Children and Dental Care
Establishing healthy dental habits begins in childhood. Even with proper oral hygiene, children still require professional dental care. When it comes to dental treatments, children's needs are quite different from adults. Start your child on the path to lifelong oral health with these tips from the Boston cosmetic dentistry practice of James M. Stein.
Establish Good Habits
The key to ensuring the lifelong health of your children's teeth is establishing proper oral hygiene habits at an early age. Teach your children proper brushing and flossing techniques including brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day. In order to properly brush your teeth, you should brush for at least two minutes and angle the brush to clean along the gum line. Help ensure your children brushes for a full two minutes by playing a two-minute song when they brush their teeth. This makes brushing fun and encourages brushing for the proper length of time.
Begin regular dental check-ups at an early age and stick with the same dentist so your child will not learn to trust the dentist and not fear dental visits. Though there is no set age at which to begin dental visits, many agree the first dental visit occur soon after the first tooth erupts.
Children's Dental Treatments
Children's dental needs are much different than adults. Young children have “baby” teeth, which must be considered when choosing dental treatments. If a damaged tooth is a baby tooth, treatment may only need to preserve the tooth until it is replaced by a permanent tooth. If the damaged tooth is a permanent “adult” tooth, treatment should consider aesthetics. Common treatments for children include:
- Dental Fillings: Cavities are the most common problems facing children's oral health and are best handled with prevention. However, if a cavity does form, dental fillings are available. The type of filling used may depend on whether the tooth is a baby tooth or adult tooth. You and your child's dentist may decide to used silver amalgam to fill cavities in baby teeth since the tooth is expected to fall out. On the other-hand, a permanent tooth may be better filled with a tooth-colored restoration.
- Dental Sealants: Dental sealants are used as a preventative treatment. Sealants create a protective barrier and help prevent cavities from forming. They are generally applied to the molars where cavities tend to form. Baby teeth and adult teeth can be treated with sealants.
- Dental Crowns: Children sometimes damage teeth due to injury, possibly from sports or other accidents. For our pediatric patients in Boston, restorative dentistry treatments such as dental crowns can be used to support damaged teeth. Dental crowns are placed over an existing tooth to restore proper dental function.
- Orthodontics: Orthodontics is another treatment commonly used on children. Orthodontics is generally performed when a child's adult teeth have come in. Treatments such as braces may be necessary to improve aesthetics or correct an overbite or underbite.
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Start your child on the path to a lifetime of oral health. Schedule an appointment today!