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Children's dentistry 101

Everything you need to know about your children and choosing the best dentist.

Here at Smile Always, we pride ourselves on being general dentists that create a fun and engaging dental environment for your whole family in Parker, CO. We know how challenging it can be to schedule dental appointments for everyone. That is why you can come in as a family at Smile Always Dental; with convenient times and a schedule that works with yours.

When should my kids be seen by a dentist?

Both the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry agree that kids should be seen by their first birthday or first tooth; whichever comes first. This recommendation is backed by evidence-based science. However many parents are unaware of this and bring their children in for visits later. If you have missed your child’s first visit, do not worry! Schedule an appointment for your kids quickly and easily online HERE or by calling or texting 303-243-5110.  

Young Child Getting Dental Exam

Why is it important for my child to see a dentist?

We encourage parents to bring their children in to see the dentist by their first tooth or first birthday; whichever comes first, for three important reasons. 

First, we want children to form the correct habits while they still have their baby teeth so that when they get their permanent set; they have the right habits to keep their smiles healthy so they can keep their teeth for their entire lives. 

Secondly, if the kiddos do have any gingival inflammation or dental caries, it is caused by the presence of virulent and contagious bacteria. If we are unable to heal their mouths while they still have baby teeth and fill their cavities; then these bacteria can transfer to their adult teeth as they grow and cause irreparable damage to their adult set. 

And lastly, when children are seen at the dentist from a young age, they become more comfortable with the dental experience. We call this “creating a dental home.” If we are able to create a fun, supportive and safe dental home for them, it will decrease the likelihood of dental anxiety as they become adults. 

What potential dental problems could my child have?

Little Girl Brushing TeethThere are numerous dental conditions that children could have and it is very important to catch them early. One of the most common and problematic conditions which our office works hard to prevent against is early childhood caries. Early childhood caries is the most prevalent disease for children in the US; it is more common than asthma and allergies. It is the single largest reason for missing school in elementary age children. If caught early enough, dental professionals can prevent pain, tooth loss and further infection. Children can also have gum disease or gingivitis. More than 40% of kids younger than 3 years old have some form of mild gingival irritation. Which if left untreated can cause pain, bleeding gums and even tooth loss when older. 

We also can address habits like thumb sucking, which can impact your child’s bite. We are happy to discuss risk factors for these conditions. With the chance for earlier intervention, we can help create healthy young smiles which lead to healthy adult smiles.  

Why are baby teeth so important?

The first set of teeth children have are called primary or deciduous teeth; they are vitally important for total body health. Primary teeth help children chew properly, eat and maintain their nutritional intake; and help with speech development. In addition, they contribute to adequate growth of facial bone and help to structure the facial profile. Having a healthy smile helps children develop both physically and socially. 

Children who have healthy dentition and are not in pain are happier children. When the health of primary teeth is compromised, it can lead to chronic infection and bacterial load. In addition it can cause abnormal development of jaw bones and muscles; inadequate room for permanent teeth, the need for future braces, and malnutrition. Losing baby teeth too soon can can cause permanent teeth to come in crooked. 

Cavities in baby teeth can cause abscesses which lead to painful, long-term infections; which the body needs to fight off, and can then spread to the permanent teeth. It is very common for untreated dental conditions to affect your child’s full body health. 

My kid has a black or yellow spot on their tooth. Should I be worried?

Yellow and black spots can be many different things including cavities, congenital defects in dentin or enamel, fluoride spots, or more. It is very challenging to tell which of these is the case without doing an examination. Therefore, if you notice any changes in your child’s dentition, make an appointment as soon as possible to have our dentist take a peek. You should not wait until their next cleaning, as things like cavities are time-sensitive and can grow very quickly in the case of younger teeth.

My child grinds their teeth at night. Should I be worried?

Children tend to grind their teeth especially when they are in transition (losing teeth or growing new teeth). It can sound very abrasive and can be very concerning but usually grinding teeth is a phase children go through while growing and will likely outgrow it. If you are concerned about your child’s grinding, make an appointment with our doctors they can look at your child’s teeth to see if there is any prevalent damage.

What is the difference between a general dentist who sees kids and a pediatric dentist?

At our office, we absolutely see children and are general dentists who care for the entire family. We love to see children and create a fun and educational environment for them to find their dental home. We recognize that some treatments can be challenging and therefore have a great network of dental specialists for our patients, if needed.

Pediatric dentists are dental specialists that go to school to specialize in certain more involved procedures for children. If your child has more complex needs, we will help you find the right dental specialist to help address those needs. But the vast majority of our young patients can get amazing care from our team at Smile Always. In either case, we become your partners in care, your advocates and we will help you find the ideal care that is right for you and your family.

How can I prepare my child for their dental visit?

This is a very common question and we are super glad when parents ask this. It means you are interested in helping make the visit a positive one. We encourage you to talk with your child about the visit in a similar way you would prepare them for any other first, like a haircut or trip to their pediatrician. Let them know that is a normal visit and one to help keep them healthy. 

Remember that dentistry has changed a lot in the past few decades and this experience will not be similar to dental visits potentially in your past, which may have been frightening or painful. We recognize that many adults are fearful of the dentist and if you have some dental anxiety, then the less you say the better. Children tend to have a radar for your fear or nervousness and it can be difficult to hide from them. 

We recommend the following books to borrow from your local library to talk about the experience together. Have fun going through these books with your child. Your child’s reaction to his or her first visit to the dentist may surprise you. We look forward to helping your family achieve optimal oral health and having some fun along the way! 

CURIOUS GEORGE VISITS THE DENTIST
BY MARGRET AND H.A. REY
DOCTOR DE SOTO
BY WILLIAM STEIG
THE BERENSTAIN BEARS VISIT THE DENTIST
BY STAN AND JAN

MY DENTIST, MY FRIEND
BY P.K. HALLINAN

THE TOOTH BOOK: A GUIDE TO HEALTHY TEETH AND GUMS
BY EDWARD MILLER

We love to see families from Parker, CO and surrounding areas including Aurora, Denver, Centennial, Highlands Ranch, Castle Rock and Greenwood Village. When serving our youngest patients, we provide a number of services designed especially with children in mind. 

Have Questions?

Looking for a family Parker dentist that has the experience you want with the care and compassion you deserve, look no further than Smile Always. Our staff will create an individualized treatment plan to help you achieve optimal oral health. Whether it’s a routine checkup or an emergency visit, we are here to serve you. Our state-of-the-art office has the highest-quality equipment to provide the best family dentistry services possible. Contact us today for an appointment and create the change you’ve always desired. Simply call or text at our direct line or fill out this form to have our office reach out with options.

(303) 243-5110

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10521 S. Parker Rd. Suite E, Parker, CO 80134

Hours

Mon-Tue: 9:00am - 6:00pm

Wed-Thu: 7:00am - 4:00pm

Friday: 8:00am - 5:00pm

Saturday: 8:00am - 2:00pm

By Appointment Only