As a kids dentist in McLean, we treat many of the same issues in children as we do in adults. While the diseases and many of the treatments are the same, this is where the similarities end. Children are generally inquisitive in nature and want to know everything that is going on. When you place a child in a dental office, even though we are a kid’s dentist, they are going to have a level of apprehension.
We are patient with children’s dental care
Surrounded by equipment, white coats everywhere, and a fear of the unknown can lead many children to become nervous. This fear then exacerbates their inability to help with a diagnosis. When we are working with adults, we simply have to ask them questions about their problems. This includes things like the location of the discomfort and when it started.
Children are much less literal, so when parents ask about a pain in their mouth, they are more likely to be vague. Trying to find out when something began can often mean relying on the parent for information since children typically do not have a concept of time.
As a kids dentist, we always feel concern when a parent calls in asking about sensitivity in a child’s teeth. Sensitivity often has a deeper root cause that is making the child unable to bite into something cold, hot, or often times sweet. We always want to know about sensitivity, and more than likely we will ask the parent to bring the child in for an examination. Toothaches and sensitivity are among the number one reason many children will miss school and typically they are caused by cavities.
Proper oral hygiene is crucial
The problem we treat most frequently in children is cavities. A cavity is a small hole in the enamel of the tooth that is due to decay. Most parents know that bacteria exist in the human mouth. This bacteria will attempt to colonize the child’s teeth. In the process, a thin film, known as plaque, will form on the teeth.
If one does not clean the plaque regularly, it will build up and cause severe damage to the teeth. The bacteria in the plaque feed on sweet and starchy foods. When the bacteria have access to these elements, the bacteria secrete acid, which in turn works to wear down the enamel of the tooth. Eventually, a cavity forms. There is, however, good news for parents. As a kids dentist, we know that cavities are among the easiest things to avoid. Avoiding a cavity involves two things.
First, parents have to be willing to restrict their children’s access to foods that are high in starch and/or sugar. Second, parents need to teach their children excellent oral hygiene habits since we all know how much children love sugar. Good habits include twice daily brushing, flossing, and rinsing after meals and snacks. We also suggest using a fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash to strengthen teeth and to help reduce their risk of getting cavities. They should also visit our kids dentist office at least two times every year for an examination and teeth cleaning.
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