Considering the amount of energy a lot of kids put into trying to get away with not brushing their teeth and their complete and utter lack of fear when it comes to things like running on hardwood floors with socks or playing catch with unwieldy items, it’s no surprise cavities can rear their ugly heads and baby teeth can get knocked loose before their time. While many dental issues might not seem like a big deal when it comes to kids because they’re going to lose their teeth anyway, the primary teeth serve important functions including saving space for the permanent teeth and helping with speaking and chewing. Staying on top of your little one’s oral care is important. There are some common dental problems in children we see time and time again at our Englewood pediatric dentistry office but thankfully each one has a fairly simple solution.
Tooth Decay in Kids
At Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry the problem we see the most is definitely tooth decay in children. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tooth decay (cavities) is one of the most common chronic conditions children in the United States experience. About 20% of kids aged five to 11 and 13% of teens aged 12 to 19 have at least one untreated decayed tooth. If not dealt with, cavities can cause infection, discomfort and put a damper on speaking, chewing and even learning.
So what does Dr. Paddy do about children’s tooth decay? Well, we’re big on prevention and the first thing we do is encourage regular check-ups and educate parents and kids on proper brushing and on ways to keep little mouths healthy. In addition to cleaning children’s teeth and scraping off that yucky plague and tartar, we give fluoride treatments and offer sealants, which are extremely effective in strengthening the enamel to ward off tooth decay. If a cavity is found, it’s not the end of the world. We fill cavities with Herculite composite resin, which is super strong and matches the color of the other teeth so no one will even know your kid has a filling. In cases of severe tooth decay, a NuSmile Pediatric Crown can be placed to restore the tooth and keep it in place until it’s ready to fall out.
Sensitive teeth might seem like an issue only the older crowd deals with but kids actually have thinner enamel than adults. When enamel gets worn down, the gums can recede or cracks can form on the tooth exposing nerve endings. This leads to pain when eating or drinking anything hot or cold. To combat this we can apply sealants to strengthen the enamel and if a cavity is present, a filling may be in order. When brushing at home, be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
Damaged or Loose Teeth
The Tooth Fairy is a frequent visitor of any house with kids and the majority of the time, a loose tooth is caused by an erupting grown-up tooth. The cute little baby tooth starts to wiggle around getting ready to be replaced with its permanent counterpart. If that’s the case, we rarely have to help because it falls out on its own. However, if it doesn’t seem to be vacating your child’s mouth in a timely manner, we can step in and speed up the process.
When there’s injury or trauma to a baby tooth, we do everything we can to save it if it’s too early to extract it. Baby root canals or NuSmile Pediatric Crowns might be the necessary solution to rescue an injured or damaged tooth. If your child or teen experiences a damaged or loose permanent tooth, be sure to call the dentist right away.
Gum disease occurs when plaque and tartar build up at the base of the teeth near the gums causing them to get swollen and red. If not treated, it can lead to tooth loss and damage to the bones. Prevention is key here, which is why regular dental check-ups and proper oral hygiene are important (see our guide to brushing your child’s teeth for the basics). We can treat mild gum disease, known as gingivitis, with professional cleanings and by helping your child establish a good brushing and flossing routine. If the condition gets worse, it might require deep cleaning, special rinses, antibiotic or other medications.
You may have noticed the main theme running through all of these common kids’ dental problems is the importance of prevention. Regular check-ups and diligent brushing and flossing won’t just allow your child to nab a spot in the Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry’s super prestigious Cavity-Free Club, it can also keep the majority of issues at bay. Schedule an appointment today with Dr. Paddy, the always entertaining and fun Englewood, CO pediatric dentist, and ensure your child’s smile is healthy.