How Often Should a Child Go to the Dentist?

Children should be visiting their dentist every six months, just like adults. This form of preventative dental care is a vital part of maintaining good oral health — both now and in the future. 

These bi-annual visits should start around the child’s first birthday or within 6 months of the first tooth that erupts, whichever comes first.  

Preventative Dental Care 

The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommend these preventative dental care visits every 6 months. So, what happens during these visits? 

Depending on how many teeth your child has, they may receive a professional pediatric dental cleaning and a comprehensive oral evaluation. The dentist will address any areas of concern and encourage you and your child to maintain healthy oral hygiene habits. 

A few additional aspects of preventive dental care that may be included in your trip to the dentist are: 

Consider these routine visits the perfect opportunity to raise any questions or concerns you may have with your dentist. 

What About Dental Emergencies? 

Dental emergencies can happen at any time. When they do, don’t wait for the six-month visit — contact your dentist as soon as possible. 

Dental emergencies include: 

Dental emergencies can be addressed right away to give your child relief and provide them with the most ideal outcome. 

Why Choose a Pediatric Dentist? 

When it comes to oral health, starting habits early and creating a solid foundation is so important. A pediatric dentist specializes in the care of children and teens, prioritizing their comfort and overall experience throughout the entire dental visit. They work to take the fear out of going to the dentist and instill a lifelong habit of routine visits. 

A pediatric dentist has the tools, techniques, and technology that will aid them in providing the most gentle, pain-free service to these young patients. 

Combined, all of these things help make it easier for parents of children to prioritize their appointments every six months for a cleaning and examination. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Pediatric Dentistry

When should I begin brushing my child’s teeth? 

You should begin brushing your child’s teeth as soon as the first one comes in. Though, wiping your baby’s gums with a wet, soft cloth before any teeth erupt is also a very good habit to get into. 

Should my child get dental sealants? 

Dental sealants are a coating that covers the chewing surface of teeth. This reduces the risk of decay – protecting teeth from cavities. Dental sealants are highly recommended as part of a preventative treatment plan. 

Pediatric Dental Care of Memphis

Set your child up for dental success with routine dental care. At Pediatric Dental Care of Memphis, we encourage and ensure that our young patients are at ease throughout their visit. And we want to address your concerns and exceed your expectations, too. 

To learn more or schedule an appointment, contact us today at one of our two convenient locations: 

Kirby Center Cover: 901-363-8192

White Station: 901-560-4386

At What Age Should a Child Get Their First Dental X-Ray?

As a parent, you know that visits to the dentist are essential for providing your child with good oral health that will last a lifetime. But since you always look to give your child what is needed while maintaining the utmost safety, it is only natural that you’d question whether or not getting a dental x-ray is safe. 

Let’s take a close look at why this diagnostic tool is so widely used in the field of dentistry and what age you can expect your child to have their first dental x-ray.

The Value of Dental X-Rays

Dental X-rays or digital radiographs are used in diagnosing oral health issues. They give the dentist a visual of things the eye cannot see. This not only allows them to handle the patient’s needs today, but they can take steps to prevent them in the future, too. 

A few situations that warrant the use of dental imaging include: 

What Age Should Your Child Get Their First Dental X-Ray? 

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) provides no designated age at which a child should get their first dental x-ray. However, many kids will have their first experience with these diagnostic radiographs by the time they are 4 or 5 years of age — or younger depending on your child’s immediate needs.. 

Pediatric dentists are left to use their discretion as to when they should use dental X-rays. This allows them to turn their focus to the patient’s needs, rather than their age. For instance, when treating any of the above issues, imaging may be necessary in order to provide the best level of treatment/diagnosis — regardless of age. 

Are Dental X-Rays Safe for Kids? 

Guidelines and protocols are in place to provide the benefits of this diagnostic tool while minimizing the risks that come with it. 

The dental X-rays of today are much different from those in the past as they only use a tiny percentage of the radiation. And, as an extra layer of precaution, a protective apron is placed over the child during the imaging to reduce exposure. 

What’s more, dentists will only use dental X-rays when it is necessary to provide proper treatment. 

Frequently Asked Questions about X-Rays for Children 

Can I refuse dental X-rays for my child? 

Yes, you can refuse dental X-rays for your child. However, without them, your dentist may be unable to provide treatment due to an incomplete diagnosis. 

How often should kids get dental X-rays? 

How often your child will need a dental x-ray will vary. It is common for dentists to take X-rays annually for kids or as needed. 

Preventative and Diagnostic Pediatric Dental Care

Is it time for your little one to visit the dentist? At Pediatric Dental Care of Memphis, our team of specialists goes above and beyond to ensure the safety and comfort of our young patients – and that includes the use of digital radiographs. 

To learn more or schedule an appointment, contact us today at one of our two convenient locations: 

Kirby Center Cover: 901-363-8192

White Station: 901-560-4386

Dealing with Teething Pain: Tips for Parents

Parenting has its challenges — especially when your child is hurting. So, when teething kicks in, knowing what to do to provide relief for your little one is key. 

Make this time of transition a bit easier for both you and your baby with these tips for dealing with teething pain. 

Know the Signs of Teething

When you know the signs of teething, you are better able to make decisions about the proper care for your child. In other words, you can spring into action rather than wondering what is going on – or what your next step should be. 

A few of the most common teething signs include: 

A close look at your child’s gums can indicate whether or not they are teething. While it will not always be visible, as the teething progresses you should be able to see a bump or a new tooth trying to peek through. 

 

Bring on the Cold

Things that are nice and cold can provide your baby with soothing relief. There are plenty of teething toys on the market — just stay away from those that have gel or liquid in them. They have the potential to leak and can be hazardous. 

Of course, you do not have to go out of your way to buy new teething toys. There are other options that you have at home already. For instance, you can place a clean pacifier in the refrigerator to provide cooling relief, too. Or, wet a soft washcloth, squeeze it out, and then place it in the freezer or refrigerator. This will provide your baby with something chilled to chew on. 

Never leave your little one unattended when chewing on any of these things as they can become a choking hazard. 

 

Eating When Teething

Some babies don’t want to eat when they are teething. After all, their mouth is causing them pain. Get nutrition into them by making popsicles out of breast milk or formula. 

Because they are cold, kids will be more likely to suck on these popsicles than they are to eat. This can help you relax, knowing that some nutrition is getting in them. Just be warned — they can be a bit messy so put that bib on. 

 

Massaging the Gums

Feeling massage pressure on the gums can feel so good when teething. With a freshly cleaned finger, gently massage the gums in a circular motion all along the gum line. The relief this brings will often be visible. Most babies will even be relaxed enough to fall asleep. Make this a go-to option for comforting your baby. 

 

Pain Relievers

Children’s pain relievers per the directions are an option but if the child tolerates the other options listed previously that is always the best route.  Please, Please avoid any numbing medicines as this can be dangerous to your child’s health.  Also, please consult your Doctors at Pediatric Dental Care of Memphis or their pediatrician prior to giving a children’s pain reliever.   

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the normal age for teething? 

Most babies will begin teething somewhere between 6 and 12 months of age, on average. Though this may start earlier or later. 

Does teething pain stop when the tooth cuts through the gums? 

Yes! The teething pain will come to a halt once the tooth makes its way through the gums. 

 

Get More Tips About Your Little One’s Oral Health

As a parent, the more you understand how best to care for your child’s teeth, the stronger the foundation they will have for lifelong oral health. Your child should see the dentist by the time they are 12 months of age. This ensures proper growth and development while also providing you with a team of support.

Contact Pediatric Dental Care of Memphis today to schedule an appointment at one of our two convenient locations. 

Kirby Center Cove: 901-363-8192

White Station Road: 901-560-4386

6 Warning Signs Your Child Has Cavities

Cavities can be scary for young kids, especially when they cause pain and sensitivity. You can set your child up for success by helping them maintain good oral hygiene habits. But even with the best efforts, cavities can still appear. 

 

Knowing how to spot them is important. 

 

Parents, keep an eye out for these 6 warning signs your child has cavities and then spring into action by calling your pediatric dentist. 

1. Toothaches

Toothaches are one of the most common signs that your child may have a cavity – or that something is wrong. This pain can appear quickly and may actually be hard to pinpoint. 

 

It is not unusual for kids to complain of jaw pain, ear pain, neck pain, or face pain rather than tooth pain. They hurt and knowing the source isn’t always possible. 

 

Sometimes it comes on as a slight ache and then progresses and other times it appears at its worst. It is worth noting that most cavities come without toothaches, but not all of them.  

2. Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is often a sign of cavities. The sensitivity can arise with hot or cold food and drinks as well as sugar consumption. 

 

The reason for this sensitivity is that the enamel has been infiltrated, exposing the tooth’s soft inner layers. 

 

Most kids will complain of pain when the tooth is exposed to these varied temperatures or after eating a sweet treat. 

3. Discolorations

Cavities can cause discolorations on a tooth’s surface. These often begin as small white dots. If not addressed, they will start to turn darker due to the spreading of decay. 

 

A toothache may or may not be present — but monitoring teeth for these discolorations can help stop the cavity early.  These white spots are also difficult to detect as there are normal color fluctuations in all teeth and there are some white spots that are not associated with cavities.

4. Visible Holes

As the discolorations are left, the decay continues to eat its way through the tooth forming a hole or pit within it. These are almost always visible to the naked eye. Look for them where the tooth meets the gumline, on the biting surface of the tooth, or between two teeth. 

5. Pain When Chewing

Is your child complaining of pain while chewing? When a tooth has a cavity and becomes sensitive, biting down to eat can cause pain and make the entire experience uncomfortable.  Depending on age this could also mean a baby tooth is loose. 

 

Some kids are quick to complain about this while others will simply refuse to eat. If your child suddenly does not want to eat, there could be something going on with their oral health. 

6. Bad Breath

When decay is present within the mouth, bad breath usually isn’t far behind. 

 

If your child is brushing regularly and still manages to have bad breath, this could signal that decay may be eating away at their teeth. It is a good idea to take a thorough look – and book an appointment with the dentist for a checkup. 

Preventing Cavities 

While it isn’t always possible to prevent cavities, you can take steps to reduce your child’s risk of getting them. Below are a few tips to help boost your child’s oral health. 

 

Most importantly, visit the dentist every 6 months for a professional cleaning and dental examination to stop cavities before they can form. 

Pediatric Dental Care in Memphis

At Pediatric Dental Care of Memphis, we offer a comprehensive list of services, including preventative treatments, to help our patients maintain excellent oral health — free from cavities. 

 

Contact us today to schedule an appointment at one of our convenient locations. Or, request an appointment online. 

Frequently Asked Questions

When should children start seeing the dentist? 

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommends that children receive their first dental check-up by 12 months of age or within 6 months of their first tooth. Even if your child’s teeth have not erupted by the time they are 1 year old, book your appointment with a pediatric dentist. 

 

What are dental sealants? 

Dental sealants offer protection from cavities. A safe resin is applied to the surface of teeth, sealing off the tooth from cavity-causing agents like plaque and food. This is a proactive step in helping your child maintain good oral health.

What is a Good Age to Break Thumb Sucking?

Thumb sucking is something that many little ones do as a way to self-soothe. Some babies even have a natural tendency to do this while still in the womb. But how long is too long? What is a good age to break thumb sucking? 

How Thumb Sucking Impacts Oral Health

Because the habit of thumb sucking includes putting a finger in their mouth, it should be no surprise that it has a direct impact on oral health. The following are a few of the most common dental concerns that are related to sucking the thumb. 

 

 

And, due to the repetitive behavior as the jaw is developing and forming, it can lead to impaired jaw growth too. 

When to Address Thumb Sucking

For many kids, especially those who are young infants, thumb sucking is very normal – especially once they begin growing and discover their fingers. During this time, just make sure your little one’s fingers are clean. 

 

Most kids will stop sucking their thumb on their own after just a couple of years. 

 

Ages 2 to 3 years: This is a very common time for sucking the thumb. So much so that many pediatric dentists and pediatricians will agree that this is normal behavior.  Ideally we would love to see the habit stop by age 3 but often times it is difficult.  Encouragement to help stop is the best method at this age.

 

Ages 3 to 6 years: While it is not uncommon for the thumb-sucking habit to continue throughout these ages, it should be closely monitored. There is also a good chance that your pediatric dentist will tell you it is time to start making an effort to eliminate the habit as much as possible.  When bringing the topic up to your child, it is best to be as gentle as possible as if the child gets upset the thumb will normally go in the mouth for your child to self soothe.

 

Dental issues can start arising early but when permanent teeth begin to erupt things can begin to look worse. This usually happens around age 6, but changes often occur well in advance of this. So addressing thumb sucking as early as possible within this timeframe will be most ideal. 

 

Ages 6 years and older: Issues with oral health and development are much more likely to occur if your child continues to suck their thumb going forward. As a result, more complex treatments may be necessary to align the bite and correct issues caused by the thumb. 

How to Stop Thumb-Sucking Behavior

You want to encourage your child to stop sucking their thumb in a gentle manner. Remember, many develop this habit as a self-soothing technique. And while removing their ability to suck their thumb can be beneficial for their teeth, it could be detrimental to their mental and emotional well-being.  

 

Here are a few ideas to help you get started with your child. 

 

 

Of course, speaking to your child’s pediatric dentist is a great way to start addressing the behavior. There are many different oral appliances, tools, and tricks that dentists can use to protect your little one’s oral health. 

Learn More at Pediatric Dental Care of Memphis

Is your child a thumb-sucker? Take steps now to curb the habit with the help of the pediatric dental experts at Pediatric Dental Care of Memphis. We will work with you and your child to find a way to preserve oral health — and stop thumb sicking. 

 

Contact us today to schedule an appointment at one of our convenient locations. Or, if you prefer, you can request an appointment online. 

Preventing Cavities in Your Childs Mouth: An Important Lesson

Without the proper prevention techniques, it can be tough to keep a mouth free from cavities. But, since you want to give your child the best opportunity for good oral health, it is important to start taking preventative measures as soon as possible. 

 

Here is everything you need to know about preventing cavities in your child’s mouth. 

What Are Cavities?

When plaque builds up, the bacteria found within it can begin to eat away at the enamel. Over time, they work their way through the outer layers of the tooth, causing damage to the enamel and leaving little holes behind. This is known as a cavity. 

 

Enamel does not grow back. Therefore, once it has been eaten away by bacteria, the little openings can put the tooth at risk. To stop more damage from occurring, this requires the attention of a dentist.

Signs Your Child May Have a Cavity

It is not always possible to tell whether or not your child has a cavity. Nonetheless, there are a few signs you can look out for, such as: 

 

 

Keep in mind that some kids may have a cavity and not show any signs at all. 

 

How Can You Prevent Cavities in Your Child’s Mouth? 

Cavities mean that tooth decay has invaded your child’s mouth and can cause pain and all types of unwanted symptoms. Here are a few steps you can take to help your child avoid cavities and maintain a healthy mouth. 

Develop a Good Oral Hygiene Routine

Since cavities form due to the buildup of plaque on the teeth, it is important to keep them free and clear by maintaining a good oral hygiene routine. 

 

Teach your child how to do this by engaging them in the process. For instance, allow them to pick out an age-appropriate toothbrush and toothpaste. Make brushing and flossing fun with music, timer videos, or doing it together. 

 

While you may have to adjust this oral hygiene routine based on age, the goal is to have your child brushing their teeth twice per day and flossing once. 

 

Instilling these good habits early can set your child up for success in reducing the risk of cavities. 

Visit the Dentist for Routine Cleanings

In addition to home care, visits to the dentist need to be routine, as well.  According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD), kids should have their teeth professionally cleaned every 6 months.

 

These visits not only ensure that the teeth are cleaned thoroughly and that all plaque is removed, but they also give the dentist an opportunity to do an examination. Any areas of concern can be addressed before they progress — including cavities. 

 

Talk to your dentist about the benefits of fluoride treatments and dental sealants. These are two preventative measures that can help protect your child’s teeth from cavities. Fluoride makes your enamel stronger so that it is harder for plaque to break through and dental sealants put a layer of protection against the teeth.  

Limit Sugary Foods

Kids will be kids and they are bound to eat sugary treats and candy quite often. These, as well as carbs and starches, are not good for the teeth and can increase one’s risk of cavities.

 

Making an effort to limit these types of foods as much as possible can help prevent the formation of cavities. Teach your child that these foods can contribute to plaque buildup and that brushing their teeth or rinsing their mouth after consuming them is always a wise idea. 

Learn More About Cavity Prevention

Protect your child’s teeth from cavities with the help of our team at Pediatric Dental Care of Memphis.  We offer many preventative dentistry services to boost your child’s oral health. 

Contact us today at one of our two convenient locations. Or, request an appointment online.

Is It OK for Kids To Swallow Fluoride-Free Toothpaste?

Teaching kids how to brush while introducing toothpaste is always a fun, but challenging time. Parents often find that young ones tend to swallow more toothpaste than they spit out. Nonetheless, brushing teeth is a vital part of any oral health routine so it needs to be done routinely. 

 

Is it OK for kids to swallow fluoride-free toothpaste? How can you ensure they get the benefit of the toothpaste without ingesting it? How much toothpaste is too much? 

Why Your Kids Shouldn’t Swallow Toothpaste

Ideally, you don’t want your kids to swallow toothpaste, but it is likely to happen. Make things a bit safer by starting them out with a fluoride-free option (training toothpaste) while they get the hang of proper brushing and spitting. 

 

What happens if they swallow it? 

 

A little bit here and there is not likely to have much effect on your child. However, ingesting too much toothpaste can lead to a stomach ache as well as some potential vomiting. Seek medical attention as necessary.

Using the Right Amount of Toothpaste

Having a mouthful of foaming toothpaste can be hard to handle when you are young and just learning the ropes. And for many kids, it is easy to accidentally swallow before spitting the rest out. Since not using toothpaste at all just isn’t an option, what can you do? 

 

Always use the right amount which is a pea-sized amount of toothpaste (a little goes a long way). Showing them what they need will not only teach them how to properly use toothpaste, but it will make it less overwhelming for their mouth.

 

Tips to Keep Your Child From Swallowing Toothpaste 

Swallowing little bits of fluoride-free toothpaste from time to time is not that big of a deal, but it is definitely something you want to take steps to try and avoid. Helping your child develop the right brushing techniques can reduce the chances of this happening.

 

Try these tips:

 

 

Most importantly, be patient with your child. What may seem second nature to us as parents is a whole new lesson for your child. Once they get the hang of it, they are sure to stop swallowing any toothpaste at all. 

Learn More About Preventative Dentistry

Preventative dentistry is a major part of every dental routine. 

 

At home, parents are tasked with teaching little ones how to make sure they get their teeth clean without swallowing too much toothpaste. 

 

At Pediatric Dental Care of Memphis, we offer many different preventative treatments, such as oral examinations, dental cleanings, fluoride treatments, and more. Our gentle dental team will even help teach you and your child the best way to clean their teeth. 

 

Set your child up for a lifetime of successful dental health. Contact us today at one of our two convenient locations so we can partner with you in your child’s care. Or, request an appointment online. 

How Often Do Kids Need Fluoride Treatment?

It is so important to give every child the opportunity to build a solid foundation for their oral health. Teaching them proper ways of brushing and flossing, as well as visiting the dentist routinely for cleanings are all important. 

 

But did you know that fluoride treatment can also play a significant role in strengthening teeth and preventing decay? Here is everything you need to know about it – including how often kids need fluoride treatment. 

Why is Fluoride Important for Oral Health? 

Fluoride has proven itself to be a fighter against tooth decay. If used as part of preventative care for teeth, it can reduce the chance of cavities. Fluoride is a mineral that can actually cause remineralization and build up weakened teeth. In other words, it makes them stronger and tougher — greater strength against dangerous bacteria.  We like to call fluoride “tooth vitamins.” 

 

When kids have one tooth that is suffering from tooth decay, it can easily spread to additional teeth. As a result, many teeth are in jeopardy of cavities. It doesn’t matter whether they are baby teeth or permanent teeth, they need to be cared for properly so that your child has the best chance of a healthy mouth. 

 

While all fluoride treatments help to yield the same result, they can be administered in a few different ways, including gel, foam, or varnish form that can be applied to the teeth. There is usually no difference between each method, rather just a preference on behalf of the dentist. 

Benefits of Fluoride Treatment

As if strong teeth weren’t beneficial enough, here are a few more perks that kids get from routine fluoride treatments: 

 

 

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of fluoride treatment is that it will save you money down the road. You will reduce the need for complex dental procedures as the teeth will be healthy and strong. 

When Should Kids Start Getting Fluoride Treatment? 

Fluoride treatment can be used by patients of any age. However, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, all children from 6 months of age to 16 years of age should include fluoride treatments as part of their preventative care. 

How Often Do Kids Need Fluoride Treatment? 

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry makes another recommendation that children get fluoride in some form every day. It can be found in toothpaste and certain kid-friendly mouthwash. Many cities and municipalities even put fluoride in tap water. 

 

As for fluoride treatments offered by your child’s dentist — it is recommended that young patients have one every 3 to 6 months. Of course, this frequency will depend on their risk for cavities and will be included as part of a personal treatment plan. 

Protect Your Child’s Oral Health with Fluoride Treatment

At Pediatric Dental Care of Memphis, we take every step we can to provide our little patients with the best oral health. That’s why we choose to offer fluoride treatment as one of our preventative options. 

 

To learn more or to get started, contact us today at one of our convenient locations:

 

Kirby Center: 901-363-8192

White Station: 901-560-4386

 

Or, request an appointment online. 

Sports Dentistry: Preventing Pediatric Dental Injuries in Sports

Kids and sports go hand-in-hand. They are active and they don’t always take the necessary precautions – even when they are handed to them. Unfortunately, this puts them at risk for a lot of accidents that could cause dental injuries. 

What is Sports Dentistry? 

In a nutshell, sports dentistry involves the prevention and treatment of dental injuries and oral issues that occur while playing or even practicing sports. It brings together a combination of efforts to address restoring functionality as well as appearance. 

 

It does not matter the type of sport or the degree of contact, dental injuries can happen and prevention should always be sought. 

Most Common Dental Injuries in Sports 

There are so many different types of accidents that occur, but some of the most common dental injuries in sports include teeth that are cracked, fractured at the root, knocked out, or shoved into the jawbone. 

 

These injuries can happen as the result of contact with another player or with one of the objects used to play the sport, such as a ball, bat, stick, or something else. 

 

Millions of these dental injuries transpire in sports every single year. The good news is that there are ways to try to prevent them and treatments for when they happen anyway. 

How to Prevent Pediatric Dental Injuries in Sports

There are two common options for protecting against dental injuries in sports: mouthguards and helmets. 

Mouthguards

Whether a contact sports or not, a custom mouthguard that is properly fitted will reduce the chance of damage no matter what the teeth come up against — such as another person, a ball, or even the ground.  Not only can custom mouthguards reduce trauma to teeth they can protect your child athlete from concussions.

 

While mouthguards can be bought at many stores, a custom-fit mouthguard from your dentist will provide the most protection for your child. 

Helmets

Helmets also work to protect teeth. They are designed to protect the athlete from head injuries, but by default, they protect teeth too. Balls and hockey pucks will still be able to make contact with your child's mouth, but the ground won’t. So, in some ways, you can consider it an extra layer of protection. 

 

Note that a helmet is not a replacement or alternative to a mouthguard. 

When Dental Injuries in Sports Happen

A lot can arise when your child is in the game — and sometimes that includes a dental injury. It does not matter how prepared you think you are, injuries can appear out of nowhere. So, what do you do? 

 

You turn to Pediatric Dental Care of Memphis for care and restoration. Those that offer sports dentistry will have treatments available to address all of the most common injuries, as well as those that are not so common. 

 

With swift action, most injuries can be addressed and treated successfully. 

Learn More About Dental Injuries and Sports

Pediatric Dental Care of Memphis offers sports dentistry because we know just how active kids and teens can be. We offer preventative measures and the treatment necessary when things go awry. 

 

If you find your child in either of these situations, contact us today at one of our convenient locations:

 

Kirby Center: 901-363-8192

White Station: 901-560-4386

 

Or, request an appointment online. 

Is Fluoride Necessary For Kids?

Routine dental care is necessary for kids. It gives them an opportunity to visit their dentist for a professional cleaning and have an examination to see if there are any areas of concern that need to be addressed. Following through with this twice per year can set the foundation for lifelong oral health. 

 

Because the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that fluoride treatments be a part of a child’s preventative dental care routine, most pediatric dentists will offer fluoride at these appointments. But, is fluoride really necessary for kids? 

The Importance of Fluoride

Fluoride is a natural mineral that has proven itself to be powerful at protecting teeth from tooth decay and, ultimately, cavities. It can also be found in many oral hygiene products, such as toothpaste, mouthwash, and more. 

 

So, why is fluoride so important? 

 

See, for many different reasons, tooth enamel can be broken down through a process known as demineralization. But teeth that have been subjected to fluoride undergo a process known as remineralization in which the teeth are strengthened. In other words, it can reverse the damage to teeth, including any areas of weakness in the enamel. 

 

Because of this, many communities throughout the United States have added fluoride to the water supplies that come into each home. And, it has been reported that those who frequently drink tap water tend to have fewer cavities than those who do not. 

What is a Fluoride Treatment

Fluoride treatments at the dentist can be done at any time but they are most often done every six months after their dental cleaning. It is applied to the teeth using a gel or foam.

 

Another option is fluoride varnish which is painted on the teeth and is known to last for several months.  This is the option we use at PDC Memphis. 

 

A few benefits that these treatments provide include: 

 

 

Fluoride treatments can begin as soon as the teeth erupt – which is as early as six months of age. 

Fluoride Treatments at Pediatric Dental Care of Memphis

At Pediatric Dental Care of Memphis, we provide fluoride to our patients as part of our pediatric dental treatment. We want to give our patients every chance to have great oral health. And fluoride is a part of that plan. 

To learn more, contact us today at one of our two convenient locations. Or request an appointment online.

What Should You Feed Your Child After Getting a Tooth Extraction?

Being told your child needs a tooth removed can be quite a shock. You might wonder why they need an extraction, how much pain they might experience, and what you can feed them.

Childhood tooth extractions are sometimes necessary due to tooth impactions, to provide room for other teeth to grow in, or because a tooth is damaged. Your child’s dentist will address various methods for decreasing their discomfort during and after the tooth removal, as well as their diet options. Even after a tooth extraction, consuming enough calories and proper nutrition is crucial in children.

Recommended Foods for Children Post-Tooth Extraction

When Can Your Child Have Soft Foods?

Your child may begin eating soft foods several hours after the procedure or even the next day, as long as chewing doesn’t cause them any discomfort and the numbness has worn off. Encourage and remind your child to chew on the unaffected side of their mouth; however, they can resume chewing on both sides when it feels comfortable for them.

Questions about Your Child’s Dental Health?

Whether your child is a picky eater or will eat anything you put in front of them, there are many options for feeding them after a tooth extraction. If you have questions about your child’s dental health or tooth extraction, our team of dental professionals is here to help. Contact Pediatric Dental Care - PDOC by phone at 901-363-8192 or request an appointment today.

What Age Should a Child Get Braces?

Braces can straighten a child's teeth and improve their oral health. The ideal age to start braces treatment is between ages 9 and 14.

Why Get Braces Within This Age Range?

Children ages 9 to 14 already have most of their permanent teeth, but they are growing rapidly. The gums, teeth, and jaw remain pliable so the orthodontist can maximize their chance of success.

Why Children Need Braces

Some parents doubt the need for braces, but they are about more than straight teeth and an improved appearance. The following are some of the top reasons why your dentist may recommend braces for your child:

The First Orthodontic Visit

All children need to see an orthodontist by the age of 7. The doctor can evaluate the child's bite, airway, and any oral habits such as thumb-sucking or mouth breathing. In certain cases, orthodontists may start treatment around age 7 using early intervention methods. The orthodontist may provide interceptive treatment with palate expanders and other appliances. These appliances can steer the child's oral development in the proper direction and prevent future problems.

The Braces Process

First, you and your child will have a consultation with the orthodontist, where you will learn about available treatment plans. Your child may receive X-rays and impressions. The orthodontist may also take photos to establish a baseline.

The next visit is when the orthodontist places the braces. This appointment could be lengthy. It starts with a dental cleaning to ensure no food or plaque is trapped under the braces to cause tooth decay. The doctor applies metal brackets to the teeth with special cement. The dentist installs bands around the back teeth and threads an archwire through the brackets. Finally, they secure the archwire with rubber bands. Your child may have some discomfort for a few days after the braces go on.

Once each month, your child will visit the orthodontist for adjustments. The gradual process will transform your child's smile. Treatment with braces can take from one to three years.

After the braces come off, your child must wear a prescribed retainer to keep the teeth from slipping back into their old positions. You may lose the time and money you invested in braces without a retainer.

Call Pediatric Dental Care

Not every child needs braces, but many children benefit from having their smiles addressed by an orthodontist. Braces not only improve appearance, but they also improve oral health.

If you are concerned about your child's teeth and want to know whether braces would be an appropriate choice, we can help. Call our office at 901-363-8192 to schedule an appointment and ensure your child's future oral health.

What Age Should a Child Go To the Dentist?

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics, all children should see a dentist for the first time by their first birthday, or within six months of getting their first tooth. Although your baby will eventually lose their primary teeth, seeing the dentist regularly for preventative and diagnostic care is essential. 

Why is Dental Care Important for Infants?

Early pediatric dental visits are essential for both preventative treatment and to diagnose minor problems before they have a chance to become complex problems. Even though baby teeth won’t stay, they are vital to your child’s healthy development as they help your infant to smile, chew, and speak. Baby teeth also play a critical role in saving space for the adult teeth to erupt. 

 

During your infant’s dental exams, your pediatric dentist will not only examine the teeth for any signs of decay or demineralization (white chalky areas), but they will also inform you on the best techniques for cleaning your infant’s teeth. Your pediatric dentist will also recommend fluoride treatments for your child as a painless treatment to help prevent cavities. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), fluoride treatments may prevent up to 33% of cavities in baby teeth.  

 

As your child’s permanent molars come in, your pediatric dentist will carefully examine them to look for deep grooves or crevices. Teeth with naturally deep grooves are more likely to accumulate bacteria that can cause cavities. If your child has deep crevices in their teeth, your pediatric dentist may recommend dental sealants as a preventative treatment. The CDC estimates dental sealants may prevent up to 80% of cavities. 

 

Benefits of Regular Dental Cleanings and Exams for Kids

After your infant or child’s first dental exam, they should return to the pediatric dentist every six months. Even if your child practices excellent oral hygiene habits, regular brushing and flossing just aren’t enough to remove all of the plaque and tartar that builds up on the teeth. During your biannual dental cleaning and exam, this tartar and plaque are removed, helping to prevent cavities and gum disease from taking root between each visit.  

 

Regular dental cleanings and exams can also help parents who struggle to get kids to brush for a full 2 minutes twice daily. Your pediatric dentist will reinforce the need for excellent brushing and flossing habits during each dental exam and cleaning. They may suggest ways to make brushing fun. They can help demonstrate proper techniques for cleaning the teeth. If you are worried about your child’s ongoing thumb-sucking or pacifier habit, your pediatric dentist can also provide you with tips and techniques for helping your child break the habit.

 

Schedule a Dental Appointment for Your Infant or Child in Memphis

Pediatric Dental Care of Memphis (PDC) provides comprehensive pediatric dental care to infants, toddlers, tweens, and teens in Memphis. Home to two of Memphis’s most highly respected pediatric dentists, PDC’s pediatric dentists are Board Certified by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry.  PDC also has a general dentist for your tweens and teens when more adult problems arise.   Our kid-friendly office and gentle dentists are here to help provide your child with a foundation of excellent oral health that they can maintain for a lifetime. To book an appointment, call 901-363-8192. You may also request an appointment online, and our friendly staff will contact you to confirm. 

Importance of Baby Teeth

Just because your child’s primary teeth, often known as “baby teeth,” eventually fall out, doesn’t mean they’re not important. Baby teeth play a crucial role in your child’s overall health, development, and well-being. 

 

Most children have a full set of baby teeth by the time they are two years old.  The baby teeth are exfoliated (come out) in stages.  The first stage usually begins between the ages of 5 and 6 (give or take 6-12 months) and lasts till about the ages of 8 or 9.  During the first stage, the child will lose his front 8 teeth.  4 on the bottom and 4 on the top.  The second stage usually lasts between the ages of 9 and 12 (give or take 6-12 months).  During these stages, your child will experience some discomfort/irritation and growing pains which is all very normal.  

 

Much like your own permanent teeth, your child’s baby teeth require professional and at-home dental care. Decay can happen at any age, so it’s time to visit the dentist within six months of your child’s first tooth appearing or by their first birthday, whichever comes first. In addition to checking for tooth decay and other pediatric dental problems, we will show you the best ways to teach good oral health habits that lead to a lifetime of healthy teeth. 

 

Benefits of Maintaining Healthy Baby Teeth 

Maintaining healthy baby teeth offers the following benefits: 

 

 

Potential Dental Concerns For Baby Teeth

Baby teeth are susceptible to decay and may develop cavities just like adult teeth. In addition to the pain caused by a cavity, young children can develop dental infections.  Baby tooth decay is a serious, infectious, and transmissible disease that can spread quickly and lead to infection or abscess when left untreated. This can be especially harmful to children because their immune systems aren’t fully developed.

 

If a tooth becomes infected and needs to be extracted, your dentist may recommend inserting a space maintainer. If the space is not preserved, other teeth may drift, causing crowding and other orthodontic problems when permanent teeth come in.

 

Teaching and Modeling Healthy Habits 

The most important aspect of taking care of your child’s primary teeth is setting a positive example from an early age. Your child should develop the habit of brushing (at least twice daily, in the morning after breakfast and at night before bedtime) and flossing daily (at least once a day at bedtime) that will carry into adulthood. Healthy teeth also lead to more positive experiences at the pediatric dental office, helping your child establish a healthy view of dental care. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Baby Teeth

How often should children brush and floss their teeth?

We recommend brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day for best results. If your child has a tendency to develop cavities, it may be helpful to brush more frequently, such as after every meal. Begin brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as a tooth erupts. It is also important to clean your baby’s gums with a soft cloth or an infant toothbrush. 

 

What is baby bottle tooth decay (early childhood caries)?

Baby bottle tooth decay can occur when babies are allowed to constantly drink from a bottle or cup (especially at night) or nurse on demand. This causes the teeth to be repeatedly exposed to sugar that clings to the teeth and feeds bacteria in the mouth, leading to early childhood tooth decay. To prevent baby bottle tooth decay, don’t put your baby in their crib or bed with a bottle or cup. If nursing, try to avoid nursing during the night but if you must try and wipe the teeth with a washcloth afterwards. Do your best to have specific feeding times and encourage your baby to finish their bottle or cup in one sitting. Allow a few hours to pass between bottles to give the teeth time to recover. 

 

When should my baby’s first tooth come in?

The average age for an infant’s first tooth to erupt is between the age of 6 and 12 months. Some babies will get teeth earlier, and others later. If your child still has no teeth showing above the gums by 18 months, let us know so we can schedule an evaluation. Delayed tooth eruption is not necessarily a concern, but it is always a good idea to have a professional assessment. 

 

When do baby teeth fall out?

The average age for loss of the first tooth is between 5 and 7 years old. The first tooth to be shed is usually one of the front teeth on the bottom row because it is typically the first tooth to erupt in infancy. Most children will have shed all of their baby teeth by the age of 12. 

 

To learn more, call 901-363-8192 today to schedule or request an appointment with Pediatric Dental Care in Memphis, TN.