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Pediatrics

Your child should have all of his/her primary teeth by the time that they are 2.5 to 3 years of age.  At this age, however, your child is in the pre-co-operative stage and too young to form a friendship with the dental caregiver.  Your child is not usually sufficiently co-ordinated to obey such commands as open your mouth.  At this age, however, you may wish to make an introductory visit to the dental office before treatment begins, to allow your child to become familiar with the surroundings, and the people.

Your child's first dental visit should occur at approximately 3 years of age.  A 3-year-old is usually more co-operative and able to comprehend and obey commands.  The first visit usually consists of a ride in the chair and a thorough examination.  The dentist may choose to take x-rays to determine the development of the teeth and introduce the child to the dental equipment so it will be less intimidating.

Children are an important part of our dental office.  We provide a safe, calming atmosphere to help children feel at ease, and enjoy coming to the dentist!  Our highly trained dental staff will provide your child with a full standard oral exam, scaling, polishing and fluoride treatment.  Dental education starts early, so that your child can grow and understand the association between good brushing habits and a healthy mouth.


Brushing your childs's teeth

A newborn's gums should be massaged daily with clean, moistened gauze.  When the teeth begin to show in the oral cavity a very small soft-bristled brush should be used without toothpaste until the child is approximately 18 months of age.  When the child is ready for toothpaste, only a tiny drop (size of a pea) should be placed on the brush.  Children have a tendency to swallow toothpaste, if larger quantities of toothpaste is used the fluoride may be ingested in excessive quantities.  The child must be encouraged to spit out the excess and rinse their mouth with clear water.

Remember to change your child's toothbrush every 3 months.   Make sure the head of the brush fits the child's mouth.  A good way to measure is to place the head of the brush behind the lower teeth.  Use light pressure with a soft-bristled brush.  Brushing should take approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Make toothbrushing an enjoyable activity for the child and they will want to repeat the behaviour.


Fluoride

Fluoride absorbs into the enamel of the teeth making them more resistant to acid-producing bacteria.  It is available in various flavours and can be applied to the teeth either with a fluoride tray that gently rests in the mouth for 4 minutes or the hygienist can apply fluoride by painting it on the teeth, if the child is less co-operative.
Fluoride is also present in the drinking water of many cities across North America.  Ensuring your child uses fluoride toothpaste and receives fluoride treatments will help to develop and maintain healthy teeth and bones.


Nutrition

Good dental health depends on an adequate supply of nutrients that are properly used by the body.  The bacteria in plaque biofilm use simple sugars as their food and metabolize them in the mouth, producing lactic acid that will affect the enamel of teeth.

Cavities can occur in very young children who routinely fall asleep while nursing on a bottle.  The sugar in the nursing bottle (cow's milk, juice, formula or sugary drinks) turns to acid, dissolving tooth enamel.  Breast-fed babies are also susceptible if they constantly fall asleep with breast milk on their teeth.  Early signs include white spots and tooth discoloration.  Damage to primary (baby) teeth can jeopardize the development and proper eruption of the permanent teeth if left untreated. You can protect your child by not letting your baby go to bed with a bottle unless it contains clear water.  Clean your baby's mouth regularly and don't dip pacifiers in honey or other sweet ingredients.

Sealants (Pit & Fissure)
The placement of pit and fissure sealants on the first set of permanent molars is an important part of a total hygiene care program for maximum protection against tooth decay.  The pits of the teeth are the deep grooves on the chewing surface of the tooth and the fissures are channels that extend down the sides of the teeth, facing the cheek or tongue.  This type of dental treatment is recommended for primary or permanent teeth that contain deep, narrow pits on the chewing surfaces.  These pits are traps for bacteria, which will lead to decay.  It is difficult, and often impossible, to reach these areas with a toothbrush during normal cleansing.

Pit and fissure sealants are of greatest benefit to children, especially when the first sets of permanent molars erupt into the dentition between the ages of 6 and 13. These are generally considered the cavity prone years. The sealant material is made of a type of liquid plastic that bonds directly to the prepared tooth surface.  Sealants can be white, clear or opaque in colour and feel smooth when touched. There are no toxic effects from the use of chemical sealants and the application is painless.

Properly sealed teeth should retain their sealant material for 6-7 years or longer.  During every 6 month continuing recare appointment, the dentist or hygienist will re-examine the sealant to ensure that it remains in place to continue the protection.  Research has shown that the placement of pit and fissure sealants has dramatically reduced the incidence of dental decay in children during their cavity prone years.  They also reduce the need for more complex and costly procedures being required that could compromise the structure and integrity of the tooth.

 

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