Posts for category: Dental Procedures
Dental disease doesn’t discriminate by age. Although certain types of disease are more common in adults, children are just as susceptible, particularly to tooth decay.
Unfortunately, the early signs of disease in a child’s teeth can be quite subtle—that’s why you as a parent should keep alert for any signs of a problem. Here are 3 things you might notice that definitely need your dentist’s attention.
Cavities. Tooth decay occurs when mouth acid erodes tooth enamel and forms holes or cavities. The infection can continue to grow and affect deeper parts of the tooth like the pulp and root canals, eventually endangering the tooth’s survival. If you notice tiny brown spots on their teeth, this may indicate the presence of cavities—you should see your dentist as soon as possible. To account for what you don’t see, have your child visit your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings and checkups.
Toothache. Tooth pain can range from a sensitive twinge of pain when eating or drinking hot or cold foods to a throbbing sharp pain. Whatever its form, a child’s toothache might indicate advancing decay in which the infection has entered the tooth pulp and is attacking the nerves. If your child experiences any form of toothache, see your dentist the next day if possible. Even if the pain goes away, don’t cancel the appointment—it’s probable the infection is still there and growing.
Bleeding gums. Gums don’t normally bleed during teeth brushing—the gums are much more resilient unless they’ve been weakened by periodontal (gum) disease (although over-aggressive brushing could also be a cause). If you notice your child’s gums bleeding after brushing, see your dentist as soon as possible—the sooner they receive treatment for any gum problems the less damage they’ll experience, and the better chance of preserving any affected teeth.
Dental fillings help keep teeth strong and healthy. When children develop a cavity in a primary or baby tooth, it is important to remove all signs of decay, clean out the tooth, and seal it with a filling. The filling strengthens and restores the tooth. At Sunnyside Dentistry for Children, Dr. David Doyle is your pediatric dentist for children’s dental fillings in Clackamas, OR.
How Important are Fillings?
It is easy to dismiss the need for a filling when the affected tooth is a baby tooth that will eventually fall out. However, fillings help keep teeth healthy and healthy baby teeth can contribute to healthy permanent teeth. Signs of possible decay include tooth pain and sensitivity, as well as weak areas in the tooth or the enamel. A pediatric dentist can identify the signs of decay in your child’s teeth.
When an infected tooth is left untreated, decay can spread and progress. It is important to remove decay when it develops in order to prevent it from spreading to other areas. Treatment of an infected tooth involves removing signs of decay and cleaning the tooth. Once the decay is removed, an empty cavity remains. That cavity can leave a tooth weak and vulnerable to additional decay. Fillings are used to protect teeth from additional decay, strengthen weak areas, and restore teeth so your child can resume biting and chewing food free of pain or sensitivity.
What are Tooth-Colored Fillings?
Tooth-colored fillings are made from a composite resin material that matches the color of natural teeth. Since they match the color of natural teeth, tooth-colored fillings readily blend in and are not noticeable to others. Additionally, some parents appreciate the fact that tooth-colored fillings do not contain any metals.
Dental fillings help your child’s teeth remain healthy and strong. For pediatric dental fillings in Clackamas, OR schedule an apportionment with Dr. Doyle by calling Sunnyside Dentistry for Children at (503) 855-5100.
Good oral health and hygiene habits begin in childhood. Everything from sugary snacks and drinks to unsteady brushing and flossing technique can make children especially susceptible to cavities and tooth decay. And despite the fact that primary (baby) teeth are temporary, they play an important role in your child's development. Dr. David Doyle, a pediatric dentist in Clackamas, OR, recommends scheduling your child's first dental appointment by age one or after 6 to 8 teeth erupt, whichever comes first.
Fluoride Treatments and Pediatric Dentistry in Clackamas, OR
In addition to working with your child to help them develop good brushing techniques and oral hygiene habits early, there are a few dentistry services available to help protect their teeth from cavities and decay. Pediatric fluoride treatments (also known as fluoride varnish) are applied several times a year to help protect young children's teeth from tooth decay and cavities. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, infants should receive oral health risk assessments even before the first tooth erupts, by age six months.
Just like adults, certain children are more susceptible to tooth decay and oral health problems than others. Fluoride treatments are a form of preventive care available for pediatric patients.
How Fluoride Treatments Work
The fluoride varnish acts like a protective coating that is applied directly onto the front and back surface of the teeth. It is a non-invasive procedure that only takes minutes while the dentist applies the varnish with a brush. Once it has been applied, the varnish hardens and dries when it comes into contact with the saliva. They can eat and drink right away (but hot and hard foods should be avoided for a few hours after application). It is still necessary to brush and floss regularly after fluoride treatments.
Find a Pediatric Dentist in Clackamas, OR
For more information about fluoride treatments and dentistry services for your children, contact our office by calling
(503)-855-5100 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Doyle today.
Taking care of your child’s teeth is a high priority, not only for their health now but for the future too. And that means dealing with their teeth’s most common and formidable enemy, tooth decay.
Your focus, of course, should be on preventing decay through good oral hygiene practices, a healthy diet low in foods with added sugar and regular office visits for cleaning and checkups. But some children at higher risk or who’ve already encountered tooth decay may also need a little extra help in the form of dental sealants.
The most common use of sealants addresses a weakness in young teeth that disease-causing bacteria exploit. Deep grooves known as pits and fissures form within the biting surfaces of developing back teeth and in the rear of front teeth.Â It’s very difficult to reach these areas with daily brushing, so some plaque may be left behind (hence the importance of semi-annual office cleanings).
Inside the mouth, these pits and fissures are in a warm and moist environment and are a haven for bacteria that feed on plaque and produce high levels of acid as a by-product. The acid softens enamel to eventually create a hole, or a “cavity” in the tooth. Children’s young enamel is highly susceptible to this process — it hasn’t developed enough strength to resist the adverse effects of acid.
A “pit and fissure” sealant made of resin fills in the grooves in the teeth to inhibit the buildup of plaque — a kind of “mini” filling. It’s an added layer of protection that complements other prevention efforts. But applying them isn’t an automatic practice — we only recommend it for children at high risk, especially where decay is beginning or it appears the conditions are conducive for it. When needed, though, it can be quite effective in preventing decay or minimizing its effects.
The best way to know if your child could benefit from a sealant is to have them undergo a complete dental exam. From there we can advise you on whether a sealant application is an important investment in their current and future health.
If you would like more information on dental disease prevention for children, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Sealants for Children.”
Have you heard about dental sealants? These preventive treatments have been available for many decades, and more and more children are taking advantage of them. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that around 30% of kids from 6 to 11 years of age have had sealants applied to their molars (back teeth). Sealants are designed to reduce the incidence of cavities by filling in or eliminating the pits or crevices found in all molars, where decay-causing bacteria can hide and your brush can't reach. But do they really work?
Now, the research is in, and the answer is clear — YES!
Two major studies, each of which reviewed the results of thousands of patients over several years, recently came to the same conclusion: Dental sealants are effective at reducing cavities, and their benefits can last for four years (or more) after application. In general, the studies showed that kids who didn't get sealants were twice, three times, or even more likely to get cavities, compared to kids treated with sealants.
Sealants themselves are protective coatings made of plastic resins or glass-like materials. They are applied in liquid form, and then hardened by a special light. When “painted on” to the chewing surface of a molar, sealants fill in the tiny crevices, or “pits and fissures,” that are found there. Uneven tooth surfaces form a perfect breeding ground for the bacteria that cause tooth decay; worse yet, the bristles of a tooth brush can't usually reach them. That's what makes these areas highly susceptible to tooth decay.
Applying sealants is a quick and painless procedure that doesn't require any numbing shots or drilling. Many kids start getting sealants when the first permanent molars come in, around age 5 to 7; they may have more sealant treatments when additional molars emerge, between the ages of 11 and 14.
Sealants are recommended by the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and have only a modest cost per tooth. On the other hand, having a cavity filled generally costs substantially more, and may result in more trouble (and expense) down the line — so sealants can make sense economically, as well as preventively. This is especially true for those at high risk for tooth decay.
If you have questions about dental sealants, please contact us or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Sealants for Children,” and “Top 10 Oral Health Tips for Children.”