Most parents are keen on helping their children maintain good oral hygiene and general health. However, young children are still at risk of suffering from dental conditions. Dental problems occur due to various causes, including neglected dental hygiene or underlying conditions.
Regardless of the mildness or severity of the dental problem, we recommend seeking a dentist’s help as soon as possible. Upon consultation and examination, the professional will diagnose the condition from the symptoms and determine the ideal treatment option. Additionally, you should work with a qualified dentist skilled in working with children, as they understand the intricate treatment procedures.
Finding a well-experienced professional who will provide effective dental services for your child’s dental condition should be a priority. At Washington Dental, you will have access to the best pediatric dental services. Over the years, we have helped many children with dental problems in Carson, California, fully recover without complex dental conditions. Furthermore, we are happy to offer advice and guidance to parents on how to uphold the child’s oral health.
The Nature of Pediatric Dentistry
When a child requires dental services, we recommend working with a pediatric dentist. The pediatric services differ from general dental treatments because the dentist specializes in handling conditions affecting children. In addition, the pediatric dentist’s training and experience should include skills like how to calm a young child down before treatment.
Using these unique guidelines, pediatric dentists are successful in providing all types of treatment, including invasive procedures. The pediatric medical division covers young children with deciduous or temporary teeth and adolescents with permanent teeth. Subsequently, numerous conditions are treatable by a pediatric dentist to restore good oral health.
Preventing subsequent complications is also an integral part of pediatric dentistry, as most patients are young. Since their teeth, gums, and jawbones are still developing, dentists are keen to provide effective treatment that eliminates possible threats. In doing this, the patients can enjoy the benefits of a healthy oral cavity well into adulthood.
As mentioned, children are prone to various dental problems that create the same effects as adults. However, they may be at more risk based on their continuous growth and development. Therefore, a pediatric dentist will provide treatment to prevent adverse conditions later in the children’s life. Some conditions treatable by a pediatric dentist include:
Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a condition that affects many, including children. There are various causes associated with the condition, and a medical professional can help diagnose the problem. Among children, teeth grinding occurs at night or when they are distracted. For some, it may also be a sign of restlessness and hyperactivity.
If you suspect that your child may have an underlying condition triggering the hyperactivity, you want to see a psychologist. Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is one of the conditions associated with bruxism. Having it diagnosed can be useful in equipping the pediatric dentist with sufficient information on possible treatment options.
Teeth misalignment can also trigger the child to grind their teeth. It is often a response to the discomfort and irritation arising from the asymmetrical placement. Hence, your dentist may recommend a remedy for the misalignment instead to eradicate bruxism.
Children who have lost their milk teeth and grown all the permanent ones may suffer from severe dental misalignment. Most conditions manifest themselves as overbites, underbites, and crossbites. Depending on the severity, your child may have difficulties chewing, biting, and closing the mouth comfortably.
Adolescents may also become more self-conscious of the teeth misalignment as they interact with peers. Therefore, you can help them eradicate the problem by scheduling a consultation with a pediatric dentist specializing in orthodontic treatment.
Gum diseases are commonly known as gingivitis. They pose potentially risky effects for anyone affected and may manifest in complex forms among children. Due to this, you should contact your dentist as soon as possible to schedule an appointment and begin treatment.
The common symptoms of gingivitis are severe gum inflammation and bleeding as the condition progresses. This condition arises from accumulated bacteria around the gums, leading to inflammation. Since swollen gums occupy a wider surface area, the child's teeth become sunken into the tissue. Consequently, the tooth enamel may begin to erode because of the spreading microbes. In severe cases, some children lose their teeth and may have extreme damage to the jawbone tissue.
For older children, gingivitis affects a larger section of the gums and often spreads into the alveolar bone tissue. Similar effects are therefore observed, as the child's teeth become looser and may fall off from the bone erosion. Your child's wellbeing is also compromised because the effects are spread across the entire mouth. As a result, you may notice that his/her appetite decreases, leading to subsequent effects like low energy and concentration levels.
We recommend visiting a pediatric dentist as soon as possible to prevent the condition from worsening. Your dentist does this by stopping bacteria from spreading through anti-bacterial medication and oral solutions. Over time, you will notice significant improvements in your child's oral health for a better lifestyle.
Although you may encourage your child to clean his or her teeth regularly, poor oral hygiene remains a persistent problem among young ones. The main reason for this is that they are still learning how to handle their toothbrushes and clean through each tooth surface. For others, brushing may become a boring task that they would rather skip.
Additionally, maintaining a poor diet containing excessive sugary and starchy foods contributes to developing tooth decay. This is especially the case when your child sleeps without brushing after consuming the food and drinks. As time progresses, the bacteria find a breeding ground fueled by starch and sugars. A by-product of the bacteria activity in your child's mouth is a corrosive acid that creates cavities and tooth decay in extreme cases.
You can prevent this occurrence by scheduling an appointment with your dentist to have a check-up conducted. Further, supervising your child as he/she brushes helps ensure effective cleaning. Nonetheless, some patients may have extreme tooth decay that requires tooth extraction. The extremity arises when the enamel is too corroded to remain functional and provides additional risks to the child. As a result, tooth extraction or a root canal may be the only solution to remedy the condition.
Persistent Bad Breath
Bacteria may also cause your child to develop persistent bad breath based on non-effective cleaning methods. However, additional underlying conditions may be the cause of bad breath. Thus, seeking professional medical advice will help you identify whether the bad breath is treatable by brushing only or if additional treatment is best.
For example, some early signs of diabetes in children include bad breath based on fluctuating insulin levels. Bad breath may also indicate inflamed sinuses as the pus around the upper nasal cavity spreads the foul smell to the mouth. Regardless of the causative factors, a pediatric dentist is qualified to make a proper diagnosis and offer effective treatment options.
Pre-Treatment Procedures for Pediatric Conditions
Although the discussed medical conditions require different treatment options, pre-treatment procedures apply to most cases. These processes enable the dentist to familiarize himself/herself with the severity of the condition.
Additionally, he/she will assess the possible treatment solutions and discuss them with the child’s parent or guardian. Subsequently, following through with these processes is pivotal in establishing a clear treatment path. It also helps the child and parent to understand what the treatment entails and their expectations in the end. Important pre-treatment procedures include:
Discussing the Child’s Medical History
A child's medical history can provide pivotal information for the dentist to make a proper diagnosis. For example, if a child comes from a diabetic family, the dentist may link the bad breath to the underlying condition and may even spearhead an early diagnosis. This can be useful when a child has observed all other oral hygiene routines, yet the bad breath persists.
You may also provide details regarding previous treatments for your child to help the dentist develop a new plan. For example, if your child has had filings previously fitted in cavities, we can change to onlay and inlay treatment. The option is not only effective in preventing cavities from developing but is also more durable than traditional fillings.
Conducting a Physical Examination
A physical dental exam can also reveal much about the child's case. The visual representation of the dental condition is enough to prompt the dentist into thinking of essential treatment procedures, leading to a faster recovery time.
For example, teeth misalignments are easy to identify based on the prominence of teeth placement in the jaw. A qualified dentist can therefore identify overbites, underbites, or crossbites, among other conditions, quickly.
Ordering for X-Rays and Study Model Impressions
On top of conducting physical exams, some cases require a detailed study of the child's structural development and layout. The X-rays and study models are also useful in designing appropriate oral devices to manage conditions like bruxism.
Since a night guard is the preferred treatment option, it has to fit in the child's mouth comfortably to prevent the teeth from grinding. Similarly, braces or Invisalign should fit the mouth comfortably while providing sufficient force to re-align the teeth. Thus, X-ray images and study model impressions are essential for a successful treatment.
Deep Cleaning the Teeth
Your child may also have an intensive dental cleaning procedure to eradicate bacteria, especially tooth decay and gingivitis. To do this, the patient needs to remain still as the cleaning tools glide across the teeth. Again, your dentist will provide reassurance and simple directions for the child to follow to help promote a problem-free procedure.
However, not all young patients qualify for this process, particularly if their enamels have not yet fully developed to withstand the force from cleaning tools. The pediatric dentist will therefore advise accordingly.
Please note that these pre-treatment procedures are specific to the child’s case. Thus, he/she does not have to undergo all the discussed processes. Overall, the pediatric dentist will decide on the most appropriate pre-treatment processes to conduct on the child for the most effective treatment preparation.
Treatment for Pediatric Conditions
After the dentist identifies the child’s condition and recommends a remedy, you will return to the clinic to begin treatment. Each dental condition calls for unique procedures to curb the problem, and the dentist will explain the reasoning behind each recommendation. For example, grinding teeth at night requires a barrier to prevent contact. Nightguard oral devices are highly effective in this and are the best solution for a child dealing with the condition.
As a standard procedure, a pediatric dentist should explain what is about to happen to the child. He/she may use visual aids like study models and charts to demonstrate the required medical procedure. By conducting the simple interaction, the child will be more relaxed and cooperative throughout the session. These informative sessions are also beneficial for parents who may be anxious about the child’s well-being without the parent by their side.
Once the dentist determines that the child is ready, he/she will call the patient into the functional dental room to begin the procedure. While some processes may only take a few minutes to complete, others will last longer. Thus, you may need to ensure the child is well fed before coming into the clinic. The following are some treatment processes applicable in pediatric dentistry:
- Fixing braces to correct misaligned teeth
- Placing fillings to remedy cavities and tooth decay
- Presenting a night guard to reduce bruxism
- Conducting a root canal for advanced tooth decays
- Prescribing anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory oral solutions to combat gingivitis.
- Extracting a severely affected tooth after a tooth decay
For other conditions like bad breath, treatment mostly involves prescribing an oral antibacterial solution to reduce the growth and spreading of bacteria. Apart from that, most dentists will recommend refraining from eating too many sugary and starchy foods.
Developing a predictable brushing routine is also an essential part of treatment for conditions like cavities and bad breath. Since the dentist may not be available to follow up, you will need to supervise this activity until you are confident in your child's ability to clean the teeth per the required standard. Over time, the condition should clear, leaving the child with normal breath again.
Each treatment method contains several steps that the dentist should follow. Often, performing one step leads to the success of the subsequent procedure. Demonstrating skill and competence when undertaking the procedures should therefore be a priority for any parent seeking treatment for the child.
We also recommend being present as the treatment procedures continue, if possible. This provides first-hand observation of how the child's dental condition should be managed beyond the clinical procedures. However, if you cannot access the dentist's work office, you can remain confident in our purpose to uphold your child's health and wellbeing at all times.
Care Tips to Observe After Pediatric Treatment
After your child undergoes a particular treatment procedure, the dentist provides several aftercare tips to help manage recovery. Following these directives is also essential to prevent a recurrence in the dental problem, as it may be more complex to treat.
Hence, we recommend training your child to observe these care tips even without supervision. After some time, the routine will be easier to perform, improving your child's general health. The necessary aftercare tips to uphold are:
Brushing and Flossing Teeth Regularly
The growth and spread of bacteria in the oral cavity is the leading cause of most dental conditions. Since the disease-causing microbes are harmful to the gums and enamel, you should prevent their spread by cleaning your teeth regularly.
Dentists recommend that children should clean their teeth after every meal. However, the practicality of upholding this standard is difficult to achieve owing to varying daily routines. This means that children are not always in their parents' or guardians' company to ensure they comply.
Therefore, you can ensure the child's oral hygiene is maintained by encouraging brushing and flossing every morning and evening. Parents with younger children can also teach them how to handle the toothbrush and make effective cleaning motions. Providing these directives will eventually equip the child with all the cleaning skills needed for independent oral hygiene maintenance.
Flossing every day is also ideal for reaching the particles stuck in between the teeth. If you notice your child's gums bleed whenever he/she flosses, you can select alternative cleaning options. For example, water floss guns provide a gentle and effective cleaning method that most children also find fun.
Lastly, swirling some mouthwash to complete the cleaning process is an excellent step to follow. However, it is not mandatory if your child can thoroughly clean the mouth. Nonetheless, if you would like your child to use mouthwash, find a brand with a mild taste suitable for children.
Attend Follow Up Appointments
Although some conditions are treatable after one procedure, the dentist may ask for additional appointments. These sessions help him or her to monitor the child's recovery, particularly after an invasive procedure like a root canal. Tracking the recovery process is crucial in ensuring that the child can resume his/her normal life without the initial pain and discomfort.
For other conditions like Bruxism, the dentist will ask follow-up questions like whether the initial symptoms caused by teeth grinding have receded. Depending on the child's answer, we will know whether the night guard provided is effective. We will also give the child a chance to give feedback on whether the night guard is comfortable.
Children with braces or other types of orthodontic treatment also have to visit their dentist at least once a month. The sessions allow us to adjust the orthodontic devices to promote teeth re-alignment. Thus, missing a session sets back the treatment completion time significantly.
Thus, based on the details discussed, attending the follow-up appointments is vital in promoting a successful recovery. In addition, you want to schedule the appointment in advance to avoid disruptions in your and your child’s schedule. For example, planning ahead prevents dental visits from clashing with your child’s school session.
Ensure Your Child Completes Prescription Medications
On top of dentists conducting dental procedures, they may prescribe antibiotics, anti-inflammatory, and pain relief medications. This is especially common for children dealing with tooth extractions and gum disease.
Since young patients are more prone to expressing their discomfort and pain through crying, medicine is important in reducing the symptoms. Overall, your child will have an easier time making a recovery time compared to those who do not complete their doses.
Avoid Picking on the Treated Area
After tooth extraction, your child may feel the urge to pick on the exposed gum tissue. This could be dangerous and counterproductive to making a full recovery, as the picking introduces bacteria. You can help the child avert this behavior by distracting them with different activities. Informing them of the dangers of picking the open wound may also help them hesitate to touch it again.
Contact a Pediatric Dentist Near Me
As a parent or guardian, taking care of your child’s dental health is your primary objective. However, if your young one exhibits any symptoms or complains about pain in their teeth or gums, you should consult a pediatric dentist. Their expertise in providing treatment is necessary to combat the problem and restore your child’s oral health.
Additionally, we discourage parents from delaying seeking treatment because it may cause severe health complications. On the other hand, having a dentist examine your child on time will prevent the risks and expenses you might otherwise incur to treat an advanced condition.
At Washington Dental, you will have access to skilled and experienced professionals. We are well equipped to handle young patients and provide the required treatment. Moreover, we provide useful tips to help the children uphold their dental health beyond treatment. If you are looking for a pediatric dentist in Carson, California, contact us today at 310-217-1507 for more information.