Specializing in the dental needs of pediatric & adolescent patients
Dental appointments for children are important to evaluate the teeth and gums as well as to educate the young patient for a lifetime of dental hygiene. At Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, NY our caring pediatric dentists will talk with you about your child's oral health and hygiene, including teething, fluoride, brushing and flossing, cavities, sealants and orthodontics.
During a check-up we will evaluate:
- How many teeth are present
- Loose teeth
- Gum health
- Bite and habit evaluation
- Tongue and speech
- Fluoride use
- Diet and health history
- Home care and prevention
Why Is It Important For My Child To Have ROutine Dental Exams
Tooth decay doesn't discriminate by age. It can affect adults, teens and even your infant or toddler. As parents, it's our role to set our children on the path of good oral health. Cavity prevention is a vital part of that.
When food remains on the teeth, it is consumed by bacteria that are naturally present in the mouth. These bacteria convert the food into acid, ultimately contributing to the production of plaque, a sticky substance that clings to the teeth. The acids in plaque will harm the enamel of the tooth, creating cavities.
Tooth decay is a serious problem and can ultimately lead to infection, pain and loss of teeth. A few simple steps you can take to prevent tooth decay in your child include:
- Never put your baby to sleep with a bottle containing anything except water. - Putting your child to sleep with a bottle containing juice or milk is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to early childhood cavities.
- Start to teach brushing habits. - Once most of your child's baby teeth are in, it's time to start brushing at least twice a day.
- Supervise independent brushing. - As children become familiar with brushing, they often want to do it themselves. This is okay, but until they're at least five, make sure their teeth are indeed clean and that they're not swallowing any toothpaste.
When Should My Child Have Their First Dental Exam?
According to The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, your child should have their first dental visit between the ages of 6 and 12 months. During this well-baby dental exam, we look for early dental issues, talk about proper care of your baby's teeth and start to address your child's fluoride needs.
We will examine your baby for signs of decay and other dental problems. Early detection is key; the earlier your child comes in, the sooner we can catch and address any problems. We also will teach you about the proper care of your baby's teeth. You will be shown how to clean your child's teeth and gums using a soft washcloth.
A child's first exam is a great time for new parents to ask questions and voice their concerns. We will discuss issues with teething, avoiding cavities, good feeding practices and when to schedule your child's first complete dental exam with X-rays.
Early observation and treatment of facial growth and development
Straight teeth are not only more attractive teeth, but they decrease your chances of other, more serious problems. If you are seeing any of these warning signs in your child, it may be time to schedule a consultation:
- Protruding teeth
- Teeth that do not meet or that meet in an irregular way
- Crowding or misplaced teeth
- Difficulty biting or chewing
- Difficulties with speech
At a consultation, we can discuss potential treatment plans, as well as prepare for orthodontia if necessary.
What Are Pediatric restorations techniques and modalities?
Dental restorations are procedures to repair a damaged or decayed tooth. The restorations most frequently made in children are fillings after a cavity has been discovered in either a primary or permanent tooth.
Dental fillings are used to improve the appearance and functionality of teeth affected by damage or decay. The filling materials help to even out tooth surfaces for more efficient biting and chewing. These restorations can last for many years and help keep the tooth looking and functioning at its best.
What Are Pediatric Restorations Made Out Of?
Restorations can be made from a number of different materials;
- Composite fillings are made of a glass or quartz filler within a resin medium that produces a tooth-colored material. They are often used in small to mid-size restorations, as they provide strength, durability and resistance to fracture. The shade of composite fillings is made to closely match the patient's actual teeth, so that other people will not be aware that dental work has been done.
- Glass ionomers are also tooth-colored fillings that are made of a mixture of acrylic and glass, and are most often used in young children, as they release fluoride. However, this material is weaker than composites and usually lasts less than five years before a replacement is needed.
- Amalgam fillings have been used for many years and are strong, durable and relatively inexpensive compared to other materials. Although effective, many patients do not choose to use amalgam fillings because of their silver color that can be visible while eating, speaking or smiling.
- Crowns may also be used in pediatric dental restorations when a tooth has been badly damaged due to cavities or congenital defects. It is essential to keep the space of the tooth occupied so that other teeth do not shift and become misaligned as well as to prevent bone loss.
The Special Needs patient
Many special needs children have particular dental needs and, as pediatric dentists, we are trained to care for all of them. In some cases, special needs children are more susceptible to tooth decay or gum diseaseor may have trouble achieving good dental hygiene at home. Others may take medication that can be damaging to the teeth.
Pediatric dentists teach the same methods of preventive dentistry to special needs children as they do to any others, focusing on improving brushing and flossing techniques, using fluoride toothpaste and curbing sugary snacks. Part of the pediatric dentist training also involves making patients feel comfortable and relieving anxiety in any patient. To this end, pediatric dentists are skilled in behavior management as well as effective, safe types of anesthesia and sedation. We can discuss the options with you as to how to most efficiently and comfortably treat your special needs child.
Establishing trust and confidence
Pediatric dentists strive to establish a bond of trust and confidence between themselves and each patient. The more comfortable they can make a child feel, the more relaxed the child will be in the dental office and willingly submit to having their teeth checked, cleaned and any necessary work done. Pediatric dentists know good communication is essential with their patients, both to help them feel a sense of confidence in their dentist and to increase the likelihood that they will comply with oral health care instructions for good hygiene at home.
Trained extensively in child psychology
Specialists in pediatric dentistry have extensive training that allows them to provide the best care possible for children's health and development needs. After completing their dental school education, pediatric dentists complete two to three years of further training that focuses on child psychology, health and growth. We understand the anxiety some children feel when going to the dentist for a check-up or a procedure, and we are well versed in handling this. Some children can be soothed by speaking with them, others need distractions and still others may require a little more sedation to help them relax. Our training helps us recognize the best way to go about treating each unique child.
Emergency pediatric facial trauma
Facial trauma involves any kind of injury to the face, teeth, gums or jaw line. Patients may experience trauma as a result of a sports injury, motor vehicle accident, fight or other type of incident. These injuries can range from facial cuts and lacerations to more serious problems such as broken teeth and fractures. Trauma is most common among children, and the most common type of injury is a fracture of the tooth crown.
Patients who experience dental trauma often have pain, loose or missing teeth, socket bleeding and may have additional jaw and soft tissue damage as well. Your dentist will likely perform a series of X-rays in order to evaluate the extent of damage and determine the best treatment option for your individual condition.
Our surgeons are trained to treat a wide range of dental traumas and provide emergency care for the following problems:
- Facial, lip and intra-oral lacerations
- Fractured or avulsed (knocked-out) teeth
- Fractured facial bones (cheek or nose)
- Fractured jaw (upper and lower jaw)
Treatment for dental trauma depends on the type and severity of the injury. Dental restorations such as crowns or bridges may be used to repair chipped, cracked or broken teeth. A broken jaw may require surgery to realign the bone and allow for proper healing. Any type of facial trauma should be treated immediately to prevent any further damage from occurring.