As a parent, it’s safe to say that you only want the best for your children. This is especially true when it comes to healthcare, more specifically, dental health. According to an AACD survey, virtually all adults (99.7%) surveyed believe a healthy smile is socially important, but it’s clearly medically important as well, which many children don’t quite realize. By educating yourself as a parent about all aspects of pediatric dentistry, you can pave the way and help your child develop a healthy oral hygiene regimen. Here are just a few of the most common pediatric dentistry procedures all parents should be aware of.
Basic Teeth Cleaning
Most experts say that your child should see a pediatric dentist when they are around one year old. A typical cleaning allows you to discuss your child’s medical history and any concerns you may have about your child’s teeth to the dentist. The dentist will then examine your child’s mouth and teeth and perform a full cleaning. During this cleaning, your child’s dentist will begin removing plaque, tartar, and applying fluoride for full enamel protection. For optimal oral health, experts recommend bringing your child to a pediatric dentist for a cleaning every six months. Due to the simplicity of this procedure, it’s generally affordable. According to a 2017 Kaufman Hall survey, one-quarter of U.S. health systems say they hope to decrease costs by 1% to 5% over the next five years. Still, don’t hesitate to ask about payment plans and other options regarding financial assistance. Making sure your child receives timely cleanings is one of the best steps you can take to ensure optimal oral health.
It may sound surprising, but the fact remains that more than 40% of children have dental cavities by the time they reach kindergarten. If your child sees a pediatric dentist every six months, all cavities should be spotted early on and prevented, but if they persist, your child may need to undergo some form of cavity treatment to prevent the possibility of permanent nerve damage. For baby teeth, the most common cavity treatment involves fillings.
“Though baby teeth aren’t permanent, they are the only teeth your child will have for several years, until the adult teeth come in. To preserve your child’s oral health, your dentist will opt to drill out the cavities in baby teeth and fill or crown them accordingly. The primary teeth help the adult teeth to come in properly, so losing primary teeth before they’re ready to come out isn’t good for your child’s permanent teeth,” writes 123Dentist.
Though not quite as common, it’s not unusual for a child to need a tooth extraction in the event that it’s decayed too much. This is usually the case if the tooth is causing other oral health issues or causing severe pain for your child. Fortunately, there are many options that can help make the experience less unpleasant for young children. Laughing gas, for example, can help put both children and adults at ease during tooth extraction procedures. A report done by Grand View Research predicts that cost reduction, yield improvement and performance optimization are projected to drive the global specialty gas market over a six-year time span (2014-2020). While laughing gas, technically referred to as nitrous oxide, isn’t necessarily categorized as a specialty gas, it has put countless patients — especially children — at ease during various dental procedures. Not only can laughing gas reduce children’s anxiety, but it can distract them from the pain associated with the Novocaine shot and the extraction itself. Keep in mind that laughing gas isn’t right for all children, and not all dentists offer it.
Now that you’re aware of some basic pediatric dental procedures, you can make the most informed decision for your child’s oral healthcare needs.