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If you or someone you know has a child then you might have been looking for a pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentistry is an important part of our overall dentistry at Jackson Family Dentistry. We have been serving the Jackson area for over 30 years and have experienced many child-specific dental concerns and we address these with our patients on a regular basis. These concerns are normally seen very early in childhood and if addressed early can minimize dental concerns in the future. The most common concerns we address is baby bottle tooth decay, thumb sucking, and pre-mature baby tooth loss. By addressing and educating our patients about these concerns we are better able to prevent long-term effects.
Baby bottle tooth decay or early childhood carries, is a common problem with children under age 5. This occurs when a baby or young child is exposed to sugars too often. These sugars are found in milk, juice, and formula and it’s this sugar that will eventually cause cavities. Even though a child will lose their teeth eventually, taking care of them while they are still present is very important. According to the WDA (Wisconsin Dental Association), 25% of children age 3-4 have untreated tooth decay. When tooth decay initially starts, small white spots can be seen on the child’s teeth. At this point, using fluoride can remineralize the teeth and actually stop the decay process if caught quickly. We also advise parents to brush their young child’s teeth themselves until the child is old enough to do so on their own. Not only will this keep decay to a minimum but it will also build good brushing habits while they are young, which they will continue as they age. Water is always the best for a late night drink as it does not contain sugar and will not cause decay to form throughout the night.
Another concern we see with smaller children is thumb sucking and pacifier use. This is completely normal for children to do and normally does not pose any threat to the child’s health. However, the problem arises if the child is older and has not stopped. Thumb sucking can cause an array of dental problems when continued into the child’s toddler years. Misalignment of the upper and lower jaw, misaligned teeth and an overbite, are all caused by this. Having a knowledgeable and caring staff to help you and your child will greatly increase the effectiveness of quitting. We often find that simply using positive reinforcement will help your older child give up their habit.
Finally, tooth loss is the third most common concern we have for early childhood development. Tooth loss can occur for a variety of reasons such as tooth decay, injury or inadequate jaw space. If baby teeth are lost too soon they can cause neighboring teeth to shift, which could cause permanent teeth to come in at an angle. This would want to be avoided as crooked teeth will lead to improper chewing and potentially greater problems as the child grows older.
If you have a child that is showing any of these concerns you should talk to a dental professional. Early detection is important, at Jackson Family Dentistry we advise all of our parents to bring their child in for an exam when their teeth first start to come in. We will be able to address these common concerns as well as anything else that might need to be addressed.