El Cajon, CA – Parenthood isn’t for the faint-hearted – there are so many things to think, worry, and wonder about. Your child’s oral health is one of those things. Dr. Santiago Surillo explains everything a parent needs to know about pediatric dentistry.
What Is a Pediatric Dentist?
Here at Children’s Braces and Dentistry, we provide patients with a dual-specialty service. Children’s pediatric dentistry is one of our focus areas. This definition involves a couple of things.
First of all, when you find a pediatric dentist, you find a professional who is motivated to make children feel at ease and welcomed by the office setting they’ll be in. It’s not easy to make kids relax during a dental visit, but if there’s anyone who can, it’s pediatric dentists.
Likewise, specialists like us will help children with special needs who might require a little more guidance and patience during treatment.
You want to ensure your child is seeing a dentist who has specialized knowledge in caring for children.
A pediatric dentist only treats children, making them well versed in everything there is to know about how your child’s smile is taking shape. From child-sized chairs and equipment to toys and games to help your child relax, a pediatric dentistry office is made to welcome your child.
Likewise, parents can trust a pediatric dentist to help their children if they have special needs. We provide specialized attention to ensure kids are as relaxed as possible and that they don’t feel threatened by the team.
The idea is to have a professional who can cultivate a warm and respectful relationship with the child to provide the best dental health care possible.
When to See a Pediatric Dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s (AAPD) official FAQ reminds parents that their children should see a pediatric dentist for the first time when the first tooth appears or by their first birthday.
Many parents may think this is too early. Even by age 1, your child won’t have many teeth.
But, dental problems can occur even before the teeth erupt. You should regularly clean your child’s mouth by gently wiping the gums clean.
We want to ensure we are doing everything within our power to help parents encourage and maintain their kid’s good oral health. Ultimately, we ask parents to visit a professional as soon as possible to achieve two things:
- Help your child develop a healthy relationship with their dental healthcare provider.
- Prevent the onset of tooth decay and dental healthcare problems.
Trust us; you’ll benefit from bringing your child to a specialist like Dr. Surillo and helping your child from an early age. Their dental health and much more could be on the line, so why not trust a professional to help you with that?
How to Choose a Pediatric Dentist?
That’s the million-dollar question right there.
Keep in mind that, first and foremost, we are specialists. What that means is that we focus on an area, and we strive to be good at it. When choosing a pediatric dentist for your child, make sure you review them online; people will point out what they liked, but they’re also more likely to mention when they don’t like something.
Take some time to read online reviews to see if you can trust your child’s dental care to that professional.
Next up, check their available times and services. At our practice, we provide parents with preventative dentistry and restorative dentistry solutions; parents can bring their children to prevent dental health problems or solve them.
We mentioned a little earlier we provide dual-specialty care to our clients. We’re not just Pediatric Dentists; here, Dr. Surillo also holds certifications in orthodontics. Usually, pedodontists, which is another name you can use for a pediatric dentist, try to save primary teeth to avoid orthodontic complications. As such, Dr. Surillo provides your child with holistic care.
We ensure your child’s primary teeth remain as healthy as possible and also help avoid orthodontic complications with timely action.
When you wonder where to find a good specialist, you can trust Dr. Surillo to be the best pediatric dentist El Cajon has available.
Are Baby Teeth Important?
The answer to this is a resounding yes!
Primary teeth are very important to your child. Not only are they the placeholders for the permanent teeth, but they also help your child eat and speak properly.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this is no joking matter. They estimated that 45.8% of children aged 2-19 suffered from some type of tooth decay. That’s almost half of all US children!
Early childhood caries results from bacteria that eat away the enamel of the teeth, resulting in cavities. It is preventable and treatable but requires dedication.
Pediatric dentists can educate parents and children about habits that can lead to decay and ways to prevent tooth damage. The harmful bacteria can be present in your child’s mouth even before the first tooth erupts, which is why proper care of your child’s mouth is so important.
Research shows that children aren’t born with this bacteria. It is rather introduced to them at a young age, and usually from the mother. If you have ever had a cavity, that means you carry the bacteria that can cause them, so it is important to avoid passing saliva to your child. For instance, don’t clean a child’s pacifier with your mouth or share eating utensils.
When Can My Child Start Using Regular Toothpaste?
This is something we have to be careful about. Before teeth erupt, clean the child’s mouth with a wet cloth or infant toothbrush. Then, once the first tooth comes in, begin gently brushing with an infant-friendly fluoride toothpaste.
We typically recommend against using regular fluoride toothpaste at a young age; since children don’t know how to spit, they’ll instinctively swallow the toothpaste. Ingesting too much fluoride toothpaste can upset their stomach.
If your kid ingests a huge amount of fluoride toothpaste, you should call healthcare services for some guidance. The situation is not life-threatening, but you might want to receive professional help to review if your child has any complications.
Once your child reaches the age of three, you can begin using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Your child will not have the dexterity needed to reach every area that needs to be cleaned properly, so be sure you are assisting with toothbrushing. Be sure your child spits out all excess toothpaste.
Make the Most Out of Preventative Dentistry
Within our arsenal, we have several tools and services at our disposal to help children safeguard their primary teeth and avoid severe complications during their teenage years.
Take a look at some of them.
What Are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants can help prevent cavities from occurring on the chewing surfaces of teeth. These areas have rough surfaces that can be harder to keep clean.
Dental sealants form a seal around the teeth, preventing bacteria or harmful particles from causing damage. Your pediatric dentist will let you know if your child could benefit from sealants.
What Does Fluoride Do?
Fluoride is important to keep the tooth enamel strong and healthy. Typically, children receive enough fluoride simply from their drinking water. But, with more people drinking bottled water and heavily filtered water, some children may not be receiving the necessary fluoride.
If your dentist believes your child may need more fluoride, they can suggest fluoride rinses or other products
What About Restorative Dentistry?
Of course, sometimes you cannot prevent some situations, and we have our work cut out for us. Restorative dentistry lets a professional restore or maintain the tooth’s functionality after it suffers some decay or infection.
Does My Child Need Tooth Fillings?
If your child has a cavity in a baby tooth, it is important to get it taken care of. Not only can the bacteria that caused the cavity to spread to other teeth, but your child can also experience pain that can make it difficult to eat and even speak.
It is important to keep the baby’s teeth healthy to ensure the permanent teeth remain healthy. Cavities can form in the permanent teeth even while they are still below the gumline.
What Is a Pulpectomy?
We use this procedure to save your child’s tooth integrity and functionality following a severe infection. Unchecked tooth decay can lead to cavities and an infection of your kid’s tooth. Keep in mind that, inside the tooth, there are soft tissues such as blood vessels and nerves. They can get infected, and that could endanger your kid’s overall health.
A pulpectomy ensures we clear out all the infected tissues and maintain the tooth’s structural integrity.
How Can I Prevent Cavities Children’s Teeth From Affecting My Child?
One of the primary jobs of a pediatric dentist is education, and teaching families how to prevent issues from harming their child’s smile is a crucial part of the job.
There are several things parents can do to help keep their children’s mouths healthy.
- Never let your child fall asleep with a bottle of milk or juice. As your child falls to sleep, the liquid pools in the mouth and sits for an extended period of time. The sugars from these drinks will then create the ideal environment for bacteria to feed off of.
- After your child finishes eating, wipe the gums clean with a damp washcloth. After the first tooth appears, begin to brush with an infant toothbrush.
- Never clean a pacifier with your mouth or share utensils to avoid passing saliva to your child.
- Encourage your child to drink water during the day rather than juice or other drinks high in sugar. Limit sugary drinks and snacks.
- Ensure your child eats a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals that can help the teeth. Yogurt and cheese are great options rich in calcium and vitamin D, apples and celery can help scrub teeth while they are eaten, and even sugarless gum that contains Xylitol can help your child’s smile.
- Set your child up for success by modeling good oral hygiene care for yourself. If your child sees you making your smile a priority, they will likely view it as important, too.
- Create a relationship with a pediatric dentist at a young age. If your child grows up going to the dentist every six months, it will be normal and won’t cause anxiety or nervousness.
- Ask your dentist what steps you can take to ensure your child’s smile stays healthy. Your dentist may recommend additional fluoride use, antibacterial mouthwash, or other things that can improve your child’s oral health.
Is It Safe for My Child to Have Dental X-Rays?
Dental X-rays are completely safe for your child. Pediatric dentists work hard to ensure the safety of their patients, and dental X-rays offer very little radiation exposure.
X-rays are important to check the health of current and upcoming permanent teeth. They can also show the dentist if there are any issues below the gums that may cause problems for your child.
What Happens if My Child Needs Extensive Dental Work?
You can rest easy knowing that a pediatric dentist knows exactly how to help your child. Pediatric dentists are well trained in sedation dentistry, ranging from conscious sedation to general anesthesia.
If your child needs extensive dental work, a pediatric dentist will have everything at his disposal to ensure a pain-free and anxiety-free experience.
Dr. Surillo is a pediatric dentist and orthodontist serving patients in the El Cajon area. He is passionate about providing exceptional care to his young patients and has more than 20 years of expertise. He is warm and caring, and his patients feel at home from their first meeting with him. If you are looking for a pediatric dentistry home for your family, Contact Dr. Surillo today at 619-461-6166.