Your pediatric dentist in Calgary is a specialist who has received training in managing dental issues in children. After conducting a proper examination of the child’s teeth, the kids’ dentist in Calgary will make recommendations regarding the care you must take. For instance, the kind of treatment needed, any special needs, and the results of not following the basics of oral hygiene. Accredited dental care authorities like the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) advise parents to take their kids for a checkup before their first birthday. Schedule your appointment preferably when the child cuts his first tooth.
You May Want to Schedule an Appointment with an Expert Dentist Early On
Your child is vulnerable to dental caries and tooth decay from the time his first teeth start to appear. As your pediatric dentist in Calgary will inform you, parents and primary caregivers unknowingly transfer bacteria through saliva to young kids. Sharing toys and belongings with other children also results in the transmitting of cavity-causing germs. In today’s times, drinking milk, formula, and fruit juices out of bottles particularly raises kids’ chances of getting caries. That’s because the sugar content in the beverages converts into acid, which in turn, affects the integrity of the enamel in baby teeth.
Begin Adopting Proper Dental Hygiene in the First Few Months
On the first visit to the pediatric dentist in Calgary, you’ll receive detailed instructions on how to protect your child from tooth decay. By adopting a few good practices from the first few months, you can instill healthy habits. For instance:
- Restrict the number of sugary drinks and snacks your child has in a day.
- Using a clean washcloth or gauze pad, clean the baby’s gums after every feeding session.
- As soon as your baby cuts his first tooth, begin brushing using a soft-bristled brush without adding toothpaste. Continue to massage the gums as before.
- Your pediatric dentist in Calgary will advise you on the right time to start using toothpaste. Choose a fluoride-free brand formulated especially for kids. That’s because young children who are still learning to brush tend to swallow the toothpaste. You can begin using fluoridated toothpaste only when your child is able to spit it out without ingesting. That’s typically at 5 years of age.
- Once all the teeth have appeared, teach your child to floss.
- Make sure the drinking water in your home has adequate fluoride that helps fortify teeth and fight against cavities. The expert at your local children’s dentistry in Calgary can advise about the fluoride content in the tap water supplied to your home. If needed, she may prescribe oral supplements of the mineral when the infant is 6 months old.
- Restrict the use of the bottle to milk and formula only. Give your child electrolyte-containing solutions by the bottle only if he has stomach problems like diarrhea. Never allow the baby to fall asleep with the bottle. If absolutely necessary, let the baby have the bottle but with water.
- If you must give your baby fruit juices, dilute them with equal proportions of water and preferably, teach him to use a sippy cup. Soft drinks are a definite no-no since they don’t have any nutritional value.
- Make sure that the pacifiers or soothers you give your baby do not have a sweet coating on them.
- Your kids’ dentist in Calgary may suggest that you go for dental sealants to create a protective covering on the teeth.
Why Dental Hygiene at a Young Age is Important
Parents must understand the importance of signing up for expert children’s dentistry in Calgary at a young age. Take your kids for regular checkups and prevent cavities. Many parents are under the impression that since kids are going to lose their baby teeth, getting caries is not a worrying issue. However, you must know that if the child develops tooth decay, the bacteria will likely spread to his adult teeth when they break. If your child has pain frequently in his mouth, he may not chew his food properly and get into the lifelong habit of not using his mouth in the right way. Not only will the pain affect how he smiles, but it may also impair clear speech. As the child’s mouth grows with age, tooth decay may affect how his facial bones develop leading to problems that need full mouth rejuvenation down the line.
Thankfully, all the possible downsides of caries at a young age are entirely preventable. At every appointment, your pediatric dentist in Calgary will make sure their teeth are healthy. Here are some of the tasks she’ll perform:
- Checking the entire oral cavity for any early signs of tooth decay
- Removing dental plaque with a thorough cleaning
- Talking to the child about the importance of dental hygiene
- Applying sealant, varnish, or fluoride gel to protect the teeth
So, you see, the simplest way to keep your kids’ teeth healthy and prevent long-term problems is to sign up with a facility that specializes in children’s dentistry in Calgary.
Supervise Your Child’s Dental Hygiene
Small children take time and practice to learn how to brush and floss properly. For this reason, parents must brush their teeth. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle using the recommended amount of toothpaste. As your kids’ dentist in Calgary will explain:
- Use a rice grain-sized amount of toothpaste for kids up to 3 years of age.
- Use a pea-sized spot of fluoride toothpaste for kids aged between 3 and 6 years, but only if they can spit it out. Do keep in mind that swallowing high amounts of fluoride can cause white stains or flecks on the teeth.
- Continue to brush your child’s teeth until he is 7 or 8 years old. You can start the process and allow them to finish. Giving demonstrations by brushing with them also helps.
- While it is not possible to supervise kids’ morning dental hygiene every day, you might want to check in on them once in a while. Like your oral hygienist at the children’s dentistry in Calgary will warn, kids tend to rush through the process and may not do a proper job.
Choosing the Right Diet at a Young Age Helps Maintain Healthy Teeth
Teaching children how to eat healthy can help prevent a lifetime of dental and added health issues. Both starchy and sweet foods can build up on your teeth and convert into acid. Like your pediatric dentist in Calgary will warn, over time, the acid attacks the enamel and starts to create cavities. Here are some of the important dietary habits to ingrain in your kids:
- Keep an eye on the number of times your kids eat in addition to what they’re eating. Frequent meals don’t give the teeth enough time to recover and fight back cavity-causing acids.
- Allow candy, cookies, sweet juices, cakes, and other sugary foods in small quantities and only on special occasions as a treat.
- Sodas are extremely harmful for your child.
- In place of juices, which are typically concentrates, suggest eating the entire fruit.
- Make sure your child does not eat anything after brushing at night. Any food particles stuck between the teeth can decay overnight. That’s because the flow of saliva in the mouth is low when sleeping. Without the protective coating of saliva, your teeth are particularly vulnerable to acid formation.
If Cavities Do Happen, Take Steps Right Away
In case your child develops tooth decay, your kids’ dentist in Calgary will likely start a fluoride treatment program to fortify the enamel and prevent the cavities from spreading. While mouthwashes and gels are typically effective to reverse the problem, you could also give your child mineral supplements prescribed by the doctor. Make sure to keep up with dental appointments regularly. In addition, the pediatric dentist in Calgary may make recommendations like:
- Dental fillings if the cavities are small
- Dental crowns if the damage covers a larger section of the tooth to prevent further decay and effects on neighboring teeth
- Extracting the tooth in case of severe damage to prevent the abnormal development of permanent teeth (Your dentist will likely insert a filling in the missing space so that your child’s jaw develops normally.)
Kids are Prone to Other Dental Issues Also
While cavities in children are the most common dental issues, you also need to watch for other problems. Without proper treatment, you risk the child’s permanent teeth growing out of alignment. He may also find it difficult to speak and chew properly leading to a loss of self-esteem and long-term health issues.
Lip Sucking or Thumb Sucking
Infants normally suck on their thumbs, fingers, toes, lips, pacifiers, or any other toys. Sucking gives babies a sense of security, soothes, and helps them fall asleep. But, if the habit continues after 5 years of age, the front teeth can grow out of alignment as they emerge. As a result, kids develop an overbite that will need to be corrected. To prevent the overbite, your pediatric dentist in Calgary will help you with suggestions to stop the child from thumb or lip sucking. While positive reinforcement always works, you may need extreme solutions like dental appliances. These appliances are attached temporarily to the roof of the mouth, so kids find it difficult to suck their thumbs.
Babies eat by using a sucking reflex that works by pressing the tongue to the roof of the mouth. Some babies develop an unusual reflex of pushing the tongue outward and pressing against the lips. Not only does the baby risk developing an overbite, but he may not be able to speak normally. Your children’s dentistry at Calgary will likely have a treatment program that includes the expertise of the dentist and a speech therapist. They will help your child develop the right chewing motions and speak normally.
Misalignment of the Teeth
Misaligned teeth is one of the most common dental issues that kids deal with. Aside from childhood habits, genetic makeup and injuries can also result in crowding in the oral cavity. Many children have underdeveloped jaws with inadequate room for the emerging permanent teeth. As the child’s jaw grows, your pediatric dentist in Calgary may suggest that you opt for braces to help nudge the teeth into their proper places.
Overbite and Underbite
An overbite is a condition where the upper jaw overlaps over the lower jaw giving the teeth a protruding appearance. On the other hand, the underbite is the reverse and occurs when the lower jaw extends forward and outward over the upper jaw. Both conditions can be corrected with the right treatment options available at the children’s dentistry at Calgary.
Correcting Dental Misalignment Takes Time, But Can be Done
Getting braces is possibly the most common method for aligning teeth, and both kids and adults can opt for them. Typically, your pediatric dentist in Calgary will attach metal braces to the teeth that are held in place with flexible wires, bands, and brackets. Modern-day braces are highly advanced and have less metal. You can also choose from ceramic and invisible braces. This option for dental misalignment is highly effective and typically, kids wear the appliances for around 2 years. You’ll need to help your child maintain hygiene and follow a strict regimen directed by the kids’ dentist in Calgary. Regular appointments are also essential to monitor the progress of the treatment and make adjustments as needed.
Depending on the extent of the misalignment, your child may need additional tools to help repair the structure of their jaws. These appliances may be attached to the upper or lower jaw. For instance:
- Headgears are devices that fit over the head and neck and work to extend the upper jaw or push it backward.
- Upper jaw expanders fit inside the mouth across the upper palate and are useful for correcting an underbite.
Since your child’s dental structure is still developing, it is advisable to take the necessary steps to help with any misalignment at an early age. Typically, braces are fitted between the ages of 9 and 14.
Perfect teeth can affect your child’s future, his confidence levels, appearance, and ability to speak and eat normally. Rely on the expertise of an expert kids’ dentist in Calgary to take care of his dental health for a lifetime of overall wellness.
Are you looking for a good children’s dentistry in Calgary? Contact Dr. Jennifer Silver at Southcentre Dental for advice on how to care for young teeth. Use this form to add your queries and we’ll respond with answers. You can also call this number: (403) 278-1415 and talk to a live representative who will provide you with all the information you need.
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Dr. Jennifer Silver is a highly accomplished dental surgeon with a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Melbourne, Australia. Her educational accomplishments include deans honours list, an oral surgery award and best research project. Prior to this degree, she graduated with honors from Dalhousie University’s Dental Hygiene Program and worked in this field for 10 years.
The areas of dentistry that holds special interest for Dr. Silver include oral medicine and whole-body dentistry. She currently devotes time and resources toward helping patients with TMJ pain and sleep apnea, while continuing to provide general dentistry as well. Future interests include devoting time to additional oral surgery training. Jen strives to treat her patients as if they were family. She strongly believes in a multi-disciplinary approach for patient care. She is part of a large network of specialists that she trusts and collaborates with when helping patients.