In addition to a bachelor’s degree and a dental degree, pediatric dentists complete an extra two to three years of specialized training. During this advanced training, pediatric dentists acquire the skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to provide children the most effective dental treatment. Pediatric dentists are also trained in the usage of conscious sedation, IV sedation, and child psychology/child growth and development, which enables them to provide thorough treatment for a wide variety of children’s dental concerns.
Primary teeth play an essential role in the development of a child’s smile. They allow a child to chew food properly, as well as allow for correct pronunciation and speech. Primary teeth hold space for the permanent teeth to erupt, and aid in the correct development of the jaw. The majority of primary teeth (cuspids and molars) are not replaced until the child is between the ages of 10-12, with the exception of the 4 front teeth (incisors), which last until the ages of 6-8.
Pediatric dentists, and dentists in general, use x-rays as a means to properly evaluate dental conditions. X-rays assist in your child’s dental diagnosis process, and allow dentists to detect cavities that would otherwise be missed. X-rays are also used to monitor teeth eruption, plan orthodontic treatment, assess bone condition, and review the results of an injury. X-rays help dentists find and diagnose dental problems early, allowing for a more comfortable and affordable treatment plan for you and your child. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (ADA), children should have a dental examination and x-rays taken once every 6 months. It is also suggested for children to have a full set of x-rays taken once every 3 years. Dr. Sanjuan and his staff are advocates for minimizing radiation exposure. By utilizing contemporary safeguards such as lead body aprons and shields, the amount of radiation received during a dental x-ray is minimal. In fact, undetected and untreated dental problems pose a far higher risk than dental x-rays.
Proper tooth brushing is the fundamental task for maintaining good oral health. By brushing your teeth (at least) twice a day, you can prevent plaque build-up that can cause cavities; prevent bad breath; prevent gum problems; and prevent stains on your teeth. There are many types of toothpaste available today, but parents should be careful about the one they select. Some types of toothpaste contain harsh abrasives that can wear away tooth enamel. When picking out toothpaste for your child, make sure to pick one that is recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA) as shown on the box and tube. ADA recommended toothpastes have been tested to insure that they are safe to use, and will not cause harm to teeth. Remember to tell your children to spit out the toothpaste after they are done brushing their teeth to prevent ingestion of too much fluoride (which can cause fluorosis). If your child is too young or unable to spit out toothpaste, consider buying fluoride-free toothpaste, using a small “pea-size” amount, or using no toothpaste.
Thumb sucking is a natural reflex that occurs in babies and toddlers. It may make children feel relaxed, comfortable, happy or secure during difficult periods. Children tend to give up thumb sucking between the ages of 2 and 4. If thumb sucking persists past the age permanent teeth start to erupt, the child may develop misaligned teeth and an improper growth of the mouth. Improper growth of upper and lower jaws can also affect the child’s speech. The effects vary from child to child, and are contingent on factors such as intensity, frequency, duration and positioning of the thumb in the child’s mouth. It is important to note that pacifiers are not a substitute for thumb sucking. Pacifiers can affect the teeth the same way as thumb sucking if they are not controlled and modified appropriately. Here are some suggestions to help your child overcome the habit: Thumb sucking is a comfort device that helps children deal with stress or anxiety—focus on eliminating either cause. Use positive reinforcement techniques by praising them when they do not thumb suck (don’t scold them when they do). Remind your child of his/her habit by placing a bandage on his/her thumb, or a sock over his/her hand at night. Have Dr. Sanjuan talk to your child to encourage him/her to stop sucking his/her thumb. He may also recommend the use of a mouth appliance.
Malocclusions, or a bite that does not meet properly, can be either a cause of nature or nurture. If not inherited, malocclusions can be a result of having missing/extra teeth, crowded teeth, a misaligned jaw, finger/thumb sucking, or an accident. There are three phases of malocclusions that can be recognized as early as 2-3 years of age. These phases are: Early Treatment The early treatment phase consist of children between 2 and 6 years of age. Early treatment is primarily concerned with ensuring healthy dental arches, teeth positioning, and defending against harmful habits such as thumb sucking. Early treatment can be very successful and many times eliminate the need for orthodontic treatment in the future. It is for this reason that this early phase is the best time to begin treatment. Phase 1: Mixed Dentition This phase is for children between 6 and 12 years of age. It is common for children to miss early treatment and therefore need corrective teeth positioning later on. Treatments range from aligning teeth properly to realigning the jaw in the incidence of a crossbite. Stage 1 is good time for your child to receive treatment because his/her hard and soft tissues are easily molded by orthodontic treatments. Phase 2: Adolescent Dentition Phase 2 starts at 13 years of age and last for the duration of your child’s teenage years. At this stage, the primary concern is the alignment of permanent teeth and ensuring that your child’s picture-perfect smile lasts forever.
A sealant is a thin resin coating that is applied to the grooves of the premolars and molars to protect them from tooth decay. This is where most tooth decay occurs in children and adolescents. Sealants protect the chewing surfaces from tooth decay by keeping food, plaque, germs and acid out of these grooves. Having sealants applied is a quick and painless procedure, and it is recommended to have them applied soon after the teeth have erupted.
Fluoride is a natural element that is a compound of fluorine. It is commonly found in community tap water, and since it has been shown to be beneficial to teeth, dental products such as toothpaste, gels and mouth rinse also contain it. It helps teeth by preventing the loss of minerals in tooth enamel. Although research has shown fluoride to be beneficial, excessive fluoride can cause fluorosis, which can cause tiny, white discoloration (brown in severe cases) on the teeth. Parents should be aware of their child’s fluoride intake to prevent the possibility of dental fluorosis. Possible sources of fluoride include: • Fluoridated toothpaste • Fluoride Supplements • Diet (such as juices and infant formula) • Water (tap and bottled) Ways to decrease the risk of dental fluorosis include: • Do not use toothpaste with fluoride for infants (use baby cleanser). • For children between infancy stage and the age of 2, use only a “pea-size” portion of toothpaste. • Make sure your children spits out the toothpaste when they are done brushing their teeth. • Account for all the sources of fluoride that your child is ingesting. • Have a fluoride test done on your home drinking water (you can check with your local water utilities). • Refrain from giving fluoride supplements to children under six months of age.
This is very common. If the child starts wiggling the baby tooth, it will usually fall out on its own. If it does not, please contact our office and we can schedule an appointment to easily remove the tooth. The permanent tooth should then move into the appropriate place.