Posts for tag: pediatric dentistry
When your child says they have a toothache, should you see your dentist? In most cases, the answer is yes.
And for good reason: their “toothache” could be a sign of a serious condition like tooth decay or a localized area of infection called an abscess, which could adversely affect their long-term dental health. The best way to know for sure –and to know what treatment will be necessary—is through a dental exam.
So, how quickly should you make the appointment? You can usually wait until morning if the pain has persisted for a day or through the night—most toothaches don’t constitute an emergency. One exception, though, is if the child has accompanying fever or facial swelling: in those cases you should call your dentist immediately or, if unavailable, visit an emergency room.
In the meantime, you can do a little detective work to share with the dentist at the appointment. Ask your child exactly where in their mouth they feel the pain and if they remember when it started. Look at that part of the mouth—you may be able to see brown spots on the teeth or obvious cavities indicative of decay, or reddened, swollen gums caused by an abscess. Also ask them if they remember getting hit in the mouth, which may mean their pain is the result of trauma and not disease.
You can also look for one other possible cause: a piece of candy, popcorn or other hard object wedged between the teeth putting painful pressure on the gums. Try gently flossing the teeth to see if anything dislodges. If so, the pain may alleviate quickly if the wedged object was the cause.
Speaking of pain, you can try to ease it before the dental appointment with ibuprofen or acetaminophen in appropriate doses for the child’s age. A chilled cloth or ice pack (no direct ice on skin) applied to the outside of the jaw may also help.
Seeing the dentist for any tooth pain is always a good idea. By paying prompt attention to this particular “call for help” from the body could stop a painful situation from getting worse.
If you would like more information on dental care for children, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “A Child’s Toothache: Have a Dental Exam to Figure out the Real Cause.”
Cavities can happen even before a baby has his first piece of candy. This was the difficult lesson actor David Ramsey of the TV shows Arrow and Dexter learned when his son DJ’s teeth were first emerging.
“His first teeth came in weak,” Ramsey recalled in a recent interview. “They had brown spots on them and they were brittle.” Those brown spots, he said, quickly turned into cavities. How did this happen?
Ramsey said DJ’s dentist suspected it had to do with the child’s feedings — not what he was being fed but how. DJ was often nursed to sleep, “so there were pools of breast milk that he could go to sleep with in his mouth,” Ramsey explained.
While breastfeeding offers an infant many health benefits, problems can occur when the natural sugars in breast milk are left in contact with teeth for long periods. Sugar feeds decay-causing oral bacteria, and these bacteria in turn release tooth-eroding acids. The softer teeth of a young child are particularly vulnerable to these acids; the end result can be tooth decay.
This condition, technically known as “early child caries,” is referred to in laymen’s terms as “baby bottle tooth decay.” However, it can result from nighttime feedings by bottle or breast. The best way to prevent this problem is to avoid nursing babies to sleep at night once they reach the teething stage; a bottle-fed baby should not be allowed to fall asleep with anything but water in their bottle or “sippy cup.”
Here are some other basics of infant dental care that every parent should know:
- Wipe your baby’s newly emerging teeth with a clean, moist washcloth after feedings.
- Brush teeth that have completely grown in with a soft-bristled, child-size toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste no bigger than a grain of rice.
- Start regular dental checkups by the first birthday.
Fortunately, Ramsey reports that his son is doing very well after an extended period of professional dental treatments and parental vigilance.
“It took a number of months, but his teeth are much, much better,” he said. “Right now we’re still helping him and we’re still really on top of the teeth situation.”
If you would like more information on dental care for babies and toddlers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Age One Dental Visit” and “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”
As your child continues to grow, make sure they are reaching their smile milestones.
Watching your little one grow up is such a fun time full of exciting, unforgettable experiences. Of course, it’s important that your child is getting the proper oral care they need to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Our Newberg, OR, family dentist, Dr. Angela Toy, is here to provide some information into some of the dental milestones your child should experience.
Your Child’s First Tooth
While teething can certainly be a challenge for your little one, the moment you start to see those little teeth coming in it can be pretty exciting. Usually, the two front teeth on the lower jaw start to come in first followed by the front teeth on the upper jaw.
Teething tends to happen anywhere from four months to one year old. There is no rhyme or reason to why some children start teething earlier than others but don’t be surprised or worried if your little one doesn’t start teething until 8 months.
Your Child’s First Dental Visit
It’s a good rule of thumb to schedule your child’s first dental visit with our Newberg dentist not long after their first birthday. If your little one’s teeth start to come in earlier than that, you’ll want to schedule their visit a bit sooner. Coming in every six months for routine cleanings and exams is important for your child. Think of your child’s growing smile as a clean slate. By coming in routinely and knowing how to properly care for their teeth you can ensure that your child remains cavity-free.
First Lost Baby Tooth
This is an exciting milestone for both your and your little one. This will usually occur around the time your child is five or six, but it may take until your child is eight or nine to lose their first tooth. If you have concerns about when your child’s teeth will start falling out you can also ask us. By bringing your child is every six months we can continue to monitor their smile’s development and progress and pinpoint problems right away.
Have questions about your child’s oral health? Need to schedule their next dental visit? Then turn to the gentle, knowledgeable dental experts at Arbor Hills Dental in Newberg, OR. Call us to learn more.