Children should see a dentist by their first birthday or within six months of getting their first baby tooth. Regular dental examinations are essential to helping your child establish good oral health and hygiene habits early in life. However, even if your child sees the dentist regularly, dental problems can still arise. Here’s what to know about the most common dental problems in children.
Cavities (Tooth Decay)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that cavities, also called caries, are a leading chronic disease of childhood with more than 50% of kids aged 6-8 having at least one cavity. Cavities are caused by tooth decay. Fortunately, preventative treatments including dental sealants and fluoride treatments, when accompanied by regular brushing and flossing can prevent most cavities. Once cavities have developed, fillings or crowns may be necessary to prevent the cavity from expanding.
Gum Disease (Pediatric Gingivitis)
Kids are just as susceptible to gum disease as adults. If your child has pediatric gingivitis, they may experience symptoms including swollen gums, bleeding gums, sores on the gums, or tooth pain. Pediatric gingivitis is often the result of poor oral hygiene habits, but may also be caused by teeth grinding, mouth breathing or vitamin deficiency. Treatments for pediatric gingivitis may include deep cleanings (scaling and root planing), and antibiotic medication.
Dental Trauma (Knocked Out or Fractured Teeth)
Children are prone to tooth injuries from accidents and falls. In fact, according to an extensive review of scientific literature as many as one in four children will experience some form of dental trauma. Treatment for fractured teeth may include crowns. Treatment for baby teeth that have been completely knocked out often requires monitoring and follow-up appointments to ensure a healthy recovery.
Anxiety or Fear of the Dentist
Studies published by the National Institutes of Health confirm that as many as 4 in 10 children fear going to the dentist. Because establishing good oral health care early in life is vital to healthy development, some pediatric dentists provide sedation options such as laughing gas or oral medications taken before your child’s appointment. If your child is fearful of the dentist, be sure to notify the dental practice ahead of time, so a plan can be designed to ensure your child’s ease and comfort during their appointment.
Book a Dental Appointment for Your Child in Albuquerque
Dr. Audrey Navarro Rawson is a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist, and a Diplomate with the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. ABQ Pediatric Dentistry welcomes children with special needs. To book an appointment, send us a message or call 505-888-3520.