In the years before your child gets braces, they may need a range of other treatments. General checkups and routine cleanings are givens, but you may be wondering what other services your child may need. Here’s a look at some of the most common children’s dental procedures.
Routine Dental Fillings
A lot of people talk about “no cavity clubs” and cavity free appointments, and if your kid falls into those categories, that’s great. However, the majority of kids don’t fall into those categories. In fact, children from ages two to 11 have an average of 1.6 decayed primary teeth and 3.6 decayed surfaces.
If your child has decay in their tooth or its enamel, they will need to get a filling. Generally, that can be done in the dentist’s office with local anesthesia and some nitrous oxide (laughing gas). If the noises or pain are too much for your child, sedation may also be an option.
Extensive Work and General Anesthesia
In some cases, children’s dental issues are far more severe than a cavity or two. In fact, 42 percent of children have dental caries in their primary teeth, and close to a quarter of children have dental caries that hasn’t been diagnosed. Dental caries refers to extensive tooth decay throughout the mouth.
If your child has dental caries, they may need multiple fillings and procedures all at once. In those situations, it’s usually easier to bring the child into a hospital or clinical setting. There, the child is put under general anesthesia and all the teeth get worked on.
In some cases, children even need root canals. A root canal is just like a normal filling but it extends into the root of the tooth. This doesn’t usually happen with baby teeth. Rather, it can become necessary in the six or 12 year molars in the back of your child’s mouth.
If your child has extensive decay in these teeth, they may need a root canal. However, before the root canal can happen, the root has to finish developing. In these cases, you may need a children’s dental specialists to monitor the tooth as it develops and then do the root canal when the roots are ready.
Occasionally, teeth become so decayed that it isn’t possible to do a root canal or a filling. In those cases, the dentist may recommend extracting the tooth. That should usually be done as a last resort. The baby teeth work as place holders, and they help to ensure that the developing adult teeth go into the right spots in the mouth.
However, in some cases, a children’s dental specialist needs to extract baby teeth because they are preventing adult teeth from coming in. The adult teeth may even be starting to protrude while the baby tooth is still in the mouth. Extraction can be useful in these cases as well. Finally, extractions are sometimes necessary as a preliminary step of orthodontic treatment.
Sealants for Children’s Dental Health
To help avoid the above issues, your dentist may recommend sealants. Best for children, sealants are a thin layer of coating that gets painted onto your child’s teeth. They create a protective layer that helps to prevent cavities from settling into the enamel. Generally, sealants go on the back teeth. They help to prevent the food and debris from sticking in the grooves of those teeth and leading to cavities.
Ready to make an appointment for children’s dental work? Then, contact us today at Dentistry for Children and Teens. We are a pediatric dentist in Tucker, GA, and we’re opening a new location in the Chastain Park/Buckhead area soon.