Safeguarding your child’s oral health as they grow.
Taking your child to the dentist can feel like an ordeal; there are often a lot of factors involved in scheduling the appointment and keeping your child calm through it. Many parents have to work around a busy schedule and worry about arriving on time or how their child will behave once they get there. While the very idea might be stressful, it’s unavoidable because taking your child to the dentist is an essential part of keeping them healthy. Thankfully, however, it doesn’t have to be stressful—a truly great pediatric dentist will help you and your child by making the appointment more enjoyable for both of you. Whether you’re just starting your search for a “children’s dentist near me” or you’re already a regular at our Frederick pediatric dentistry or Waldorf, MD, office, here are 10 ways a pediatric dentist can help your child.
1. Treat tongue-tie in nursing babies.
If you’re having trouble getting your infant to breastfeed, tongue-tie could be the culprit. Tongue-tie is when the band of tissue that tethers the bottom of your child’s tongue to the floor of their mouth, called the frenulum, is unusually short, thick, or tight. In addition to problems with breastfeeding, tongue-tie can impact the way your child speaks or swallows. Your pediatric dentist can identify if your child has a tongue-tie that may be causing problems and can resolve the issue by using a dental laser to cut the frenulum, freeing the tongue. It’s a quick, painless procedure that can be done with or without anesthesia. Plus, the laser sterilizes and cauterizes as it cuts, so there’s minimal bleeding and a reduced risk of infection; your baby will be able to resume breastfeeding as soon as the procedure is over.
2. Keep little mouths healthy.
Taking your child to the dentist for a regular appointment is essential for protecting their oral health because it gives their pediatric dentist the opportunity to check their teeth for signs of cavities while making sure their gums are healthy. If your child is teething, their dentist will also be able to make sure that their teeth are developing normally.
Additionally, they’ll perform a preventive cleaning to remove plaque and tartar from your child’s teeth. Tartar is hardened plaque that bonds to tooth enamel, making it impossible for you to get off at home when you brush your child’s teeth. Since tartar contains bacteria, a pediatric dentist must remove it during a regular appointment to prevent it from causing oral health issues in your child’s mouth.
3. Prevent cavities.
Pediatric dentists have a wide range of tools at their disposal to help prevent your child from getting cavities in the first place. In addition to giving your child a preventive dental cleaning every six months to remove plaque and hardened tartar from their teeth, pediatric dentists can help protect your child’s teeth from cavities by applying a sealant or a fluoride varnish.
4. Help you through the teething process.
The teething process can be difficult for you and your child—especially if you’re a first-time parent. It can be difficult to see your little one in pain or to know how to help relieve their discomfort. Your child’s pediatric dentist can help you know what to expect from the teething process, including when your baby should start and finish teething, which baby teeth are likely to erupt first, and how you can manage your child’s discomfort. Plus, if you run into a specific question at home, your child’s pediatric dentist is always a reliable source of information.
5. Offer advice on breaking habits like thumb-sucking or using a pacifier.
It’s completely normal for babies and toddlers to suck their thumb or a pacifier—in fact, it’s a healthy, self-soothing technique that does a lot of good when they’re little. As they grow up and their teeth begin to come in, however, it can cause problems by impacting the angle of their teeth or the shape of their palate. Many children will stop the habit on their own, but if they haven’t stopped around the age of two, it might be a good idea to start thinking about weaning them off. Thankfully, your child’s dentist has lots of experience helping parents through this stage of their child’s life, so they can give you plenty of advice on how—and when—you should begin breaking these habits.
6. Give advice on how to interest your child in oral hygiene at home.
Getting your child to stick to a regular, thorough oral hygiene routine can be difficult, especially as they begin wanting to feel more independent. Your child’s pediatric dentist can give you plenty of ideas to help interest your kids in oral hygiene, from dancing to music while you brush your teeth together to starting a chart to keep track of how they’re doing and giving them rewards at the end of each day or week when they’ve done well. Their dentist will also do their best during your child’s regular appointments to encourage them and help them see how important oral hygiene is.
7. Predict if your child will need orthodontic treatments.
Around the age of seven, enough of your child’s adult teeth, including their back molars, have come in to allow their dentist to use modern technology to predict what their bite will look like. This means that their pediatric dentist can predict whether or not your child will need orthodontic treatment, giving you plenty of time to plan and prepare for the treatment. With long-term treatments like braces, it’s always good to have a few years to get your child used to the idea, look into treatment options, and save up a little money if you need to.
8. Be there for emergencies.
No matter how great your child is at staying on track with their oral hygiene routine, dental emergencies can happen—especially as they get older and begin playing sports or rough-housing more. Whether it’s a toothache or a dental injury like a knocked-out or chipped tooth, dealing with a dental emergency can be scary. Your child’s pediatric dentist can help you through dental emergencies, making sure your child gets high-quality treatment right away.
9. Establish a life-long love of dentist’s visits.
A great pediatric dentist will make sure that dentistry for children is more than just an okay experience—they’ll go the extra mile to ensure it’s a genuinely fun experience! Pediatric dentists and their staff know how to handle children of all ages and personality types, so they’re experts at helping kids feel comfortable and excited during their appointment. Not only will this ensure that your child’s dental appointments go a bit more smoothly, but it will help ensure that your child doesn’t suffer from life-long anxiety at the dentist. Instead, they’ll benefit from a love of the dentist that will help them feel comfortable in a dental chair through every stage of their life!
10. Encourage a love of good oral care habits.
If you teach your child about and encourage good oral healthcare habits in a fun way while they’re still young, they’re much more likely to stick to these healthy habits as they grow up and become adults. Similarly, if they had a great pediatric dentist who helped them feel comfortable at dental appointments, they won’t feel tempted to avoid dental appointments as an adult. All of these factors will keep their mouth—and the rest of their body—healthier for their entire life.
Taking your child to the pediatric dentist is vital for their oral and overall health, and choosing the right dentist will have a lasting impact on your child by helping them build life-long habits that’ll keep their oral and overall health in shape. If you’re looking for a dentist in Waldorf, MD, or a dentist in Frederick, or if you simply need to schedule your child’s next appointment, feel free to call our office at any time.