Keeping your kids smiling and healthy is our top priority. At Auburn Pediatric Dentistry, our team offers an experienced, fun approach to providing the highest standard of dental care for your child.
The First Birthday = The First Dental Visit
A child’s first dental visit is an important one. Auburn Pediatric Dentistry, along with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAPD), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the American Dental Association (ADA), recommend that your child’s first visit be no later than his/her 1st birthday. Once a child’s diet includes anything besides breast milk, erupted teeth are at risk for decay. By making this important appointment no later than 12 months of age, you are reducing your child’s risk of cavities by beginning a preventative oral health program and establishing a dental home. Remember, early visits help protect your child’s smile now and in the future!
We like to stress to parents the importance of getting your child ready for their very first dental visit. You can do this by telling them all the positive points of a dental visit and how we will be “counting” and “tickling” their teeth during this visit. We make a practice of using words that are pleasant and non-frightening to your child, such as “tickle brush”, “mister thirsty”, and “tooth camera”. Our goal is to make every child feel comfortable and relaxed.
On your child’s first visit, we encourage parents to accompany their child. This will allow you the opportunity to become familiar with Auburn Pediatric Dentistry and our dedicated team. You will also be a great reassurance to your child during his/her first visit. During the first visit, your child will receive:
- A tour of the office with a member of our team
- A comprehensive exam
- Cleaning of the teeth and fluoride application
- Digital X-rays
- A detailed treatment plan
- A preventative oral hygiene plan emphasizing brushing/flossing techniques, toothbrush selection, diet, habits, and need of fluoride supplementation.
Dr. Derrow and her team are excited to meet you and your child at his/her first dental visit!
Baby teeth have a very important job to do, and it is important to make sure they remain healthy and cavity free. Baby teeth serve as spacers, which maintain the proper alignment of the teeth allowing the permanent teeth to come in. They also help children chew food easily, learn to speak clearly, and provide children with the confidence to show off their great smiles.
If a baby tooth is lost too soon, the teeth beside it may move into the empty space. This can create a lack of space for the permanent teeth and may cause them to become crowded or crooked. To prevent this from occurring, Dr. Derrow may suggest space maintainers to hold open the empty space and prevent movement until the permanent tooth takes its natural position. This option can be more affordable and easier on your child than moving the permanent teeth back into place through orthodontic treatment.
Fluoride comes in many forms including gels, foams, and varnish and helps strengthen weak areas on the teeth. Fluoride is a compound containing fluorine, which helps prevent tooth decay and cavities. It helps prevent cavities in two ways. First, fluoride concentrates in the growing bones and developing teeth of children, which helps harden enamel on baby and adult teeth before they erupt. Second, fluoride affects the bacteria that causes cavities and discourages acid attacks that break down the tooth. When combined with a healthy diet and good oral hygiene, the risk of decay is reduced.
When considering the need for fluoride supplements, Dr. Derrow looks at many factors including your child’s age, risk of decay, and dietary sources of fluoride. She can then determine if your child is receiving the recommended amount of fluoride.
Evaluating these factors can also help Dr. Derrow diagnose enamel fluorosis. Enamel fluorosis is a condition caused by too much fluoride. Swallowing too much fluoride for your child’s size and weight during the years of tooth development can cause this condition. Most cases are mild and will appear as tiny white specks that often go unnoticed. In more severe cases, teeth can become discolored with brownish markings, making the teeth rough, pitted and hard to clean.. While enamel fluorosis can be scary, fluoride should not be eliminated altogether as it is important in preventing tooth decay. Getting enough, but not too much, can be easily accomplished with the help of Auburn Pediatric Dentistry.
Four out of five cavities in children are found on the 6-year molars. Sealants can help prevent decay and it’s as easy to apply as nail polish. Sealants are made of clear or shaded plastic and are applied to the teeth to help keep them cavity-free. They protect the grooves in your teeth from food, plaque, and bacteria. Sealants can last for many years when cared for properly. They can protect your child’s teeth throughout the most cavity prone years. Dr. Derrow will check the sealants during routine dental visits and can recommend reapplication or repair when necessary.
If your child is involved in athletics, it is important to consider the use of an athletic mouth guard. An athletic mouth guard is an appliance that is made out of soft plastic and can protect the teeth, lips, cheeks, and tongue. They can also help protect children from concussions and jaw fractures. A mouth guard should be considered when children are involved in an activity with a risk of falls or head contact with other players or equipment. This includes basketball, baseball, football, hockey, skateboarding, or gymnastics. Dr. Derrow can advise you on what type of mouth guard is best for your child and their activities.
With children at home, a dental emergency can happen anytime, day or night. Some common problems are dealt with in our FAQ section, but if a major emergency occurs outside of office hours, Auburn Pediatric Dentistry is still there to help.
Healthy eating habits lead to healthy teeth. A balanced diet includes fruits, vegetables, grains, meats and beans, and dairy and is necessary for a child’s teeth to develop properly. It is also important to know which foods may put your child’s teeth at risk. Foods with certain starches and sugars can place your child at risk for tooth decay. These foods provide nutrients your child needs and should not be cut out entirely, but should be served sparingly. For example, foods with sugar or starch are safer for teeth when eaten with a meal and not as a snack.
Dr. Derrow can and the staff of Auburn Pediatric Dentistry can help in suggesting foods that protect your child’s dental health.
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A cavity develops when a tooth decays, which causes a hole in the tooth that can grow bigger and deeper over time. Depending on how sick the tooth is will determine which procedure will be used to make it better again. Fillings are the most common and involve removing the rotted part of your tooth. A special material is then used to fill the hole in your tooth. If the cavity is large and needs more than a filling, a cap or crown may be placed on the tooth. A cap or crown sits right on the tooth and totally covers it, allowing for normal chewing to continue.
If the cavity is allowed to grow without treatment, it can move deep into the tooth and infect the nerve. If this occurs, a pulpotomy is needed to remove the affected part of the nerve and medicine is placed to promote healing. Dr. Derrow and staff will discuss with you the right treatment for your child.
Sometimes if a tooth has such severe decay or gets broken in an accident, it may need to be removed. It is important to remember that if a baby tooth is sick, it can pass that along to the permanent tooth if the problem is not fixed. One solution to fixing this problem is to extract the tooth. If this occurs, a space maintainer may be used to save room for the permanent tooth. Auburn Pediatric Dentistry will work with you to make the best decision for your child’s teeth and help you prevent these problems from returning in the future.
As a toddler, your child may develop habits that are calming and comforting to them. One of these habits is thumb sucking. When this habit persists beyond the eruption of the permanent teeth, they may begin to grow in a position where they do not belong which creates a cross bite or open bite. The intensity in which your child sucks on fingers and thumbs determines the extent of the oral problems that can develop. Children who only rest their thumbs in their mouths are less likely to have difficulty than those who suck vigorously. While it may be convenient, pacifiers are not a substitute for thumb sucking because they can cause some of the same problems. However, the use of pacifiers can be controlled and modified more easily than thumb sucking.
While most children will give up (or greatly reduce) these habits by the age of four, some children have difficulty breaking this habit. If this is occurring in your home, consider one of the following:
- Instead of scolding children for thumb sucking, praise them when they are not.
- Children often suck their thumbs to calm and comfort themselves. Instead of correcting the thumb sucking, focus on correcting the cause of anxiousness.
- Consider adding a reward calendar into the home. Allow children to add stickers as they refrain from sucking during difficult periods and provide a reward at the end of a determined time period.
If you have concerns about pacifiers or thumb sucking, Auburn Pediatric Dentistry can offer further suggestions and assistance.
At Auburn Pediatric Dentistry, we want all our patients to have a positive dental experience. Sometime children may become fearful, anxious, or have the inability to cooperate during treatment. In situations like these, Dr. Derrow may recommend sedation for your child. There are several options available, including the following:
- Nitrous Oxide: Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is used to relax children during dental treatment. It is made up of oxygen and nitrous oxide and is given through a small mask placed over the child’s nose. This allows them to relax without putting them to sleep. Nitrous oxide is a mild gas that is easily taken through normal breathing and is quickly eliminated from the body. It is a very safe and effective technique for treating your child’s dental needs.
- Conscious Sedation: When your child is experiencing anxiety or discomfort associated with dental treatment, conscious sedation may be recommended. With conscious sedation, your child may be quite drowsy and may even fall asleep, but they will not be unconscious. There are many different medications that can be used for this type of sedation. Medication will be prescribed that is best for your child based on their overall health and needed dental treatment.
- Outpatient General Anesthesia: When major dental work is required, outpatient general anesthesia may be the best choice for your child. This treatment is performed in the hospital and puts your child completely asleep. This may be recommended for your child if the procedures will take a long time to complete, or if they need several procedures done all at the same time.
If sedation is recommended for your child, you will be provided with further information about how to prepare your child for the sedation and what you can expect after the procedure. As with all our services, Auburn Pediatric Dentistry will always discuss all options with parents before any decisions will be made.