Can Children and Adolescents Get Gum Disease?

kid’s dental Fort WorthGum disease often occurs in people of all ages for the same reasons … negligent daily dental hygiene, irregular or missed dental appointments, poor diet (too much sugar), and/or illness and associated medications. The optimum care for your kid’s dental health will be rewarded in many ways for both you and your child.

Daily hygiene – Children are not born with the innate ability to care for their own teeth. As an infant a responsible adult must take charge of cleaning their child’s teeth until they are old and responsible enough to do on their own. This means actively brushing and flossing for them until they can handle doing themselves; teaching them how to perform these tasks on their own; monitoring them to make sure they are doing them correctly and daily; providing nutritious, healthy snacks and meals; and making sure the children get to the dentist every six months for a thorough cleaning and dental exam.

Diet – Many people do not make the connection between their kid’s dental health and the foods they eat. Even many snacks believed to be healthy like some yogurts and many sport’s drinks are packed with sugar. Read packaging labels (and teach your children to do so as well), and avoid those products with excessive sugar. Encourage your child to drink water rather than trendy flavored drinks.

Dentist – A pediatric dentist is the ideal choice to care for the dental health of your child. They are skilled and experienced in caring for children of all ages, and are especially helpful when dealing with a child with special needs.

Dental visits – Young children should experience their first visit to the pediatric dentist around the age of twelve months. Caring for baby teeth is important as these teeth are paving the way for the teeth your child will need for their lifetime.

Now that you are doing all the right things to enhance your child’s dental health, educating them what danger signs to watch for to maintain healthy teeth and gums is important … bleeding gums, swollen gum tissue, mouth sores, toothache, discomfort in jaw … these are some of the signs your child may be dealing with the onset of gum disease.

Intervening dental care can halt the progression of gum disease. Healthy teeth and gums will enhance overall health so lifetime care is essential.

To schedule your child’s next exam, contact our friendly team at Fort Worth Children’s Dentistry. Call 817-569-6633 today for more information.

IV Sedation: Will my child feel groggy after treatment?

IV sedation kid’s dentistWhen you have a child requiring dental care, but special circumstances prevent standard delivery of treatment, IV sedation may be the perfect option for you. You know your child better than anyone so a thorough explanation of what is involved with IV sedation will be explained by your kid’s dentist well in advance of the needed procedure so you may make an educated decision of what is best for your child.

With IV sedation, your child is closely monitored from start to finish. Sedatives are delivered with respect to your child’s size and weight allowing them to drift off to sleep comfortably. You may ask why there is need to place your child in this level of sedation for procedures less than surgical. 

With IV sedation, your child is closely monitored from start to finish.

Like many adults, there may be extreme anxiety in the face of dental treatment. The sounds and smells of a dental office can be intimidating for anyone, but if your child is the nervous type, this form of care is in the best interest of your child and allows your kid’s dentist to perform needed treatment efficiently and thoroughly.

Perhaps your child has special needs physically or emotionally. The inability to sit still for an extended period of time makes treatment difficult. With IV sedation, all needed dental care can be delivered in one visit versus having to break procedures up into multiple appointments.

At the conclusion of treatment, your child has no recollection of the dental procedure. If surgery was performed, the normal post-operative care will be explained so your child will deal with that aspect.

However, most procedures such as the hygiene visit, dental x-rays, treating dental decay with composite fillings … all non-surgical care seems like it was completed in a minute to your child. The only side effect is your child will likely feel a little groggy for a few hours following treatment. Having reliable transportation home is recommended.

Rest for the remainder of the day will be recommended for your child … they may be hungry as all food needs to be withheld from about midnight the night before until dental treatment is completed. But it is not uncommon for your child to sleep periodically the rest of treatment day.

To learn more, contact our skilled pediatric dentistry team today.

Pacifiers and Your Child’s Oral Health

pediatric dentistry Fort WorthLong debated in pediatric dentistry and amongst other health and dental professionals, the use of a pacifier can have a profound impact on children’s oral development and health. A pacifier is typically a one-piece device that provides non-nutritive sucking for babies as a means of comfort when not nursing or using a bottle.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that families see a children’s dentist as soon as the baby teeth start coming in, and the first checkup should occur by the child’s first birthday. This helps reduce risk of developmental problems involving the teeth and jaw structure by allowing the children’s dentist to catch early signs of possible trouble. The dentist can also instruct parents on proper oral health habits that are appropriate for the child’s age, as well as provide guidance for possible problem-causing behaviors including pacifier use and thumb sucking.

Parents that choose to offer a pacifier should ensure the pacifier is cleaned every time they offer it to a child. The pacifier should not be dipped or coated in anything other than water. Coating the pacifier in a sweet solution can promote the development of bacteria in the mouth, setting the stage for cavities to develop early and causing damage to baby teeth, which can affect the jawbones and adult teeth depending on the severity of the case.

Pacifier use can often lead to thumb sucking behaviors as the child is weaned from the pacifier. The AAPD recommends consulting a children’s dentist about mouthpiece options if the thumb sucking and/or pacifier use continues to age three. This can create problems for the bones and adult teeth as the child continues growing if not addressed early.

For more information on caring for children’s teeth and oral health throughout children’s developmental stages, contact our caring team at Fort Worth Children’s Dentistry today!

Are Sugar Free Treats Harmful to Children’s Teeth?

kids dental Fort WorthThe use of sugar-free alternatives in place of classic full-sugar treats can provide benefits with regard to reducing sugar intake for children, but should not be considered completely safe to kid’s dental health. When developing sugar-free treats, many of these sweet alternatives are high in citric acid and other acidic substances. Acids wear down tooth enamel and make teeth more vulnerable to dental caries (cavities).  This is especially true of gummy-style treats, which have the added stickiness factor that allows the acidic gummy candy to stick to and between teeth, enhancing the risk.

Pediatric dentists generally support the use of sugar-free chewing gum, often made with Xylitol, as a means of increasing saliva production and aiding the maintenance of oral health. Saliva is essential for weakening acids in the mouth and helping wash away food particles and bacteria. Sugar-free hard candy can be beneficial in moderation to promote saliva production, especially in patients with chronic dry mouth. Likewise, the use of sugar-free sweetener alternatives in beverages can go a long way in reducing unnecessary sugar intake. 

Sugar-free hard candy can be beneficial in moderation to promote saliva production, especially in patients with chronic dry mouth. 

Not all sugar-free treats are created equal, however, and parents must consider the risks and rewards of certain sweetener alternatives over others. Moreover, some products are marketed as sugar-free in that they are made without added sugar, but in fact contain significant quantities of naturally occurring sugars such as those in fruit juice. These sugars are just as damaging to a kid’s dental development and health as table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. Breakfast cereals and syrups are available in full-sugar and sugar-free varieties but many are made with corn syrups and high-carbohydrate ingredients and should be eaten in moderation.

Many do not realize that carbohydrates of all types are sugars and an excessive consumption of white breads, pastas, and similar high-carbohydrate foods can adversely affect dental health even if no table sugar is consumed. The best way to allow children to enjoy these foods is to encourage healthy dental hygiene habits early and often. Teach children to floss and brush after consuming sugars and high-carbohydrate foods and beverages, and when brushing isn’t an option, they can at least rinse the mouth with water to reduce damage.

For more information on managing children’s dental health, contact our skilled pediatric dentistry office at 817-569-6633 today!

Keep the Treats from Playing Tricks on Your Child’s Teeth

 pediatric dentist Fort WorthIt’s fun for children to dress up in costumes to go trick-or-treating for Halloween, but parents should be on guard to make sure that the holiday’s festivities don’t play tricks on their children’s oral health. It’s never too early to start preparing your strategies to limit Halloween overindulgences.

Parents can consult with a pediatric dentist to develop a good game plan that allows a child to enjoy Halloween without overdoing it.

  • Encourage your child to choose the healthier snacks in the bag – Many people hand out treats that aren’t so sugary, like pretzels, popcorn or trail mix. Suggest that your child select these treats first. Even dark chocolate has some health-boosting properties.
  • Reinforce good oral hygiene habits – Make sure your child is brushing and flossing properly, and, if possible, have him or her brush after eating treats–or at least rinse out the mouth afterward. This is particularly important if your child enjoys candies that have sticky substances, like caramel, that can leave residue on the teeth for some time, giving oral bacteria an easy nutrition source.
  • Get rid of any excess candy – if the candy is no longer in your home, it can’t tempt your child. Many hospitals will collect candy, or you could donate it to military members stationed overseas.

Your pediatric dentist may also have suggestions that are specific to your child’s case. For example, if your child wears braces, the dentist can give you a list of off-limits snacks that may show up in Halloween bags.

You may want to consider these tips as you are choosing what types of treats to hand out at your house, too. If you choose to give away snacks that have less of an impact on a child’s oral health, like pretzels, fresh fruit or bottled water, you’ll be giving your neighbors’ children a better choice, too.

Before your little one hits the neighborhood streets to collect candy, be sure to check in with our team at Fort Worth Children’s Dentistry to see if you’re doing everything right to reduce the risk of post-Halloween cavities.

Steps to Prevent Dental Injuries

 childrens emergency dentistMany children tend to be injury-prone, and that certainly holds true when it comes to their dental health, too.

Common problems addressed in pediatric dentistry include injuries due to trauma such as falls, which can knock a tooth loose or cause a broken facial bone.

An increasing number of children also participate in contact sports, which increases their risk of dental injuries, as well.

Parents and their children can take precautions against dental injuries. In fact, you can consult with a children’s emergency dentist to develop a to-do list for dental injury prevention. Some of these steps are quite simple.

Although your child may resist, picking up toys is a great preventive measure against facial trauma. Anything that can reduce the risk of falls, will also reduce the risk of tooth loss or a broken jaw bone that can result from a fall.

Wearing a mouthguard can reduce the likelihood of dental damage from a sports injury. A quality mouthguard will limit the forces that are transferred to the teeth and facial bones, and a custom-designed device is quite comfortable and will not interfere with your child’s athletic performance.

In addition to knowing what steps to take to reduce your child’s chances of a dental injury, it’s important to have the phone number for a good children’s emergency dentist handy anyway just in case a tooth should be knocked loose. Many pediatric dental practices even have dentists who are on call on weekends and evenings to address critical injuries that arise outside of business hours.

Before you get to the dentist to have your child assessed, you can do some triage at home in case of a dislodged tooth. If it’s a primary tooth, there’s no need to attempt to re-insert it, although you still want to get an evaluation by a pediatric dentist to determine if a prematurely lost baby tooth has the potential to cause any other problems down the line.

For a permanent tooth, you can try to gently insert it back into its position. If that doesn’t work, store it in a cup of milk and get to the dentist as soon as possible.

Talk to our dentist about steps that you can take to prevent dental injuries and know how to react when an emergency does occur. Ultimately, this knowledge can help to protect your child’s oral health.

Call 817-569-6633 to schedule an appointment today.

IV Sedation: How closely will my child be monitored?

 IV sedation kids dentistThere are many situations when having your child alert and paying attention to what is going on around them is warranted. However, extensive dental repair is not one of those times. When dental correction is required for your child, a visit with a kid’s dentist specializing in IV sedation may provide the best option for you and your child.

Corrective or extensive dental surgery creates anxiety in patients of all ages. Fear of the unknown … what is going to happen; how long will the procedure take; will it hurt; will I look different after the procedure … all of these things creep into the mind of patients. And when the patient is your child, there is real fear coupled with a million questions. 

Children with severe anxiety, the inability to sit still, or special needs due to a physical or mental condition often benefit with some type of sedation dentistry.

Pediatric dentistry is an important aspect of dental treatment. Dental providers are educated and specialize in the treatment of children. There are many times when dental procedures require more than just doing the work … when children are involved, handling them and knowing/understanding their needs can mean the difference between a successful procedure and an awful experience for patient, parent, and provider.

Children with severe anxiety, the inability to sit still, or special needs due to a physical or mental condition often benefit with some type of sedation dentistry. IV sedation provided by your kid’s dentist may be recommended during their consultation appointment.

On the day of treatment, your child will be given small and controlled doses of anesthetic. Throughout the procedure, your child’s vital signs are continuously monitored. Your child is never left alone, and is monitored by someone trained and experienced in IV sedation.

With IV sedation, the patient is totally unaware of their surroundings. This means there will be no recollection of the procedure including the sounds made, conversation between the dentist and staff, or what transpired during treatment.

This eliminates those fears and anxiety that might be experienced at the sound of drills or if the procedure is taking longer than expected.

At the conclusion of treatment, the patient will be somewhat groggy for the remainder of the day, but will not recall anything about their appointment. Depending on what procedure was completed, medication for discomfort may be dispensed with follow-up visits recommended.

Your skilled kid’s dentist at Fort Worth Children’s Dentistry is a wonderful asset for any child experiencing high anxiety or with special needs.

Root Canal vs. Tooth Extraction

children's root canal Fort WorthA tooth ache is a signal that there is something wrong. Decay, gum disease, or some type of infection could be the problem. A visit to the dentist is warranted … the diagnosis could mean the difference between treatment and tooth loss. When it is your child, concern goes into overdrive. A children’s root canal may be the best choice.

When this diagnosis is given, it is advisable to receive treatment by someone who specializes in treating children … a pediatric dentist. This dental professional has studied the impact treatment has on a child and will be your best option for an excellent outcome.

Unlike an adult, there are more factors to consider when faced with a children’s root canal. How old is the child, which tooth is involved, how extensive is the problem. When an adult is faced with needed endodontic therapy, it is either a root canal or tooth extraction.

The situation with a child is very different. Is the tooth a primary tooth that is close to being lost naturally? If a “baby” tooth is involved, it is important to know the facts. A primary tooth is critical to forming correct speech patterns, chewing correctly, and maintaining space for the permanent tooth to erupt.

Losing the tooth too soon can interrupt the natural growing process … remaining teeth can drift toward the open space creating problems when the permanent tooth is ready to come in.

If the primary tooth is loose, extraction would likely be recommended. There is no reason to try to salvage a tooth that will be naturally lost very soon anyway.

When a child is experiencing a problem with a permanent tooth, your pediatric dentist will x-ray the tooth to determine the extent of decay or infection. When root canal therapy is indicated, the dentist will take the time to explain to parent and patient what is involved.

A root canal has earned a much undeserved reputation as a long, painful experience; however, with the advances made in corrective dentistry, the process is usually completed quickly and without any discomfort.

Taking your child for their first dental appointment around the age of one will help familiarize your child with the dental experience. This can be important when dental treatment is needed determining whether your child will be uneasy or be able to handle this appointment with ease.

Call 817-569-6633 to speak with our experienced pediatric dentistry team today.

Healthy Dental Habits your Child Should Follow

childrens dentist Tarrant countyGood oral health is just as important for children as it is for their parents. Therefore, you should teach your child good dental habits at an early age.

Cavity prevention is particularly important for children, as tooth decay is one of the most prevalent childhood diseases. Just as is the case with adults, thorough brushing and flossing is the cornerstone of reducing the risk of tooth decay.

Children as young as three years old may be capable of brushing their own teeth with some assistance, such as the parent putting the toothpaste on the brush. Of course, parents may still need to check the child’s mouth afterward to make sure that no spots were missed. The parent may need to continue to do some brushing until the child demonstrates the ability to brush independently.

In very young children, flossing may be unnecessary, but parents should have a children’s dentist demonstrate proper flossing technique whenever the child has two teeth that touch each other.

It’s also essential for your child to establish a good relationship with a dentist. A specialist in pediatric dentistry is well-attuned to the dental problems often faced by children. Furthermore, when your child visits the dentist every six months, it helps to reinforce a positive working relationship.

Parents should take their children to see a children’s dentist no later than their first birthday. This allows the dentist to evaluate the child early and monitor the child for any potentially problematic issues.

Maintaining a healthy diet and limiting sweet treats is also a good dental habit for your child, and it promotes overall health as well.

Keep in mind that what’s good for your child is good for you, too. When you keep good oral hygiene habits, you also serve as a good role model for your child.

If you have any questions about your child’s oral hygiene routine and healthy dental habits, ask your pediatric dentist for advice and suggestions. Remember when your child establishes a solid oral hygiene routine and oral care at Fort Worth Children’s Dentistry at a young age, the benefits will continue for years to come.

What should I do if my child chips a tooth?

children's emergency dentistChildren can encounter a number of dental emergencies that have potential long-term implications if they are not treated properly. One of the most common reasons that parents bring their sons or daughters to see a children’s emergency dentist is for a chipped tooth.

If your child does chip a tooth, it’s important to have him examined by a children’s emergency dentist as soon as possible, even if the damage appears to be minor. You still want to be sure that the tooth hasn’t suffered any significant harm that would require an intervention.  

If your child does chip a tooth, it’s important to have him examined by a children’s emergency dentist as soon as possible, even if the damage appears to be minor. 

Even a small chip or crack could have lasting consequences for your child’s oral health. There could be an opening that’s invisible to the naked eye but still allows oral bacteria to enter the tooth’s sensitive inner core and cause an infection.

There are some steps that parents should take at home before getting to the dentist, too. First, rinse out your child’s mouth. If any swelling is present, you can reduce it with an ice bag or cold compress. If possible, preserve the tooth fragment and bring it with you to the dental appointment in case it can be re-attached.

The dentist will thoroughly examine your child and either re-attach the tooth fragment, if it is available and that treatment is feasible, or re-contour the tooth to remove any jagged edges or perhaps use a bonding material to fill in the empty space in cases of relatively large chips.

The dentist will also give you instructions for caring for the tooth at home after it is treated. Your child may need to make adjustments to his or her daily routine for just a few days after the tooth is repaired, depending on the intervention used.

The key to dealing with any kind of dental emergency, including a chipped tooth, is to have a plan in advance so that you can know what to do if and when the situation arises. Call 817-569-6633 to consult with our pediatric dentist if you should ever have an emergency with your child.