American River Dental
Your child’s teeth are an important part of staying healthy. We know you have many questions about them so see if we have already answered one them below.
Click on a Question to expand and see the Answer.
Healthy teeth are important to your baby’s overall health. Teeth help your baby chew food and form words and sounds when speaking. They also affect the way your baby’s jaw grows.
Every baby is different. Generally, the 2 front teeth start to appear between 4 and 7 months of age. Teething is usually painless, but it can make some babies uncomfortable and fussy. Giving your baby a cold teething ring or a cold washcloth to chew or suck on may help. Teething does not cause a fever. If your baby has a fever, you should talk to your doctor.
Start cleaning your baby’s teeth twice a day as soon as the first tooth appears. Until your child is 1 year old, you can use a wet wash cloth or gauze to clean your baby’s teeth and gums. At about 1 year to 18 months of age, you should start using a soft baby toothbrush and a small dab of toothpaste that does not have fluoride in it. This type of toothpaste is safe for your baby to swallow.
Be sure to take your baby to a dentist by his or her first birthday, especially if there is a high risk for cavities or any other problems with his or her teeth. It is better for your child to meet the dentist and see the office before he or she has a tooth problem.
Now known as “Early Childhood Caries” is an aggressive form of caries that occurs in infants and very young children. It is typically associated with prolonged consumption of liquids containing sugar and affects initially the top front teeth, later spreading to other “baby teeth.” Because of the aggressive nature of this disease, early intervention is necessary.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend that ALL children should see a dentist before age one.
By swallowing too much fluoride for the child’s size and weight during the years of tooth development, a child can develop enamel fluorosis. This can happen in several different ways.
First, a child may take more of a fluoride supplement than the amount prescribed.
Second, the child may take a fluoride supplement when there is already an optimal amount of fluoride in the drinking water.
Third, some children simply like the taste of fluoridated toothpaste. They may use too much toothpaste, and then swallow it instead of spitting it out.
In general, children need x-rays more often than adults. Their mouths grow and change rapidly. They are more susceptible to tooth decay than adults. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends x-ray examinations every six months for children with a high risk of tooth decay. Children with a low risk of tooth decay require x-rays less frequently.
X-rays allow dentists to diagnose and treat health conditions that cannot be detected during a clinical examination. If dental problems are found and treated early, dental care is more comfortable and affordable.
X-ray films detect:
– Erupting teeth
– Diagnose bone diseases
– Evaluate the results of an injury
– Plan orthodontic treatment
Particular care is applied to minimize the exposure of young patients to radiation. With contemporary safeguards, the amount of radiation received in a dental x-ray examination is extremely small. The risk is negligible. In fact, dental x-rays represent a far smaller risk than an undetected and untreated dental problem.
It is completely normal and healthy for your baby or young child to suck on a thumb, finger, or pacifier. Children usually give up sucking habits on their own by the time they are 4 to 5 years old.
If they stop the habit at this age, the shape of the jaw is usually not affected and the teeth grow in normally.
Children who continue sucking on a pacifier, finger, or thumb when their permanent adult teeth start to come in are more likely to have bite problems.
Sucking can cause:
– The top front teeth to slant out
– The bottom front teeth to tilt in
– The upper and lower jaws to be misaligned
– The roof of the mouth to be narrowed
– The need for braces
Treatment: Your doctor may decide to construct an appliance to discourage thumb sucking.
We only provide in-office sedation to patients who are 13 years old or older. For patients 12 and younger, we will refer out or provide specialized care through our hospital dentistry services.
In cases with extensive decay, we are limited by the maximum dosage of local anesthetic that we can use. As a rule, we also consider your child’s comfort after he/she leaves the clinic in order to determine how much local anesthetic we can use.
Very young children are at high risk of biting their lips or chewing on the inside part of their cheeks after they receive local anesthetic (a lidocaine shot). This usually happens because of their natural curiosity; they try to feel the area or areas that are numb.
For these and other reasons, it is unlikely that we could work on all of your child’s teeth at once. An exception to this rule would be a child that is taken to the operating room.
A conscious oral sedation is a procedure in which a child is given an oral medication that causes a depressed level of consciousness.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) has clearly defined the indications for this procedure, and they are as follows:
A) Preschool children who cannot understand or cooperate for definitive treatment.
B) Patients requiring dental care who cannot cooperate due to a lack of psychological or emotional maturity.
C) Patients requiring dental treatment who cannot cooperate due to a cognitive, physical or medical disability.
D) Patients who require dental care but are fearful, anxious and cannot cooperate for treatment.
As with any procedure in which a child’s conscious state is altered, there are some risks involved. The main risks (serious complications) associated with conscious sedation include, but are not limited to: aspiration, respiratory arrest, cardiac arrest, and death.
Because your child will be partially awake, local dental anesthesia (a lidocaine shot) is still needed; and this may limit the extent of work that we can provide.
Sedation dentistry is also an option in cases of accidents or trauma; but in these situations, the decision to administer the medication must take into consideration the risk of aspiration (breathing vomit into the lungs) and any head trauma that may have occurred. If your child is a candidate for a conscious sedation, please make sure you follow the instructions provided by your pediatric dentist.
The use of general anesthesia for dental work in children is sometimes necessary in order to provide safe, efficient, and predictable care. The general anesthetic is given to your child by a specialist (anesthesiologist) and ONLY after the child has been thoroughly screened by a physician. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recognizes the need for general anesthesia in certain situations where challenges relating to the child’s age, behavior, medical conditions, developmental disabilities, intellectual limitations, or special treatment needs may warrant it.
Pediatric dentists are, by virtue of training and experience, qualified to recognize the indications for such an approach and to render such care. Your pediatric dentist and his staff will discuss all the necessary steps that must be taken in order to promptly and safely complete your child’s dental treatment after this treatment option has been chosen.
Like any procedure in which a child’s conscious state is altered, there are some risks involved. The main risks (serious complications) associated with an oral sedation include, but are not limited to: Allergic reaction, respiratory arrest, cardiac arrest, and death. Statistically, the chances of a serious complication are similar to those of being involved in a life-threatening motor vehicle accident. Please make sure you fully understand as a parent or legal guardian all the risks involved with this procedure. Also review the instructions that you must follow the day before the procedure.
This is the one of the most commonly asked questions that we get from our patient’s parents. We try to minimize the discomfort of the injection by placing a gel that works as a local anesthetic and numbs the tissue were the injection will be administered. Profound local anesthesia is usually obtained five to ten minutes after the injection, depending on the area of the mouth where the anesthetic was placed. We always check to confirm that the area is numb before we begin to work. In cases of localized infection or trauma (like broken teeth), it is very difficult to obtain profound anesthesia. However, we do have other means of supplementing the anesthetic (like conjoined use of nitrous-oxide gas, medications, or conscious sedation). Younger children, particularly pre-schoolers, may interpret the feeling of numbness as pain, and therefore cry. Please follow the post-operative instructions that we give you, in order to minimize complications such as lip biting.