Preventive Dentistry Is Just as Important When it Comes to Baby Teeth
Caring for your child’s baby teeth will set them up for a lifetime of oral health.
Oral health is one of the most important areas in which to build a solid foundation for your children early on. That means teaching your child about oral hygiene and ensuring they get the essential preventive dentistry they need to stay healthy—even when dealing with their baby teeth.
Baby Teeth and Permanent Teeth
Some people may think that taking care of baby teeth (also called primary teeth) doesn’t really matter. However, this isn’t the case. Even though your child will naturally lose their baby teeth, it’s important to employ proper oral hygiene and preventive dentistry to avoid tooth decay and other issues.
Your child’s permanent teeth (also called secondary teeth or adult teeth) are already developing behind their baby teeth. When tooth decay affects baby teeth, it can impact the developing permanent teeth as well. Serious tooth decay can cause an infection that can spread and cause a variety of issues.
To ensure that your child’s secondary teeth develop properly, it’s important to take advantage of preventive dentistry to avoid tooth decay in the primary teeth. By acting now, you can avoid numerous complications down the line.
Baby Teeth Are More Susceptible to Decay
While parents are generally more concerned about decay in permanent teeth, baby teeth are actually more susceptible to decay. The impact of sugary drinks, poor oral hygiene, and skipping dentist appointments can become much more pronounced in young children.
Baby teeth are physically smaller than adult teeth; in turn, they also have a thinner layer of enamel. Enamel is the hard outer layer of the tooth that protects the softer layers inside. It’s the primary line of defense against serious tooth decay and infection.
As bacteria in your child’s mouth metabolize sugar, they produce acid that wears away at the enamel. Because there is less enamel, tooth decay can progress more quickly through its early stages. This can mean that bacteria will be able to reach the inner layers much sooner, potentially causing a serious infection.
Preventive Pediatric Dentistry
Preventive pediatric dentistry can protect your child from tooth decay in their baby teeth. There is a range of preventive treatments that can provide your child with the best foundation for oral health while they’re developing.
Routine checkups with your pediatric dentist near Vancouver, WA, are among the most important elements of proper preventive care. You should bring your child in every six months for a checkup, starting from the time the first baby tooth emerges or their first birthday, whichever arrives first.
Checkups are vital in catching tooth decay and other issues while it’s early enough for effective treatment. Because tooth decay can progress quickly in baby teeth, missing a routine checkup could allow the issue to become much worse.
A checkup can also make use of dental X-rays to look for other dental issues and to keep a record of your child’s development. Teeth cleaning is another important part of the checkup, with the dentist using special tools to remove plaque and tartar that contribute to tooth decay.
At the time of a routine checkup, you can also take advantage of additional treatments for your child. Fluoride treatments remineralize enamel, reversing the earliest stages of tooth decay and providing lasting protection.
Your child could also benefit from dental sealants. This preventive option consists of a dental resin that is applied to the chewing surface of the molars. The resin seals the surface from bacteria, preventing tooth decay in one of the most cavity-prone areas.
Treating Tooth Decay in Baby Teeth
If your child develops tooth decay, several options can be used to treat it, depending on how much it has progressed. Dental fillings are among the most common dental treatments and are used to fill the cavity left by tooth decay and prevent bacteria from reaching that area and causing further decay.
In an advanced case of tooth decay, your child may need a pulpotomy. This procedure is similar to a root canal but is adapted for baby teeth. The procedure is less invasive but still protects against infection. If a cavity has progressed to the point that the pulp inside becomes inflamed, a pulpotomy can provide an alternative to pulling the tooth.
Your Pediatric Dentist Near Vancouver, WA
Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry can provide your children with the preventive, restorative, and orthodontic care they need. With routine checkups and additional preventive treatments, we can give your children a great start to a lifetime of oral health. You can contact our office today to schedule an appointment for excellent pediatric dentistry in Vancouver, WA.