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Prevention

At EAST ATLANTA PEDIATRIC DENTISTRY, we recommend a variety of preventative measures such as Diet, Mouth Guards, and Xylitol.

Care Of Your Child's Teeth

Brushing Tips:

  • Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft cloth and water.
  • As soon as your child’s teeth erupt, brush them with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • If they are under the age of 2, use a small “smear” of toothpaste.
  • If they’re 2-5 years old, use a “pea-size” amount of toothpaste.
  • Be sure and use an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste and make sure your child does not swallow it.
  • When brushing, the parent should brush the child’s teeth until they are old enough to do a good job on their own.

Flossing Tips:

  • Flossing removes plaque between teeth and under the gumline where a toothbrush can’t reach.
  • Flossing should begin when any two teeth touch.
  • Be sure and floss your child’s teeth daily until he or she can do it alone.
X-Rays

 

X-ray films detect much more than cavities. For example, X-rays may be needed to survey erupting teeth, diagnose bone diseases, evaluate the results of an injury, or plan orthodontic treatment. X-rays allow dentists to diagnose and treat conditions that cannot be detected during a clinical examination. If dental problems are found and treated early, dental care is more comfortable and affordable.

For children with a high risk of tooth decay, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends X-ray examinations every six months to detect cavities developing between the teeth. Children with a low risk of tooth decay require X-rays less frequently.

Radiographs PDF

Good Diet = Healthy Teeth

Healthy eating habits lead to healthy teeth. Like the rest of the body, the teeth, bones and the soft tissues of the mouth need a well-balanced diet. Children should eat a variety of foods from the five major food groups. Most snacks that children eat can lead to cavity formation. The more frequently a child snacks, the greater the chance for tooth decay. How long food remains in the mouth also plays a role. For example, hard candy and breath mints stay in the mouth a long time, which cause longer acid attacks on tooth enamel. If your child must snack, choose nutritious foods such as vegetables, low-fat yogurt, and low-fat cheese, which are healthier and better for children’s teeth.

How Do I Prevent Cavities?

 

Good oral hygiene removes bacteria and the left over food particles that combine to create cavities. For infants, use a wet gauze or clean washcloth to wipe the plaque from teeth and gums. Avoid putting your child to bed with a bottle filled with anything other than water.

For older children, brush their teeth at least twice a day. Also, watch the number of snacks containing sugar that you give your children.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends visits every six months to the pediatric dentist, beginning at your child’s first birthday. Routine visits will start your child on a lifetime of good dental health.

Your pediatric dentist may also recommend protective sealants or home fluoride treatments for your child. Sealants can be applied to your child’s molars to prevent decay on hard to clean surfaces.

Seal Out Decay

A sealant is a protective coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces (grooves) of the back teeth (premolars and molars), where four out of five cavities in children are found. This sealant acts as a barrier to food, plaque and acid, thus protecting the decay-prone areas of the teeth.

 

Sealant-Before
Before Sealant Applied

Sealant-After
After Sealant Applied
Fluoride

 

Fluoride is a naturally occurring element, which has shown to prevent tooth decay by as much as 50-70%, Despite the advantages, too little or too much fluoride can be detrimental to the teeth. With little or no fluoride, the teeth aren’t strengthened to help them resist cavities. Excessive fluoride ingestion by young children can lead to dental fluorosis, which is typically a chalky white discoloration (brown in advanced cases) of the permanent teeth. Be sure to follow your pediatric dentist’s instructions on suggested fluoride use and possible supplements, if needed.

You can help by using a fluoride toothpaste and only a smear of toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice) to brush the teeth of a child less than 3 years of age. For children 3 to 6 years old, use a “pea-size” amount of toothpaste and perform or assist your child’s toothbrushing. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively on their own. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing, in order to avoid fluorosis.

Mouth Guards

 

When a child begins to participate in recreational activities and organized sports, injuries can occur. A properly fitted mouth guard, or mouth protector, is an important piece of athletic gear that can help protect your child’s smile, and should be used during any activity that could result in a blow to the face or mouth.

Mouth guards help prevent broken teeth, and injuries to the lips, tongue, face or jaw. A properly fitted mouth guard will stay in place while your child is wearing it, making it easy for them to talk and breathe.

Ask your pediatric dentist about custom and store-bought mouth protectors.

Xylitol - Reducing Cavities

 

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recognizes the benefits of xylitol on the oral health of infants, children, adolescents, and persons with special health care needs.

The use of XYLITOL GUM by mothers (2-3 times per day) starting 3 months after delivery and until the child was 2 years old, has proven to reduce cavities up to 70% by the time the child was 5 years old.

Studies using xylitol as either a sugar substitute or a small dietary addition have demonstrated a dramatic reduction in new tooth decay, along with some reversal of existing dental caries. Xylitol provides additional protection that enhances all existing prevention methods. This xylitol effect is long-lasting and possibly permanent. Low decay rates persist even years after the trials have been completed.

Xylitol is widely distributed throughout nature in small amounts. Some of the best sources are fruits, berries, mushrooms, lettuce, hardwoods, and corn cobs. One cup of raspberries contains less than one gram of xylitol.

Studies suggest xylitol intake that consistently produces positive results ranged from 4-20 grams per day, divided into 3-7 consumption periods. Higher results did not result in greater reduction and may lead to diminishing results. Similarly, consumption frequency of less than 3 times per day showed no effect.

To find gum or other products containing xylitol, try visiting your local health food store or search the Internet to find products containing 100% xylitol.

Beware of Sports Drinks

 

Due to the high sugar content and acids in sports drinks, they have erosive potential and the ability to dissolve even fluoride-rich enamel, which can lead to cavities.

To minimize dental problems, children should avoid sports drinks and hydrate with water before, during and after sports.  Be sure to talk to your pediatric dentist before using sports drinks.

If sports drinks are consumed:

  • reduce the frequency and contact time
  • swallow immediately and do not swish them around the mouth
  • neutralize the effect of sports drinks by alternating sips of water with the drink
  • rinse mouthguards only in water
  •  seek out dentally friendly sports drinks

 

Restorative Dentistry Prevention

At EAST ATLANTA PEDIATRIC DENTISTRY, we offer a variety of in-office treatment procedures such as fillings, extractions, and crowns.

Treatment can vary greatly from child to child depending on the extent of their problem(s), their age, and their behavior. If your child requires treatment, the dentist will discuss it with you in detail, and the front office staff will go over a treatment plan that outlines the procedures and estimated costs.

Nitrous Oxide

 

We utilize nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas, for most of our treatment procedures. It’s the preferred sedation method for pediatric dentists because it’s safe, well tolerated by children, the effects are almost instantaneous, and it only takes a few seconds to clear out of their systems once the treatment is over. Nitrous oxide does not put a child to sleep; it just helps them remain calm and still so that we can safely complete treatment.

If it is determined that your child requires treatment, nitrous oxide analgesia is recommended.

Abscess or Infection

 

A dental abscess is an infection deep in the gums and surrounding tissue that is usually caused by bacterial growth from an untreated cavity. It’s an extremely painful condition that will not resolve on it’s own and requires dental intervention. Left untreated, the infection can spread to other areas of the body and even become life-threatening.Typical symptoms of a dental abscess include pain, facial swelling, redness of the face, fever, a pimple-like nodule on the gums, and pus drainage. If your child has any of these symptoms, they should be brought to the dentist for an evaluation. Other more severe symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty swallowing, and difficulty breathing.

An abscess can be diagnosed by the dentist visually or on an x-ray. If your child has an abscess on a baby tooth, the tooth will likely need to be extracted and the abscess drained. If the abscess is on a permanent tooth, it will likely require surgical drainage and a root canal with a crown. He or she may also need a course of antibiotics to kill the bacteria.

To prevent a dental abscess, make sure your child has a good oral hygiene routine, take them to the dentist every six months to check for cavities, and have their cavities fixed promptly.

Extractions

 

Extractions are performed to permanently remove teeth which are severely decayed. Common reasons to extract a primary tooth are as follows:

Non Restorable Tooth - Pediatric Dentist in Silver Spring, MD Tooth is non-restorable. Some teeth are extracted due to severe decay; or they may be fractured in a way that cannot be repaired.

Infection - Pediatric Dentist in Silver Spring, MD Tooth has an abscess or infection

Fillings

Beyond their size, baby teeth are a bit different than permanent teeth in that the enamel layer isn’t as thick, and the inner pulp portion – which consists of blood vessels and nerves – is larger and much nearer to the surface. Decay can therefore spread through the enamel and affect the pulp much more quickly than in a permanent tooth. For this reason, at the first sign of a small cavity, Dr. Jordan will want to repair it with a filling and avoid the need for more complex treatment.

Crowns

 

When a baby tooth is extensively decayed and using other filling materials isn’t likely to be successful, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends restoring the tooth with a crown especially if the tooth has received pulpal therapy. After removing the decay, your dentist will fit and cement a prefabricated crown over the tooth.

Here are some advantages of stainless steel crowns:

  • Durable but inexpensive
  • Full coverage protection for the tooth
  • Very little sensitivity
  • Less likely to need retreatment
  • Good choice for children who are at a high risk for caries or require general anesthesia
  • Often used as an attachment for a space maintainer

 

Cavities

 

A cavity is a hole in a tooth caused by the disease process known as “tooth decay.” Cavities vary in appearance and evolve over time, but typically look like dark spots, holes, or chips in the teeth. They usually have a chalky white, yellow, brown or black appearance and can be as small as a tiny dot or as large as the entire tooth.

How do I know if my child has a cavity?

Depending on the size and location, a cavity may not be visible to you in your child’s mouth. Cavities that are in between teeth or on the back surfaces can be difficult to see at home, but are easily seen with the right dental equipment and x-rays. When you bring your child to the dentist for a check-up every six months, he or she will be evaluated for cavities. In between appointments, if your child complains of a toothache or you see a hole, dark spot, or chip, you should come in right away. Waiting can cause the cavity to grow in size and severity, and the treatment can become more invasive.

What causes cavities?

There are several causes of tooth decay including diet, oral hygiene, and genetics. Typical dietary causes include foods that are sticky, sugary, or starchy, and drinks that are sugary and/or acidic. Typical oral hygiene causes include improper brushing techniques, not brushing often enough, and not flossing. Some children still get cavities even with a great diet and oral hygiene because the bacteria in their mouths are aggressive. If your child has a cavity, the dentist will discuss his or her diet and oral hygiene routine with you to see if any adjustments need to be made.

How are cavities on baby teeth fixed?

Cavities on baby teeth are just like cavities on permanent teeth, and when they’re caught early, they can be fixed with simple tooth-colored fillings. When they become large, they may require a crown, pulp therapy (like a baby root canal), or an extraction.

If a cavity is on a baby tooth, do I have to fix it?

In most cases, the answer is yes. When left alone, most cavities will become bigger and start to cause pain, and treatment can change from a simple filling to something more invasive and cosmetically undesirable like a root canal with a stainless steel crown or an extraction. Sometimes if the dentist sees a cavity that is either very small or on a tooth that your child is likely to lose soon, he or she may decide to monitor the tooth instead of fixing it.

Caring for Your Child after Local Anesthetic

Local anesthetic is used for most dental procedures to numb the area of your child’s mouth that is being treated. He or she will be numb in that area for an average of two hours after the appointment. If the treatment was done on the lower jaw, the tongue, teeth, lower lip and surrounding tissue will be numb. If the treatment was done on the upper jaw, the teeth, upper lip and surrounding tissue will be numb.

Most children do not fully understand the effects of local anesthesia, and they may chew, scratch, suck, or play with the numb areas. These actions can cause serious injuries, so please monitor your child closely for approximately two hours following the appointment. We also recommend that you keep your child on a soft diet until the anesthetic has worn off.

Other Issues

 

Other common dental issues may include the following:

Over-retained baby teeth

Over Retained - Pediatric Dentist in Silver Spring, MD

Primary teeth should exfoliate so that the permanent tooth underneath can come into the mouth. If your child has an over-retained primary tooth that has limited mobility, your dentist may recommend extraction. It is important to keep track of the loss of your child’s primary teeth.

Tooth Trauma

Children are very active. Many times they take bumps or falls that may involve them hitting their mouths and injuring their teeth. A dental visit may be necessary depending on the severity of the injury. Please call our office to get specific management.

Permanent tooth injury

  • Factures
  • Avulsed (knocked out)

If you see that your child’s permanent tooth is missing, or fractured, call your pediatric dentist for an emergency visit to the dental office. You can expect your dentist to perform both clinical and radiographic exams. Various follow-up appointments, or even a referral to another specialist(s), may be needed.

Local Anesthesia

 

Often times, restorative procedures may require the use of local anesthesia. It is important for caregivers to carefully monitor the child and the restored area for proper healing and avoidance of injury to the restored and surrounding area.

Caring for Your Child after Local Anesthetic

Local anesthetic is used for most dental procedures to numb the area of your child’s mouth that is being treated. He or she will be numb in that area for an average of two hours after the appointment. If the treatment was done on the lower jaw, the tongue, teeth, lower lip and surrounding tissue will be numb. If the treatment was done on the upper jaw, the teeth, upper lip and surrounding tissue will be numb.

Most children do not fully understand the effects of local anesthesia, and they may chew, scratch, suck, or play with the numb areas. These actions can cause serious injuries, so please monitor your child closely for approximately two hours following the appointment. We also recommend that you keep your child on a soft diet until the anesthetic has worn off.

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EAST ATLANTA PEDIATRIC DENTISTRY 2646 GRESHAM RD S E, ATLANTA, GA 30316 404-212-9060

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