Pediatric Dentistry in Fresno, CA
Pediatric Dentistry Makes The Difference
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, your child should see the dentist as soon as their first tooth erupts, or after their first birthday. While it may seem too early or even unnecessary to bring your child to the dentist, baby teeth need as much care as adult teeth. Neglecting your child’s baby teeth can lead to the development of issues with your child’s chewing, biting, speech, appearance, and could also cause their adult teeth to come in wrong.
The sooner children start seeing their dentist about their teeth, the better their oral health and hygiene habits will be later in life. However, children have very specific dental needs and anxieties that have to be addressed when they begin seeing a dentist and learning proper oral hygiene. For these reasons, it’s important to take your child to see a dentist who offers pediatric dentistry services.
What Is Pediatric Dentistry?
Pediatric dentistry is a school of dentistry concerned with fulfilling the oral health needs of children from infant years through their teens. Pediatric dentists offer all the same services as general dentists, but they also build a relationship with your child, teach them about oral hygiene, and use special tools and techniques so your child can undergo treatment without fear or anxiety. Dr. Paredes is equipped to start providing your child with pediatric dental services and help them build their oral health and habits that will protect their teeth well into their adult years.
Tips For Your Child’s First Visit
As a parent or guardian, we know that you’re anxious to help your child get the dental care they need without making them feel scared or nervous. Preparing a child for their first dental visit is a common concern. Dr. Paredes and his team suggest following these tips to get your child ready for the first visit to the dentist’s office:
- Visit our office before your child’s appointment as a ‘preview’.
- Read books with them about going to the dentist.
- Speak positively about your own dental experiences.
- Explain to them step by step what the dentist will do during their first visit.
Explaining The Exam to Your Child
When explaining to your child how their first dental visit will go, you can try saying, “During your first visit the dentist will…” and review these bullet points with them:
- Examine your mouth, teeth and gums.
- Evaluate adverse habits like thumb sucking.
- Check to see if you need fluoride.
- Teach you about cleaning your teeth and gums.
- Suggest a schedule for regular dental visits.
Your Child’s First Visit
Building a Relationship
Your child’s first visit to our Fresno, CA office will be short and involve very little treatment. This visit is more focused on allowing Dr. Paredes and the team to establish a relationship with your child so they don’t feel nervous or uncomfortable when they return. To help us build our relationship with your child, we may also have you step out of the room and wait in the reception area for part of the visit.
Their First Exam
During the actual examination, we’ll gently but thoroughly examine your child’s teeth and gums. We might have you sit in the chair and hold your child while we perform their first examination. This can help keep them calm and still so we can work more effectively.
We may take X-rays to gain a better understanding of how your child’s teeth are growing and their level of oral health. Using these tools and techniques, we can diagnose bad habits such as thumb sucking. We may also clean your child’s teeth and apply topical fluoride to help protect the teeth against decay.
Before you leave, we’ll teach you how to care for your child’s teeth until they can do so themselves. If your child is old enough to start caring for their teeth, we’ll teach them about cleaning their teeth and gums. We’ll also teach you techniques to help your child maintain a proper oral hygiene regimen at home.
Cavities: Cause and Prevention
Common Causes of Cavities
According to the CDC, tooth decay, also called cavities, is one of the most common chronic diseases of American childhood. This can be due to a wide variety of factors you might be familiar with such as ingesting too many sugary foods and drinks, or improper oral hygiene. But other factors, such as how long it takes your child to chew and swallow their food, as well as their saliva consistency, can make a huge difference in their oral health
The longer it takes your child to chew their food, the greater their chances are of developing cavities. Every time someone eats, an acid reaction occurs inside their mouth as the bacteria digests the sugars. This reaction lasts approximately 20 minutes. During this time the acidic environment can destroy the tooth’s structure, eventually leading to cavities.
Another common cause of tooth decay you may not have known about is saliva consistency. Thinner saliva breaks up and washes away food residue more quickly. When a person eats a diet high in carbohydrates and sugars they tend to have thicker saliva, which in turn allows more of the acid-producing bacteria that can cause cavities.
Cavity Prevention With Dental Sealants
While limiting sugar and brushing regularly can help, your child may need a little extra help keeping their teeth healthy, especially in their earlier years. Thanks to advancements in dental technology, children and cavities don’t have to go hand in hand. If you’re concerned about your child’s oral health, we can apply dental sealants to their teeth.
Dental sealants are space-age plastics that are bonded to the chewing surfaces of decay-prone back teeth. A study from the CDC confirms that dental sealants can reduce cavity rates in children up to 80 percent. Sealants are just one method of preventive dentistry we can provide for your child to help improve and protect their oral health.
Planning for Oral Success With Future Visits
Using the information we gather from your child’s examination, we’ll suggest a schedule for future visits. It’s important that your child visit us at least every six months so they can continue to learn about and maintain their oral health. The more regularly your child sees us for exams, the more comfortable they should become with regularly seeing a dentist in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I prevent my child from getting cavities?
- 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.
How do I clean my infant’s teeth and gums?
- Use a specially made brush with very soft bristles and a small head that has been moistened with water.
- Use a sliver of fluoride toothpaste no bigger than a rice grain.
- Brush gently in slow circles.
- Brush your infant’s teeth once a day, preferably before bedtime.
- Clean your infant's gums with a terry cloth finger cot (finger guard) or a soft, clean, moist gauze wrapped around your index finger.
- Gently rub the cloth or gauze along your infant’s gums.
How do I help my child practice proper oral hygiene?
The tell-show-do method is a great way to help you teach your child the importance and techniques behind proper dental care. It goes like this:
- Tell your child about brushing and flossing, how long they need to do it, and how often. Be open to questions and conversations.
- Show them how to brush and floss. Feel free to make a game out of it to keep it fun, memorable, and engaging.
- Do help them complete their hygiene routine themselves and be sure to reward them afterward.
When will my child develop all of their teeth?
The first baby teeth that come into the mouth are the two bottom front teeth. You will notice this when your baby is about six to eight months old. Next to follow will be the four upper front teeth, and the remainder of your baby’s teeth will appear periodically. They will usually appear in pairs along the sides of the jaw until the child is about two and a half years old.
At around two and a half years old your child should have all twenty teeth. Between the ages of five and six, the first permanent teeth will begin to erupt. Some of the permanent teeth replace baby teeth and some don’t. Don’t worry if some teeth are a few months early or late as all children are different.
Pediatric Dentistry Starts Lifelong Smart Dental Habits
Your child is likely to be nervous or even scared during their first visit to the dentist and you may wonder why you can’t wait a bit longer to take them to see us. What’s important to remember is that bringing your child to the dentist as soon as their first tooth erupts helps establish healthy dental habits they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. The sooner your child starts seeing a dentist, the sooner they can start developing habits that will protect their oral health far into their adult years.
To schedule an appointment at our Fresno office, call us at 559-824-9524 and a friendly team member will get back to you shortly.