From the growth of your baby’s first tooth, to your teen’s need for invisible braces, the team at DeStefano Dentistry provides the absolute best in pediatric dental care. Because Dr. DeStefano is trained in all facets of family dentistry, our dental clinic is the perfect choice as your pediatric dentist. Serving Pittsford, Rochester and Brighton, our staff promises the very best patient and compassionate care for your child.
What is Pediatric Dentistry?
Pediatric dentistry, or pedodontics, is an area of dentistry that specializes in treating children’s oral health. Pediatric dentistry presents its own set of challenges and nuances. Knowing how to calm a frighten child and understanding the dental issues that are unique to children takes special care and dedicated patience. Our entire team constantly strives to provide the utmost in compassionate care in order to make your little one feel completely at ease. And hopefully, even enjoy going to their dentist.
Why is Pediatric Dentistry Important?
Dental appointments for children are very important so that a dentist can evaluate the child’s tooth and gum health. We can also educate them on preventing dental problems throughout their lives. A child should have his/her first dental exam about six months after the first tooth erupts from the gums, and should visit every six month thereafter.
A pediatric dentist, or pedodontist, can offer specialized oral care that a general dentist may not be able to. Dr. DeStefano is trained in examining and treating children in an environment that makes them feel comfortable.
What Age Should I Take My Child to the Dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children begin to receive dental care within six months of their first tooth growing in. Usually, this means that a child sees their pedodontist sometime before or around their first birthday. If your child is older and has not yet seen the dentist, you’re not alone. A study by the AAPD discovered that more than 30 percent of children did not see the dentist until after age 2. The reason given by more than half of the primary caregivers polled was that the child “did not have enough teeth” to warrant dental care. When we look again at the functions that baby teeth perform, we are better able to see the value of early dental care.
How Often Should a Child See the Dentist?
We usually recommend that children see their pedodontist every six months. This schedule of routine exams and cleanings provides us with the best opportunity to catch tooth decay or other problems while still in the early stages. Earlier detection of issues like cavities leads to shorter, more conservative treatment and an overall happier patient.
What Should I Expect at My Childs First Visit?
When a child comes in to see the dentist at the recommended age, there is usually no restorative work that needs to be done. The goal of the first visit is to help the infant or child become acquainted with the whole idea of dental exams. This appointment typically lasts 30 minutes to an hour and includes a thorough consultation and discussion of any concerns and recommendations. The child’s teeth and gums will be examined and, if needed and tolerated, a gentle cleaning may be performed to remove any plaque or tartar that may have adhered to teeth. X-rays are not usually recommended unless absolutely necessary.
If your child has not seen the dentist and you have questions about what to expect, we would love to speak with you. Our staff is aware of the challenges that young children may have with dental care. It is our intent to make every visit as productive and comfortable as possible for the patient as well as their parents.
How Often Will My Child Need X-Rays?
Pediatric dentists generally ascribe to the motto “As Low As Reasonably Achievable” when it comes to performing x-rays on children. What this means is that x-rays are suggested only as needed. When a child comes in for their first dental visit sometime around their first birthday and there is plenty of space around the few teeth they have, we may not need x-rays to fully understand their oral health needs. Children of any age who have a history of decay may need x-rays every six to 12 months to observe areas in between teeth as well as beneath the gum line.
We encourage parents to ask questions if they are concerned about x-rays or interested in knowing why the dentist wishes to take x-rays of their child’s teeth and oral anatomy.
Why Are The Primary Teeth So Important?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry strongly encourages parents to maintain baby teeth in good condition so they can be lost naturally. This is because a child’s baby teeth:
- Help them chew and digest foods well.
- Hold space for permanent teeth to grow into.
- Aid in speech development.
- Facilitate good self-esteem.
Baby teeth are an important aspect of oral health; not only during childhood but throughout life. Early dental care supports parents and children in developing healthy hygiene strategies.
Pediatric Dental Treatments
There are several aspects of pediatric dental care and we observe every one as important. Treatments we provide revolve around conditions including:
- Cavities. Tooth decay is progressive and easily treated when detected early. Cavities are treated in a single office visit by removing the decayed enamel and placing a filling to fortify the tooth.
- Teeth defects. Enamel irregularities may result from developmental problems or facial trauma. If needed, treatment such as a tooth-colored filling can be performed to repair the tooth.
- Dental injuries. Children are susceptible to falls and accidents that could injure a tooth or teeth. Even if it is a baby tooth that is injured, it is important to obtain a thorough examination from the child’s dentist. Injuries to permanent teeth may be addressed by re-implanting a tooth that has been knocked-out or repairing a tooth that has been damaged.
- Malocclusion. Malocclusion means that upper and lower teeth are not properly aligned; they do not meet in chewing. Orthodontic treatment is a common treatment for malocclusion.
- Gum disease. Inflammation and infection in the gums can affect growing teeth and lifelong oral health. While gum disease primarily develops in adulthood, we are careful to examine the soft tissue in the mouth for signs of this condition.
- Speech-related disorders. A child’s speech development relies on proper dental anatomy. Malocclusion in the front teeth (open bite) and a restricted frenulum are two common reasons a child may encounter speech-related difficulty.
- Tongue tie (restricted frenulum). The frenulum is a piece of soft tissue that connects the underside of the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. When the frenulum is restricted (short), tongue movement is limited and may affect speech. Minor surgery can be performed to correct this problem.
- Oral conditions related to other diseases or underlying conditions. Children with existing medical conditions such as type I diabetes may be more susceptible to dental problems. Likewise, dental problems can spiral in children with a chronic illness or a suppressed immune system. We seek to meet the needs of every patient by first understanding this susceptibility.
- Mouth guards for sports. Physical activities and sports are good for a child’s wellbeing but also present the opportunity for dental injury. Studies indicate that custom-made mouth guards offer more protection than those purchased off a store shelf.
How Do I Prevent Cavities?
Children are susceptible to cavities largely because they are unable to adequately take care of their own teeth. Children rely on their caregivers to first provide complete oral care for them and then, as they become more capable, to teach them efficient ways to brush and floss their teeth.
Cavity prevention in children does not begin and end with avoiding sugar. There are several ways that children can be supported in lifelong oral health. Common suggestions include:
- Avoid giving an infant a bottle with milk or juice before bedtime. Water only. This is important even for infants who do not have teeth. The sugar residue that lingers in the mouth creates acidity that can affect forming teeth.
- Clean an infant’s gums with a soft, moist cloth.
- Clean an infant’s teeth with an infant toothbrush.
- Provide demonstration and oversight to a child based on their cognitive and physical abilities. Your dentist can assist you based on your child’s particular needs.
- Give children healthy snacks such as crunchy fruits and vegetables. These clean teeth naturally and can dilute sugar residue from other foods.
- Ensure that a child is receiving oral care or is brushing and flossing daily as recommended by their dentist.
Schedule Your Pediatric Dentistry Consultation Today!
With continued education, state-of-the-art equipment and modern innovations in dental techniques, the DeStefano team ensures that your entire family is well taken care of at each and every appointment. With a centrally-convenient location, the DeStefano Dentistry clinic is currently taking new clients. Schedule your child’s appointment with us by calling 585.248.2383.