Early Childhood Tooth Decay

Pediatric Dentistry

Why A Pediatric Dentist?

For the same reasons you choose a pediatrician for your child’s medical care. Has your child ever begged you not to leave the dentist? Impossible you say? Not at our office! It could be our gentle touch and special way with kids. Our pediatric specialists and staff love children and are specially trained to put them at ease. We teach your children the proper way to take care of their teeth and just as important, they learn that going to the dentist can be fun.

What Is A Pediatric Dentist (Pedodontist)?

In the same way that pediatricians are trained to meet a child’s medical needs, our pediatric dental specialists are uniquely qualified to protect your child’s oral health using the most advanced techniques, and all in our delightfully friendly open treatment area. Pediatric dentists have an additional three years of training at university or hospital based pediatric facilities in addition to four years of dental school and four years of college study. Some pediatric dentists, including Dr. Andy, practice general dentistry before specializing, giving them a unique perspective on your child’s dental needs. They learn how to deal with the behavioral aspects of children, how to make them feel comfortable, and to make their experience pleasant. They also are trained and qualified to treat the dental needs for patients with special needs.

What Dental Problems Could My Child Have?

Some dental problems can begin very early in life. One concern is early childhood tooth decay, a serious condition caused by a child using the bottle, or breast, too long. Prolonged usage of bottles and “sippy cups” that contain sugary fluids, such as milk or juices, can lead to rapid and serious concerns, especially if available overnight or used to nurse children to sleep!

Another problem is gum disease. About 40 percent of children two to three years old have at least mild inflammation of gum tissues. Oral habits, such as digit sucking, should also be checked. The earlier the dental visit, the better the chances of identifying risky practices and preventing problems. Strong, healthy teeth help your child chew food easily, speak clearly, and feel good about his or her appearance.

Why Are Baby Teeth So Important?

Primary teeth are important because they help with proper chewing and eating, help in speech development, and add to an attractive appearance. A child who can chew easily, speak clearly, and smile confidently is a happier child. Healthy primary teeth allow normal development of the jaw bones and muscles, save space for the permanent teeth, and guide them into place. If a baby tooth is lost too soon, permanent teeth may come in crooked. Decayed baby teeth can cause pain, abscesses, infections, and can spread to the permanent teeth. Also, your child’s general health can be affected if diseased baby teeth aren’t treated. Remember, some primary molars are not replaced until age 10-14, so they must last for years.

What should I tell my child about their first dental visit?

We are asked this question many times. We suggest you prepare your child the same way that you would before their first hair-cut or trip to the shoe store. This will not be the frightening experience you may remember from your youth. If you are nervous about the trip, then the less you say the better. You cannot hide your anxiety from a child, they have radar for these things, you know! We will send you an activity/coloring book before the appointment that will explain everything. Have fun going through it with your child. Your child’s reaction to his first visit to the dentist may surprise you.

What about preventive care?

Did you know that tooth decay is the most common childhood illness according the Center for Disease Control. Tooth decay and children no longer necessarily have to go hand-in-hand. At our office, we are most concerned with all aspects of preventive care. We use the latest in sealant technology to protect your child’s teeth. Sealants are composite resin materials that are bonded to the chewing surfaces of decay-prone back teeth. Semi-annual examinations and applications of fluoride varnish are also recommended to prevent and minimize the progression of tooth decay! These are just a few of the ways we will build the foundation for your child’s lifetime of good oral health.

What About Sterilization?

Your health and peace of mind are always our primary concern; therefore, we use state-of-the-art sterilization procedures. After each patient’s visit, the treatment area is thoroughly disinfected. We ultrasonically clean and heat-sterilize all non-disposable instruments. Our staff wears gloves and masks during all procedures. Please feel free to ask us for additional information on the measures we take to ensure the safety of you and your children or you can even ask for a tour of our sterilization area.

For more information about Pediatric Dentistry or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Andy, call our office in Gallatin, TN at Children's Dentistry of Gallatin Phone Number 615-461-7491.