The enamel on a child’s tooth is actually quite a bit thinner compared to an adult’s, meaning they are particularly susceptible to developing cavities. Thankfully, by practicing consistent oral hygiene at home and getting regular checkups at Wash Park Pediatric Dentistry, children of all ages can easily avoid tooth decay and gum disease as the years go by. Here, Dr. Patrick and our team will throw in a little fun to make your child’s routine appointments anything but routine, ensuring they’ll ask, “When can I go back to the dentist?” when it’s over. To schedule their next visit for preventive dentistry in Denver, CO, contact us today.
Before your child is old enough for complete regular checkups and cleanings (typically around age three), we recommend bringing them in for an Oral Health Risk Assessment. A lot of times, this appointment is as much about educating parents as it is for assessing the toddlers health. For this, Dr. Patrick will perform a quick and gentle exam that looks for tooth decay that is both present and might develop in the future. This way, he can intervene before a small problem becomes worse and discuss things you can do at home to prevent future headaches. He'll also educate parents on brushing technique, diet, home care, as well as answer any questions based on your child's situation.
Teething is an exciting yet stressful time for parents and children, and fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to make the experience a little easier on your entire household. If your child is feeling pain in their gums, gently rub them with a clean finger. There are also a number of teething toys your child can chew on to provide some relief. One thing to avoid, however, is teething treats, such as crackers, as these can expose your child’s mouth to excess sugar.
Many young children suck on their thumb or a pacifier to soothe themselves, and while these habits are harmless initially if they continue once a child’s teeth start coming in, they can severely inhibit their dental and oral development. Getting a child to stop can be tricky, but our team is more than happy to help by offering you strategies that have already worked for countless other children in our dental office.
Connected to each lip as well as the tongue is a tiny band of tissue called a frenulum. For some children, this tissue can be so short or thick that it inhibits normal oral function, making things like eating, speaking, attaching to their mother while nursing, and even breathing uncomfortable or difficult. Fortunately, Dr. Patrick can easily fix this kind of problem in a single appointment using a gentle procedure that only takes a few minutes and doesn’t require the use of a scalpel or sutures. Treatment is done either through surgical scissors or via a dental laser. A dental laser is particularly helpful when patients are older and need treatment to fix a speech or language issue.
When you bring your child in for their checkup and cleaning, Dr. Patrick won’t just examine their teeth, but their gums and jawbone as well to make sure every part of their mouth is healthy and free of potential problems. This comprehensive approach ensures that any decay or damage doesn’t have a chance to sneak up on your child and cause a toothache. Plus, a meticulous cleaning will remove all the plaque and tartar that they’ve missed while brushing, which will stop cavities and gum disease before they ever develop.
Due to their location and deeply grooved surfaces, a child’s adult back teeth tend to be the first place they get a cavity, but thankfully, we offer an easy way to give them extra protection. In just a few minutes, Dr. Patrick can place a thin layer of dental plastic over these teeth to literally shield them from any plaque, bacteria, or acids that could harm the enamel. You won’t be able to see them, and with the proper care, sealants can easily last for about a decade.
Whether your child is a future sports star or just likes to play the occasional pick-up game with their friends, they should always wear a mouthguard to keep their teeth, gums, and jaw safe from potential impacts. Rather than forcing your child to wear an uncomfortable appliance from the store that inhibits their breathing, Dr. Patrick can provide them with their own custom-made mouthguard. It will not only fit better and provide higher quality protection, but it will also allow your child to speak and breathe properly, meaning they’ll be much more likely to actually use it!
While oral cancer is fairly rare in children, it is still possible, which is why we always take a few extra minutes during regular checkups to look for the early signs of the disease. By catching and treating it quickly, we give a child the best possible chance of a full recovery. If we see any suspicious sores or growths in your child’s mouth, we’ll work with an oral surgeon and oral pathologist to obtain a diagnosis. That way, treatment can begin immediately if needed.
Fluoride is a mineral added to most toothpastes and public water sources because it’s proven to strengthen the enamel and make it more resistant to cavities, and despite the uproar on the internet over the past few years, it’s actually completely harmless. When you bring your child in for a checkup, Dr. Patrick can apply a fluoride gel topically to give your child a quick and effective boost of cavity resistance that will last all the way until their next appointment.
While regular fluoride is used to prevent cavities, silver diamine fluoride is how we can treat a cavity that has already started without using a dental drill. Applied directly to the enamel, the silver kills the bacteria that is harming the tooth while the fluoride helps build it back up. It’s a less invasive way of stopping a cavity compared to traditional methods, and it’s especially helpful for children who need a little more time before then can tolerate more traditional dental fillings.
There is a nearly endless variety of toothpastes and toothbrushes made especially for children these days, and it can be tough for parents to know which ones are best for their particular child. We’re happy to give you any recommendations at your child’s next visit. We’ll let you know which specific types of products are ideally suited for your child’s unique smile, so they can get the most out of their daily oral hygiene routine.
Patient education is a big part of what we provide here, in addition to hands-on services, because in our experience, the more a child knows about taking care of their teeth, the healthier they are! We’ll show them the proper way to hold their toothbrush and the right brushing technique, and explain how everything works so your child won’t make mistakes that could compromise their oral health. We’ll also go over how their diet can affect their teeth, so they know how to make healthy decisions even when you’re not around.
Oral pathology is used to diagnose any disease found within the mouth so that it can be treated appropriately. This could involve determining what particular type of oral bacteria is causing a child’s gum disease or figuring out if a suspicious growth is cancerous or not. By incorporating this into our routine preventive care, we can help your child avoid much more serious problems beyond cavities.
Does your child have red, swollen, or sensitive gums that bleed easily? If so, then they may have a bacterial infection called gum disease. This is typically caused by plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth below the gum line, and we can use a special cleaning called scaling and root planing to get rid of it. Sometimes, Dr. Patrick may recommend special products to use at home to help with recovery.