Because Cass Family Dental serves the oral health needs of the entire family, we recommend that you schedule your infant’s first dental check-up by age one. Most children have had their first teeth erupt by 12 months, but you can still bring your child in for an appointment even if this hasn’t happened. Dr. Mashnouk uses this opportunity to check the condition of the gums as well as to educate parents on the importance of establishing a good oral healthcare routine.
At this age, using a damp cloth on your baby’s gums after feeding him or her is sufficient. Dr. Mashnouk typically recommends introducing tooth brushing between the first and second birthday. Place only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on the brush to clean the teeth that your toddler has. As your child gets older, demonstrate how you brush your own teeth and encourage him or her to do the same.
Establish Good Dietary Habits Early
To encourage good eating habits and prevent tooth decay, it’s important to offer healthy meals and snacks from an early age. Constant snacking and the consumption of sugary foods can lead to early tooth decay. When your child does request a snack, offer yogurt, cottage cheese, fruits, or vegetables instead of candy or chips. Your child should brush his or teeth every morning and every evening at a minimum. While you should encourage independence in this area, you may need to supervise the process until around age eight. It’s also important to teach your child how to floss his or her teeth as soon as possible.
Thumb sucking and pacifier use can both have a negative effect on the growth and development of teeth. Dr. Mashnouk can provide you with advice to help your child break these habits if necessary.
Pediatric Dental Procedures
According to the American Dental Association, children must be exposed to fluoride between the ages of six months and 16 years for their teeth to grow strong and healthy. Since few children get enough fluoride from drinking water and other sources, Dr. Mashnouk recommends a fluoride treatment at every six-month check-up. This is in the form of gel, varnish, or foam.
Placing dental sealants on the permanent molars as soon as they come in helps to protect them from decay, cavities, or even premature tooth loss. That is because these teeth are the hardest in the mouth to reach and typically don’t get clean with brushing and flossing alone. After the liquid sealant hardens in place, it keeps bacteria from attacking the back molars and surrounding gums.
When a baby tooth is badly decayed, Dr. Mashnouk must use a filling material to preserve it. It might be determined that your child needs a pulpotomy, which is a root canal for a baby tooth. A pulpotomy treats an infected tooth so it doesn’t have to be removed. Your child may need a dental crown to preserve a diseased tooth or to strengthen one that has sustained a crack. Cass Family Dental provides the option of selecting tooth-colored or stainless steel crowns to help make dental treatment more discrete.
A baby tooth extraction may sometimes be required to prepare for orthodontic treatment or due to injury or decay. In either of these situations, Dr. Mashnouk and her staff prepare your child by explaining exactly what she is doing and why. You are also welcome to stay with your child for comfort.
If your child loses a baby tooth prematurely, Dr. Mashnouk may place a space maintainer in its place. This helps to prevent other teeth from shifting towards the open spot. Space maintainers are removable as soon as the permanent tooth starts growing in.
Dental Services for Teenagers
Teens who are active in sports should protect their teeth with a custom-fit mouth guard. We encourage you to schedule an appointment before the season starts so we have time to take measurements and prepare a customized fit. Cass Family Dental also offers Invisalign clear aligners for orthodontic treatment and professional teeth whitening services just as we do for adults.
Please schedule a consultation with Dr. Mashnouk at Cass Family Dental to learn more about specific services for children and teenagers.