Gentle Dentistry for Kids
Early dental visits also teach children about proper oral hygiene from a young age and foster good dental habits. We see lots of kids each week and all of our staff have a lot of experience working with children.
Just as pediatricians specialize in health care for children, pediatric dentistry refers to children’s dental care. Kids who learn early that dental visits are neither painful nor unpleasant generally grow into adults who feel comfortable with regular dental upkeep.
As a parent, you play a big part in your child’s dental development. You can encourage your children to develop oral hygiene habits that will keep their smiles bright and their teeth healthy. At City Square Dental Center, our general dentists work with kids and parents in Vancouver to ensure that every child receives proper advice and encouragement when it comes to oral hygiene and health.
What We Do
Our General Dentists strive to make every child feel safe and comfortable in the dentist’s chair. Although we don’t specialize in pediatric dentistry, we still offer a wide range of dental services for children, including:
- Regular checkups and exams
- Restorative procedures (fillings)
What You Can Do
Do you find it challenging to help your children protect their gums and teeth? Try these ideas to encourage them to incorporate proper oral hygiene habits into their everyday life:
- Brush with your children twice every day (morning and night). Brushing will remove plaque and prevent tooth decay.
- Floss with your children twice every day (morning and night). Daily flossing will remove plaque under the gumline and between the teeth. If you go without brushing for more than a few days, plaque will harden into a thick sheet of hard-to-remove tartar.
- Prepare well-balanced meals (limit starches and sugar). Educate your family so each member knows how starchy and sugary foods affect teeth. A well-balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and grains will prevent tooth decay.
- Limit snacks. Most snacks include processed foods that limit saliva production. Without enough saliva, your child’s mouth won’t be able to ward off harmful bacteria.
- Drink water. Water rinses out the mouth and doesn’t allow bacteria and plaque to form.
- Use fluoride. Fluoride comes in all shapes and sizes—mouthwash, toothpaste, drinking water—and will help protect your child’s enamel.
- Regularly visit the dentist. Your dentist can spot dental problems and conditions and help you restore your child’s teeth.
At our clinic, we understand parents’ busy lifestyles. We offer convenient appointment times that fit your schedule. Call City Square Dental Center to set up an appointment.
What Does Pediatric Dentistry Entail?
Children’s teeth are markedly different from the set of teeth they will have as adults. The smaller, softer deciduous teeth, also called milk teeth or baby teeth, that erupt in the first few years of a child’s life have thread-like roots. These delicate roots facilitate their eventual loss when permanent teeth grow to replace them. However, shallow roots also make early tooth loss a concern. While a tooth that will soon be lost may not need replacement, a tooth lost to a sports injury or fall may need a crown or bridgework to maintain proper tooth spacing and bite health.
Baby teeth can also get cavities, and like cavities in adult teeth, they can be painful. Cavities in baby teeth are frequently associated with corresponding decay in permanent teeth, so it is still important to keep a child’s mouth free of decay and to fill any cavities even if those teeth will eventually disappear. Children who visit the dentist at early ages are likelier to develop good brushing habits that can forestall future cavities.
Our dentists also deal with issues unique to children’s teeth. Baby bottle tooth decay is fairly common and should be addressed early. Thumb-sucking and pacifiers can affect a child’s bite. Your child’s dentist can monitor growing teeth and ensure that permanent teeth are growing in well. If necessary, the dentist can also recommend an orthodontist who can correct crooked or gapped teeth soon after the permanent teeth appear. Brushing and flossing instructions, fluoride treatments and baby tooth removal are other tasks they may be carried out.
How Do Children’s Teeth Develop?
Children have smaller jaws and fewer teeth than they will have as adults. When they are young, kids have a maximum of 20 teeth. Tooth growth begins at the front with incisors, the flat teeth that comprise the most visible part of the smile and continues toward the round molars toward the back of the jaw. The first permanent molars erupt behind the baby molars without displacing them at around 6 years old. Another full set of four molars comes in six years later, and at 18, the wisdom teeth erupt for the full adult complement of 32 teeth.
Although most babies are born without teeth, some have one or more teeth already peeking from their gums at birth. Children get their teeth at widely varying times, but the following list is an approximate indication of when a child’s baby teeth generally appear.
- Central front teeth at 6 to 12 months
- Lateral front teeth at 9 to 13 months
- Canine teeth at 16 months to 2 years
- First and second molars at 1 to 3 years
When Should a Child See a Dentist?
Most dentists recommend bringing a child in for an initial visit at the age of three. We call this a happy visit. They are shown the tools we use, are taken for a chair ride, and the dentist gets to “count” their teeth. Like adults, children should see the dentist every six months. The schedule is especially important to maintain for kids whose teeth are in a state of flux as baby teeth disappear and adult teeth erupt. Regular visits also allow your dentist to assess how well the permanent teeth are growing in and recommend steps for a healthier bite.
Take your child to the dentist sooner in the event of an injury, tooth pain or any other visible concern. Although their roots are smaller, baby teeth still have nerves and can be quite painful or sensitive if damaged.
The Importance of Pediatric Dentistry
Despite the temporary nature of your child’s teeth, pediatric dentistry is as important as dental visits for adults. Keeping milk teeth healthy and intact for as long as possible serves a variety of purposes:
- Saving space for permanent teeth
- Facilitating normal speech development
- Contributing to proper nutrition
- Giving permanent teeth a healthier start