Your Child's visit at Bowles Dental Center
At what age should you bring your child in to see Bowles Dental Center?
Bowles Dental Center recommends your child’s first dental cleaning be at age 2, unless there are specific concerns.
What should you expect at the first dental cleaning visit?
The first dental visit is usually scheduled with the parent’s appointment. While the parent is having their cleaning, we will introduce the instruments and equipment used by our professionals to the child. Sometimes your child may not be ready to have their teeth cleaned at this appointment and that is okay. We will just try again next time. And we have found that the more they are here, the more comfortable they will become.
Do you have a child friendly environment?
Bowles Dental Center has made it a priority to have a family friendly environment. We have a WII in the reception area for all family members (no matter their age). There are children’s books and building blocks for the little ones. We have free WIFI access for your electronic devices as well as a charging station. In the clinic rooms we have TV with a wide variety of channels.
What if treatment is needed?
If your child needs additional treatment with one of the doctors, we will schedule those appointments before you leave. We schedule all child treatment appointments in the mornings. We have found that morning appointments are best because your child is rested and will not need to worry all day about the upcoming appointment.
What if your child is apprehensive?
Bowles Dental Center does often recommend and provides the use of Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) for treatment. It helps to relieve any anxiety your child may have. Our main goal is to make sure your child is at ease and happy in our office.
How will we end the appointment?
The Treasure Chest is always kept full for a final reward after the appointment. We will schedule any follow up appointments that are necessary. We also like to get the next cleaning appointment made as well.
Oral Health Problems in Children
Baby Bottle Syndrome
Baby bottle syndrome (also called early childhood caries, nursing caries, and nursing bottle syndrome) is the development of cavities in infants due to the over presence of a nursing bottle in the infant’s mouth. Frequent contact with sugars from liquid carbohydrates, such as fruit juices, milk, formula, fruit juice diluted with water, sugar water, or any other sweet drink, cause baby’s teeth to decay just like older children, teens and adults. Human breast milk can cause tooth decay as well.
Most often, the cavities resulting from baby bottle syndrome occur when an infant falls asleep with a baby bottle containing a fermentable carbohydrate (milk, juice, or soda) in his/her mouth. When the baby falls asleep, the liquid pools around the teeth; the bacteria that are present will form acid, which eventually leads to a cavity.
Nursing bottle cavities usually form on the upper front teeth, because the infant’s tongue tends to protect the lower front teeth. In some more serious cases, cavities can be found in back molars. If left untreated, decayed teeth can cause pain and make it difficult to chew and eat. You may notice your child having tooth sensitivity to hard, hot, or cold foods. Badly decayed baby teeth could lead to an abscess, with the possibility of infection spreading elsewhere.
Baby teeth are very important. They act as “space savers” for adult teeth. If baby teeth are damaged or destroyed, they cannot help guide permanent (adult) teeth into their proper position, possibly resulting in crowded or crooked permanent teeth. If your child loses a tooth prematurely, your dentist may recommend a space maintainer. A space maintainer is a plastic or metal device that holds open the space left by the missing tooth. Your dentist will remove the device once the permanent teeth begin to erupt.
To Prevent Baby Bottle Cavities:
1. Do not leave a bottle in your child’s mouth while sleeping, or replace sugary liquid or milk with water or substitute with a pacifier.
2. Begin brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they come into the mouth, or clean them by using a wet washcloth. Do not use more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste
3. Begin regular dental examinations by the first birthday or earlier if a problem is noted.
Generally, it is normal and healthy for an infant to suck his or her thumb, fingers, pacifiers or toys. Sucking gives children a sense of emotional security and comfort. However, if thumb sucking continues beyond the age of 5, functional, skeletal and dental problems may occur. Children begin to have their permanent (adult) teeth come in at age 5 or 6. Depending on the frequency, intensity, and duration of the sucking, the teeth can be pushed out of alignment, causing them to protrude and create an overbite. The child’s upper and lower jaws can become misaligned (crossbite), and the roof of the mouth might become malformed, blocking the child’s nasal airway and causing he or she to become a mouth breather and/or tongue thruster. As the child gets older, mouth breathing can cause many problems, including snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, cavities, misaligned teeth and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
Tongue thrusting is the habit of sealing the mouth for swallowing by thrusting the tip of the tongue forward against the lips. Previous thumb sucking malformed the mouth, not allowing adequate room for the tongue. Tongue thrusting is the child’s only way of being able to swallow. Just like thumb sucking, tongue thrusting exerts pressure against the front teeth, pushing them out of alignment, causing them to protrude, creating an overbite, and possibly interfering with proper speech development.
Tips to help your child stop thumb sucking:
1. The child must decide to stop on their own. To help the child, parents can offer encouragement and positive reinforcement. Thumb sucking is a security mechanism, and negative reinforcement (scolding, nagging or punishment) is ineffective. Give child praise and rewards.
2. For children who want to stop, cover the finger or thumb with a band-aid as a reminder.
3. Take the finger out of their mouth once they fall asleep.
4. For older children, you can have your dentist place a dental appliance. These dental appliances are cemented to the upper teeth and sit on the roof of the mouth making the thumb sucking habit more difficult and therefore less pleasurable.
Early Tooth Loss
Premature loss of a child’s primary (baby) teeth typically occurs due to tooth decay, injury, or lack of jaw space. If teeth are lost before the permanent (adult) tooth tries to emerge into its space, there may not be enough room. The new tooth may emerge tilted or blocked out all together. Crooked or misaligned teeth can cause a range of problems from interfering with proper chewing to causing temporomandibular joint problems.
If your child loses a tooth prematurely, your dentist may recommend a space maintainer. A space maintainer is a plastic or metal device that holds open the space left by the missing tooth. Your dentist will remove the device once the permanent teeth begin to erupt.
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