This article is loaded with great info! As a parent, you know how important your child's dental health is to their overall wellbeing and the prevention of dental decay. But like many parents, you may be filled with mixed emotion and questions. Set your mind at ease with answers to common questions about cavities, fillings, and tooth restoration for children’s teeth.
If your child is experiencing a dental emergency or a trauma to the mouth, please read our post about tips for handling a child’s dental emergency. Click here.
ARE CAVITIES IN BABY TEETH ACTUALLY A BIG DEAL? As a parent, you go to great measures to ensure that your child is well taken care of. Every day you see to it that your son/daughter's teeth are brushed and flossed. However, after a recent trip to the dentist, a cavity is found on their baby tooth. But are cavities in baby teeth ACTUALLY a big deal?
BABY TEETH EVENTUALLY FALL OUT, RIGHT? You may be considering whether or not to have the cavity filled, or just to let it ride out until ready to fall out. It is a valid concern that many parents have.
IS IT TRUE THAT TOOTH DECAY IS RESULT OF A DISEASE? Dental Caries is the most prevalent disease in both adults and children, even though it is somewhat preventable. Caries is caused by germs, which are easy to spread, especially through anything that involves exchange of saliva. The acid produced by these bacteria leads to the breakdown of your teeth. Even a baby tooth, if left untreated, can damage an adult tooth before it has the chance to emerge.
SEALANTS & FILLINGS
HOW CAN I PROACTIVELY PROTECT AGAINST CAVITIES?
We often recommend sealants. Take a moment to touch your tongue to the surface of your molars. Feel the grooves? While brushing is a great way to keep molars clean, molar grooves are still susceptible to bacteria from food particles that accumulate in those naturally deep indentations. A sealant’s protective layer fills the deep indentations and prevents food from getting stuck in the tight grooves of your child’s molar. With a sealant, the molar’s rugged surface would be protected with a smooth coating. They are an easy solution for proactively preventing cavities. Learn more about sealants by clicking here.
IF THERE IS A CAVITY, WILL MY CHILD NEED A FILLING? There are a few considerations. Is your child complaining of toothaches, headaches, or having difficulty chewing
food on one side? If so, make an appointment with your pediatric dentist right away. Our dentists at Sunshine Children's Dentistry will be able to give further instruction on treatment and whether a filling is necessary. Even minor tooth decay should be closely monitored. Unless the baby tooth is on the verge of naturally falling out, our dentists will offer you a customized care plan. It is important to care for baby teeth the same way you would with permanent adult teeth.
WHAT PROCEDURE OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE FOR CAVITY REMEDIES? In addition to the standard numbing and drill option, we offer LASER DENTISTRY! Sunshine Children’s Dentistry actually uses two types of CO2 lasers: the Solea Dental Laser and the LightScalpel Laser. Laser dentistry is great for kids! It is faster, healthier, and most procedures are done without a shot, the drill or pain. Multiple procedures in various quadrants of the mouth can be done in one appointment, meaning less time at the dentist. Additionally, because lasers create virtually no saliva splatters, it is a safer tool for avoiding the spread of germs.
WHAT KIND OF SERVICES CAN BE OFFERED? Our dentists will provide guidance on the type of recommended procedure. We may even recommend use of the Solea Laser. Solea Laser is cleared to cut enamel (teeth), soft tissue (gum), and bone. Some procedure examples include: cavities, gingivectomies, frenectomies, aphthous ulcers, fibroma removals, crown lengthenings, surgeries, and more. Tongue-tie and lip-tie can be remedied with the use of lasers. Solea has safely been used on young patients of all ages, including infants. It has been effective at helping infants improve their latch for easier feeding, too. Click to learn more about laser dentistry.
HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR MY CHILD'S RESTORATIVE DENTAL APPOINTMENT? The best way to prepare your child for their appointment with us is to give as little information as possible. This may sound strange, but our office is designed with your child's comfort in mind. Our entire staff is here because we love children, and everything we do is for their benefit; your child will sense this.
WHAT IF MY CHILD GETS UPSET? It is not unusual for a young child to cry. We ask that you not be upset if this happens. Crying is a child's normal reaction to the fear of the unknown. We understand your child's fears, and our well-trained staff will work with you to modify or erase them. Remember that our goals are the same as yours - we want your child to feel comfortable and safe at our office, and we will take our time and work at her or his pace to accomplish that goal.
WHAT SHOULD I SAY TO MY CHILD? Tell your child that he/she will have FUN at a place where other little children love to get their smile cleaned! It is often best not to mention the appointment until the day you are scheduled. A parent's reaction to dental care is crucial in determining how the child will approach his or her visit to the dentist. Do not offer more information than your child asks for; keep it simple. Do not offer threats or bribes of any kind for good behavior. A bribe tends to indicate something bad may happen. Please do not make any promises about what the dental staff will or won't do; stress that any questions will be answered before any treatment begins. Don't forget to tell them that they are seeing a "children's" dentist.
MAINTAINING A HEALTHY SMILE
AT HOME, HOW SHOULD I CARE FOR MY CHILD'S MOUTH? Even infants are at risk for tooth decay from the sugars in milk, juice, and food. At least twice a day, you can wipe down your baby's gums with a clean, damp washcloth to remove bacteria buildup. When baby's teeth come in, a rice-sized drop of fluoride toothpaste on a soft bristled toothbrush will be appropriate. For older children, be sure to brush twice daily and floss once daily. Make it fun! Children will develop a love for their oral health if approached in a positive way, such as humming a song or making it a game.
WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW? Maintaining good oral health habits goes a long way. Make sure that daily brushing and flossing are a part of your family's routine. Rinse your mouth with water after eating. Stay up to date with your dental appointments by scheduling them semiannually. And feel free to ask questions at your dental appointments! We are happy to answer any concerns you may have. We serve children of all ages, including newborns.
Sunshine Children's Dentistry LOVES our patients! Your family is a blessing to everyone at our office. If you ever need to reach us, our number is 910.762.7736. We hope to be an ongoing resource to your family. Visit our full website for answers to many questions: SunshineChildSmile.com
* NOTE: Results may vary. While sealants are frequently recommended for patients in order to proactively mitigate common risk of tooth decay in molars, no procedure is guaranteed to be 100% preventative. The unique eating and dental care habits of each patient, as well as that patient’s genetics and susceptibility to dental problems, contribute to the unique dental health of each individual. Talk to our dentists to learn more about each of our services and get recommendations for your child.
Learn more at SunshineChildSmile.com.
Our Sunshine Team is taking every safety precaution to ensure that our office remains a place "where children have FUN & SMILE." We are following every safety guideline issued by the CDC, FDA, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, NC Department of Health & Human Services, and the NC Board of Dental Examiners. Staff and patients have been wearing masks and PPE, conducting health screening questionnaires upon arrival, temperature checks at the door, as well as ongoing sanitation and infection control to maintain a safe environment. We want only the best for our patient families and staff members.
🎨 COLOR WITH US & SPREAD THE JOY OF ART! 🎨
Help us fill our office and our Facebook Page with beautiful art! Encourage your little artists to participate in our "Everyone Smiles in the Same Language" coloring contest and write why they want to share smiles, too. We can make the world bright one SMILE at a time. Our hope at Sunshine Children’s Dentistry is to spread FUN & SMILES. There are 2 ways to submit your child’s art (you are welcome to do both). You may share a photo to our Facebook page with the hashtag #EveryoneSmilesInTheSameLanguage AND/OR mail it to our office: 1911 S. 17th Street #140, Wilmington, NC 28401. (Download the printable PDF here.)
To ensure all your children’s teeth are ready to SMILE all year long, be sure to visit Sunshine Children’s Dentistry. The American Dental Association recommends oral checkups twice annually for children (and adults, too). QUESTIONS? We are a resource to you and are happy to answer any questions you may have about your child’s changing smile. We believe that oral health should be FUN and something to SMILE about! f you ever need to reach us, our number is 910.762.7736.
For more helpful resources and fun activities, be sure to read our other Blog Articles.