When children hit the “terrible twos,” and beyond, prioritizing their oral health needs can start feeling like a challenge. They want to run around and play, not sit still in the dentist’s office! Thankfully, our pediatric dentists are experts at helping young patients transition from infant to toddler oral health care smoothly and comfortably. Please contact us today if you’re ready to schedule the first appointment for your toddler, here at Park Place Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, or if you have any questions.
As all of the primary teeth make an appearance in their smile, guarding against tooth decay will become more important than ever for your child. Our team will also keep a lookout for potential developmental concerns and recommend intervention when needed to help your little one avoid more extensive treatment down the road.
Once children are capable of holding a toothbrush, parents should start encouraging them to brush while they continue to help. As a general rule, any teeth that touch together without space should be flossed daily. It’s also important to encourage children to spit out the toothpaste instead of swallowing it, as this can cause tooth enamel defects over time. If they’re struggling with this, use only a pea-sized dab of toothpaste (a smear of toothpaste on the front third of the bristles) during every brushing session.
At this stage, you can expect our team to start easing your child into gentle check-ups and cleanings while making sure to prioritize their comfort every step of the way. We’ll inspect their baby teeth and gums for any signs of trouble that need our attention and carefully remove any plaque that’s found its way onto the enamel. We’ll start giving them their first lessons about brushing and flossing!
At Park Place Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we’ll personalize our available services to match your toddler’s changing needs, providing quality preventive care, restorative treatment, and emergency intervention as needed. We want to give their happy smile all the support it needs! To learn more about these options, keep reading:
At this point in a child’s life, parents should be scheduling check-ups and cleanings every six months on average. During these important visits, we will want to inspect every aspect of your toddler’s oral health, including each tooth surface, the gum tissue, their overall bite, their jaw, any existing restorations that are in place, and more. Once we have all the information we need, we can sit down with you (the parent) in order to plan out any necessary treatment. Professional cleanings are also essential because they get rid of accumulations of dental plaque, which is a bacteria-filled substance that can cause cavities. By cleaning it away, we’re able to protect growing smiles from tooth decay and help them feel refreshed as well!
As you start to teach your child how to brush, they’re likely to struggle with keeping the hard-to-reach chewing surfaces of back teeth clean—thankfully, dental sealants can help. Our team will paint on these tough, plastic-based substances and harden them over the tooth so that they can work as a barrier, keeping out food particles and bacteria. Sealants are safe, comfortable, and can last for several years with proper maintenance.
Fluoride is a very valuable mineral that can be found in most community water supplies, as well as various oral health products. This is because safe exposure to fluoride has been proven through research to have positive effects on growing smiles, helping teeth become stronger and less prone to decay. If your toddler needs an extra supplement of fluoride to reap these benefits, we can provide this during regular appointments.
Our team works hard to help children of all ages prevent cavities, but they can pop up here and there despite our best efforts. When they do, we’ll correct the damage done to the tooth with a tooth-colored filling. These fillings blend right in with the smile, which means your son or daughter won’t even be able to tell the difference between them and their natural tooth enamel. They’re also comfortable and safe for smiles in need.
There’s a lot that can happen underneath the surface of a smile, and X-rays are the best way for our doctors to see more than the naked eye can show us. We use state-of-the-art digital technology in order to capture highly detailed images of your child’s developing teeth and jaw. Unlike traditional film, digital X-rays are very fast and very safe. In fact, they reduce potentially unsafe radiation exposure by up to 80%!
Every tooth has multiple layers with a “pulp” at the center containing nerves, tissues, and blood vessels that work to channel nutrients and oxygen into the tooth. If your toddler suffers a traumatic dental injury or advanced tooth decay, harmful bacteria can reach this area and cause serious infection. Instead of removing the tooth prematurely, our doctors will do their best to save it with pulp therapy. While adults undergo a full root canal in this situation, we want to preserve as much of the remaining healthy pulp as possible for your toddler to support the tooth’s development. After removing the damaged portions, the tooth will be fitted with a dental crown to strengthen the remaining structure.
Sucking fingers and thumbs is common for many toddlers, but what caregivers often don’t know is that this can actually cause damage to the position of the jaw over time. Our pediatric dentists are happy to answer any questions you may have about this habit and offer tips on how to motivate your child to grow out of it. It’s important to approach this issue at a low-stress time and also use positive reinforcement to make sure the change sticks!
From infancy, children may end up with one or more bands of oral tissue that connect to the lips, cheeks, or floor of their mouth. These attachments (also known as “frenum”) can interfere with their dental health and cause discomfort and aesthetic problems as well. Thankfully, our dentists are capable of performing minor procedures in order to correct this issue. A frenectomy is a minor oral surgery procedure where we’ll either loosen or remove the frenum; this typically only takes half an hour at most. If the tissue is too thick, a frenuloplasty can be performed instead by surgically repositioning the tissue.
Toddlers are adventurous, eager to play, and prone to clumsiness at times. As a result, serious dental injuries can happen in the blink of an eye when a parent’s back is turned. At Park Place Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we ask you to contact our Arlington practice as soon as possible when these scary events occur. We can schedule an emergency appointment with your son or daughter in order to relieve any pain they’re experiencing, as well as provide first-aid tips over the phone.
Removing a natural tooth from the mouth is never our doctors’ first choice when treating young patients. However, situations can arise where it becomes a necessity in order to preserve their ongoing oral health and wellbeing, such as:
Parents can rest assured that we’ll handle this process as comfortably as possible, using sedation dentistry when necessary to ensure our patients’ comfort.