caused by malocclusion (a mismatched bite). Orthodontic dentistry is no longer just for good looks. There is much more than that to worry about. Misalignment and malocclusion can bring on chronic headaches and full-blown migraines. A misaligned bite can cause ringing in the ears and vertigo (dizziness). Completely healthy teeth can start to chip and wear away, producing a ragged-edged smile.
Worst of all, malocclusion usually isn’t something a parent can just “see”. It lurks in the background continuously exerting strain and pressure on the jaw joint, the teeth and the chewing muscles. Then, one day, your ace student can’t take the English test because of a migraine. Or, he can’t hit jump shots anymore because he has developed vertigo.
There are some real benefits in starting orthodontic treatment when children are much younger. The children usually don’t have to wear braces for a long period of time during those awkward teenage years. It is also much easier to expand the palate and allow room for all of the adult teeth to have the proper space to come in. In most of those cases, young children will not get braces, however they will have their palates expanded by an appliance. This will make their arches wider. It allows space in the mouth for all of the child’s adult teeth to properly grow.
Our dental practice has developed relationships with some excellent orthodontists in the area and can refer you and your child to an orthodontist if an exam reveals crowded or crooked teeth, or issues with the palate. We can help you choose the best orthodontist that meets the needs and temperament of your child.
Didn’t Fluoride Eradicate Cavities in the 60’s?
Scientists in the 1960’s found that fluoride helped build a stronger defense against the teeth’s enemies like bacteria and acids and sweets. And, yes, when fluoride was added to a city’s drinking water, the incidence of cavities dropped sharply. It was even predicted at one time that there would come a time when we wouldn’t need dentists anymore.
However, even the scientists of the 60’s couldn’t predict the development of Mountain Dew, Power Aid Energy Drinks and Gummy Worms. There is no way they could have foreseen that the average teenager would now eat their own weight in refined sugar every year. And, finally, even those scientists with a dark pessimistic vision of the 21st century, couldn’t imagine the power that high-fructose corn syrup would wield against fluoride, regular toothpaste and even daily flossing.
Tips For Your Family’s Oral Health:
• Limit frequency of meals and snacks.
• Encourage brushing, flossing and rinsing.
• Watch what your child drinks.
• Avoid giving your child sticky foods.
• Make treats part of meals.
• Choose nutritious snacks.
Correct oral hygiene in your own home is extremely important and needs to begin at a very early age. We take the time to teach mothers and fathers and children on correct flossing and brushing techniques to allow them to enjoy great oral health for life.