Common Pediatric Dental Questions
How do I prevent cavities?
Good Oral Hygiene removes bacteria and sugars that combine to create cavities. For infants, use a wet gauze or clean washcloth to wipe their gums. Once your child's teeth erupt, brush them in the morning and at night, especially nighttime. A small rice grain size or smear of fluoride toothpaste can be used to help lower the risk of cavities. When teaching your child to brush, place the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle; start along the gumline with a soft bristle brush in a gentle side-to-side or circular motion. Flossing should begin when any two teeth touch. You should brush and floss your child's teeth until he or she can do it alone in a proper manner.
Healthy Eating Habits lead to healthy teeth. Like the rest of the body, the teeth, bones, gums, and the soft tissues of the mouth need a well-balanced diet. Children should avoid a variety of foods from the major food groups and avoid snacks and drinks containing sugar. Sticky, sugary snacks will remain in the grooves of molar teeth and increase the risk of cavities. Sugary beverages given throughout the day will cause smooth surface chalky spots and cavities.
Visits Every 6 Months To The Dentist, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, will start your child on a lifetime of good dental health. Avoid putting your child to bed with a bottle filled with anything other than water. This will help prevent a serious form of decay among young children, commonly referred to as early childhood caries (ECC).
Why are primary (baby) teeth so important?
It is very important to maintain the health of the primary teeth. Neglected cavities can and frequently do lead to problems which affect developing permanent teeth.
Primary teeth are important for 3 main reasons:
1. Allowing chewing and eating for proper nutrition, growth, and development.
2. Providing space for the permanent teeth and guiding them into the correct positions.
3. Permitting normal development of the jaw bones and muscles.
While the front four teeth (incisors) may last until approximately 6-8 years of age, the back teeth aren't replaced until usually 10-13 years of age. The pace and order of the eruption of your child's teeth may vary.
What is a pediatric dentist?
A pediatric dentist has an extra 2-3 years of specialized training after dental school and is dedicated to the oral health of children from infancy through the teenage years and patients with special healthcare needs.
The very young, pre-teens, teenagers, and children with special needs require different approaches in dealing with their behavior, guiding their dental growth and development, and helping them avoid future dental problems.
A pediatric dentist is well-equipped to meet these needs by offering various treatment options, such as nitrous oxide, conscious sedation, and general anesthesia.
What is the "Age 1" visit? Establishing a "Dental Home."
Our office, as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Dental Association (ADA), and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) all recommend establishing a "Dental Home" for your child by one year of age.
Children who have a "dental home" are more likely to receive appropriate preventive and routine oral health care.
The "dental home" is intended to provide a place (other than the emergency room) for patients with urgent dental needs.
In addition, parents are educated on how to maintain their child's oral health at an early age, in order to prevent dental problems in the future.
What are sealants?
Sealants are clear or shaded plastic materials placed in the pits and grooves of children’s teeth to prevent decay.
The pediatric dentist applies this invisible protector by drying and conditioning the teeth, painting on the sealant, and then allowing it to harden.
The AAPD recommends sealants as an effective method for cavity prevention, especially for those children with a history of tooth decay.
In addition, sealants are one of the most cost-effective means of lowering the risk of getting cavities – they cost less than half of what one filling costs!
What should I do if my child has a dental emergency?
Call our office at 919-568-0103 so we can guide and treat your child as needed.
Here are a few of the most common pediatric dental accidents and the steps you should take when it happens to your child:
1) Knocked Out Permanent (Adult) Tooth
Find the tooth and hold it by the crown (not root).
Clean gently under running water (do not scrub).
Place back in the socket and have child bite on a wet cloth to keep it in place OR place in milk.
Call us immediately at 919-568-0103.
As a rule, baby teeth are not replaced in the socket. Even so, prompt care by the dentist is recommended.
2) Broken Tooth
Rinse dirt and debris from the injured area with warm water.
Place a cold compress over the injured area.
Locate and save any broken pieces you can find.
Call the office at 919-568-0103.
Clean the area around the sore tooth and rinse with warm saltwater.
This will help dislodge any trapped food or debris.
Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain relief. Do not place aspirin on the gum or on the aching tooth.
If there is swelling, place a cold compress.
Call the office at 919-568-0103.
What are sedation and general anethesia?
In order to help manage children’s anxiety during dental treatment, pediatric dentists offer various behavior management options.
Sedations are offered in-office and can be categorized as minimal, moderate (conscious) sedation, and deep (iv) sedation.
1) Minimal Sedation
Nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas”, is a very safe and effective method to use in children and adolescents to reduce anxiety. Nitrous oxide and oxygen are blended together and inhaled through a nosepiece by your child, while he/she remains fully conscious. It is a mild gas that is easily taken in through normal breathing and quickly eliminated from the body.
2) Moderate Sedation
For children who are not able to complete treatment with nitrous oxide alone, we offer moderate sedation through oral conscious sedation. As a pediatric dentist, Dr. Jina has a sedation permit, which allows her to prescribe the sedation medication best suited for your child and safely monitor him/her with the proper equipment. Under conscious sedation, your child may be more drowsy and relaxed, but he/she is still awake during the procedure.
3) Deep Sedation
IV sedation is not offered in our practice. If your child is not able to complete treatment with oral conscious sedation, our next step is to take him/her to the hospital to place under general anesthesia.
4) General Anesthesia
General anesthesia is recommended for apprehensive children with significant dental needs, very young children, and patients with special needs who cannot complete treatment in the office with minimal or moderate sedation. Under general anesthesia, your child is completely asleep and monitored by an anesthesiologist. If your child has had his/her tonsils removed, ear tubes placed, or hernia repaired, he/she has likely been placed under general anesthesia. Currently, Dr. Jina has hospital privileges at UNC Ambulatory Surgery Center and well as Cone Health Surgery Center in Mebane, therefore treatment under general anesthesia will be completed at either of these facilities. In the future, we hope to offer treatment under general anesthesia in our Mebane office.