Pediatric Dentistry FAQs: Your Growing Child

In our last blog, Pediatric Dentistry FAQs: Babies and Toddlers, we answered some common questions about dental care for babies and toddlers. Now, we will focus on your growing child and address more of your concerns regarding their oral health.

How often should my child have a dental checkup?

The American Dental Association recommends that parents bring their children in for a routine checkup and preventive care every six months. During this visit, our dentist will thoroughly examine your child’s teeth, gums, and jaws to assess their overall dental health and development. In addition to a comprehensive dental cleaning, your child will receive age-appropriate oral hygiene instructions and nutritional guidance. If any potential issues are identified, our office will provide the necessary treatment to address these concerns early on. Our goal is to ensure the optimal oral health of your child by addressing any emerging problems promptly.

What if my child is anxious and has difficulty sitting for treatment?

At Southern Dental Associates, we take great pride in delivering compassionate and gentle care in a comfortable environment. However, we understand that every child is unique. While some children breeze through their dental visits, others may experience challenges and significant anxiety. If your child feels apprehensive, has special medical needs, or struggles to sit in the dental chair, we are here to help. We can discuss the best options for providing care and explore dental sedation as a viable solution. Rest assured, we will work together to ensure your child’s comfort and well-being throughout their dental experience.

Why are back-to-school checkups so important?

Ensuring your child starts the school year on the right note involves more than just stocking up on school supplies. It also means prioritizing their overall health, including their dental well-being. A healthy smile is crucial to preventing setbacks throughout the academic year. At Southern Dental Associates, we specialize in addressing the unique dental needs of children and helping them build a strong foundation for a lifetime of optimal oral health. Rest assured that your child’s dental care is in expert hands.

What causes cavities?

Cavities form when plaque is not consistently removed from the teeth and gums. Children are particularly susceptible to developing cavities due to poor oral hygiene practices and dietary habits. To provide extra protection against tooth decay in children, our office often suggests regular fluoride treatments and dental sealants. These additional measures help safeguard their dental health and prevent future dental issues.

What is a space maintainer?

Occasionally, as a result of tooth decay or a traumatic injury, a child may experience premature loss of a primary tooth, before the underlying permanent tooth is ready to emerge. In such cases, our dentist carefully assesses the most suitable approach to maintain the vacant space, ensuring a smooth pathway for the incoming adult tooth. To prevent crowding or complications caused by neighboring teeth shifting, a small dental device called a space maintainer may be necessary. This ensures that the permanent tooth remains unobstructed and properly aligned within the dental arch.

When is the best time to begin orthodontic care?

In addition to assessing dental health for disease and harmful oral habits, our office also carefully monitors your child’s facial growth, jaw development, and smile alignment. If orthodontic treatment is necessary, we will provide you with our expert recommendations. There is a common misconception that it is best to wait until all permanent teeth (except wisdom teeth) have erupted before seeking orthodontic treatment. However, most teeth and jaw alignment issues can be identified by the first or second grade. That’s why the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have an orthodontic check-up by age 7.

What’s the best way to protect a child’s smile if they play sports?

If your child or teenager participates in sports, consider providing them with a sports mouthguard. Mouthguards, when properly fitted, are an essential part of protective athletic equipment and have been proven to reduce injuries to the teeth, tongue, lips, and jaws. Depending on your child’s sport of choice, we can offer guidance on selecting the most suitable mouthguard to safeguard their smile.

Why are dental sealants recommended?

Once your child’s permanent molars and premolars have erupted, we highly recommend the application of dental sealants. These remarkable thin and transparent coatings are painlessly administered to the biting surfaces and grooves of the back teeth, effectively preventing decay by blocking harmful bacteria and acids.

Will my child’s wisdom teeth require extraction?

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last permanent teeth to develop in the oral cavity. However, many wisdom teeth encounter issues due to lack of space, incorrect development, or causing problems for adjacent teeth and surrounding tissues. If the wisdom teeth are not fully or partially impacted, they typically emerge between the ages of 17 and 21. During checkup visits, our office will carefully monitor the development and positioning of your child’s wisdom teeth and recommend extractions if necessary.

What if my child has a dental emergency?

Recognizing that children lead active lives, it’s important to acknowledge the potential for accidents involving impacts to the mouth or teeth. These traumatic injuries can occur at home, on the playground, or during sports activities. Common dental injuries in pediatric dentistry range from soft tissue lacerations of the lips, cheeks, or tongue to chipped, fractured, displaced, or fully avulsed teeth.

Children often require urgent dental care for various reasons, such as painful toothaches, dental infections, and mouth ulcerations. No matter the nature of your child’s dental emergency, you can trust our office to deliver skilled, compassionate, and reliable care. Our primary objective is to restore your child’s oral health, alleviate any discomfort, and prevent further complications that could affect their dental well-being and overall wellness.

Why choose Southern Dental Associates?

Southern Dental Associates is a comprehensive dental practice catering to patients of all ages in Lewisville, Wilkesboro, and Lexington. Our team comprises highly skilled and experienced professionals who are dedicated to delivering exceptional preventive, restorative, and cosmetic dental care tailored to meet the unique needs of your family. We are committed to fostering a warm and inviting environment for children, promoting optimal oral health habits, and addressing their individual concerns with utmost compassion. Contact us today to schedule a visit and experience the difference!

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