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Important Pediatric Dentistry Care for Your Child’s Baby Teeth
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child have a dental checkup by their first birthday. That said, many parents do not take their children to see a dentist until after they reach the age of two. Parents may underestimate the importance of a child's baby teeth. Some believe that it is not necessary to care for them the same way they care for permanent teeth. Other parents may regard pediatric dentistry as an expense that can be deferred until the child is older.
While it is true that baby teeth will eventually be lost, they have essential functions to serve. It is important to make every effort to keep them healthy and in place from the time they first appear to the time they fall out on their own.
Functions baby teeth serve
Placeholders for permanent teeth
Baby teeth help save the space that permanent teeth will eventually occupy. If a baby tooth is lost prematurely, the surrounding teeth may shift into the gap. This will leave no room for the permanent tooth to grow.
Children who lose baby teeth early can have difficulty pronouncing words when learning to speak. The soft structures involved in speech, including the lips, cheek and tongue, deflect off the teeth when forming sounds and words.
Oral pain arising from baby teeth that are decayed can prevent children from chewing their food properly. A child experiencing tooth pain may refuse food altogether or eat only small portions. They will not get the nutrition they need.
Untreated cavities in children can lead to the formation of abscesses and other bacterial infections. These infections can spread quickly to other areas of the body, possibly resulting in an emergency that can even turn life-threatening.
Children with tooth decay may have negative feelings about the way they look. Promoting dental health from an early age can help children feel confident in their appearance. This self-esteem will help them make the most of their childhood and carry over to when they are adults.
Services performed by pediatric dentists
Pediatric dentistry involves many of the same types of services that dentists may perform on adult patients:
- Preventative care
- Management of periodontal conditions
- Treatment of dental injuries
- Repair of defects such as cavities
- Risk assessment through oral health exams
A pediatric dentist can also perform an early assessment for potential orthodontic treatment to correct an improper bite or straighten teeth. They can counsel patients and parents alike on habits such as thumb-sucking or pacifier use.
Pediatric dentistry involves more than the services listed here. A pediatric dentist often works out of an office decorated and arranged specifically for children. Not only that, but a pediatric dentist is also specifically trained to address the anxiety and fear that some children may feel in a dentist office. They examine and treat young patients in a way that helps them feel calm and comfortable.
Pediatric dentistry can keep your child smiling
Proper care of the baby teeth is essential to preserving your child's oral health. Do not put off your child's first visit to a pediatric dentist. If you need a kid-friendly dentist, call our office to schedule an appointment.
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