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Pediatric Dentistry

Madison Family Dental Talks About Pediatric Dentistry Services

At Madison Family Dental, we look forward to meeting the dental needs of your entire family. We realize that all children are unique and strive to provide the best pediatric dentistry possible for your child.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Dental Association recommend your child visit the dentist around their 1st birthday, or within six months of the eruption of their first tooth. While children this age typically do not need a traditional dental cleaning, our Baby Wellness Program allows parents to come in for an initial appointment to meet with the dentist and provide an opportunity for them to gain a better understanding of their child’s oral health needs.

Please keep in mind that young children often do better with morning appointments when they are well rested and have had breakfast. We offer a full range of services to even our youngest dental patients. Our hope is to provide your child with positive dental experiences and a lifetime free from preventable oral disease.

Learn more about our pediatric dentistry services below.

Pediatric Dentistry

Hi! I am Dr. Lindsey Heim. I am a dentist here at Madison Family Dental and just here to talk a little bit about what we can offer for pediatric dental services. Typically, we do want to see children around 12 to 18 months of age for their first dental checkup, and even though we don’t do a cleaning at that age, it’s still really, really important to screen the teeth. We’re oftentimes looking for little weak areas in the enamel. We’re also screening for any sort of habits that may negatively influence a child’s health, and also other health issues [in general] that can influence a child’s dental health.

The other things that we can screen for are any sort of bite abnormalities that may become an issue down the road, and [we can] also be involved in a lot of airway issues as far as how a child’s mouth and jaws are developing.

A lot of times with this first visit, we’ll sort of show the kids what we’re using — we’ll show them a little mirror, practice opening up wide, and get a little look at their teeth and screen for things. If we feel like we need to come up with a little plan as far as preventative measures that a child would benefit from, we can do that at an early age — and a lot of times, we can be fairly conservative with things that we can do or change and tweak little habits that can make a big difference down the road, especially because even though we don’t need baby teeth for a lifetime, it is really important to keep them healthy for a number of reasons, more than just eating, because they do a lot from a structural standpoint, too.

So a lot of times I have parents ask what they can do to help prepare their child for their first dental visit. So a few little things that you can do: One, there are some great books out there about your child’s first visit to the dentist, what to expect at the dentist, what we’re here for, and we’re here to make sure that we have really nice healthy teeth so we can do all the things that we want to do with our teeth like eating, and talking, and all of that.

You talk to your child about what to expect, practice opening up really wide, if they have a favorite animal you can sometimes pretend to be that animal — like open up big like a t-rex or whatever that animal might be. That can sometimes help out a child just know what to do and know what to expect as they go into their first dental visit. 

As kids get older, typically we’ll do early childhood exams from about 12 to 18 months until a child is about 3 years old. After that, we’ll start with regular cleanings, usually in a six month interval, give or take, depending upon a child’s individual needs.

Here we really try to make things as positive as possible and make sure that kids are having a good experience. We have some really great things like a Kids Club that reinforces really great behavior with kids and gives them little goals to work for. We really try to tailor our care to where a child is at. For some kids, they like to know what’s going on and we can show them what we are doing, what are we working on their mouth with, and things like that. We have some little stuffed animals that a lot of times kids will love to hold on to or show what we do with those. There are a lot of things that we can do as a child gets older to make sure that coming to the dentist is as positive as we can possibly make it.

By seeing children regularly and starting at an early age, we can follow their growth and a lot of times catch problems as early as we can so we can address things as conservatively and as early as possible. After all, teeth aren’t just sort of part of the mouth — they’re for a whole child’s wellbeing.”

Kids Club Program

NEW to Madison Family Dental, our Kids Club rewards our youngest patients ages 3-12 for their awesome dental health. Every year, or every other check-up, they will be rewarded with fun goodies for being cavity free, brave during an appointment, or displaying good dental hygiene habits. If kids are cavity free for the entire year, they will be entered to win a yearly drawing for a big prize! Our kids club is designed to make kids excited for the dentist all while learning tips and tricks to keep their teeth healthy.

Blue image with Kids Club logo

Your Madison dentist offers some important habits that will help contribute to your child’s oral health:

  • Never put your baby to bed with a bottle.
  • Keep juice out of sippy cups and bottles.
  • Water is best in a sippy cup for your child during the day.
  • Limit fruit juice to four ounces or less each day. Serve in a “big kid” cup.
  • Start cleaning your child’s mouth with the eruption of the first tooth.
  • Start flossing at an early age.
  • Have your child visit us regularly and always call with questions or concerns.

A Madison Dentist Committed to Your Care

Post operative care following a pediatric extraction

The mouth is an extremely sensitive part of the body. Dental treatment of any kind requires taking extra care of the area after operation. Whether you have had a routine procedure, or something more complex like a tooth extraction or periodontal surgery, there are several important steps you can take to maximize the results of your procedure, prevent infection, and ease any discomfort you might experience. If you have any additional questions about your procedure or if you are experiencing abnormal bleeding, swelling, severe pain, or any reaction to medications, please do not hesitate to contact us.

  • You can expect that y our child will leave the office biting on gauze. They should remain biting on it for 30-45 minutes, or as directed by the dentist.
  • You can expect your child to be numb and you should watch them closely. Kids can do a lot of damage by chewing on a numb lip, cheek, or tongue and not realize it until the anesthetic wears off.
  • Keep activities low-key for the first 24 hours. No running or jumping, and they should sit out of gym class as well. Reading, computer, homework, and television are some ideas for quiet activities.
  • It is often best to give them Ibuprofen or Tylenol, whatever you would normally give them for a fever or headache, before the anesthetic wears off. This may be all the pain medicine that they need.
  • No spitting or using a straw for the first 24 hours.
  • Try to eat soft foods for the first couple of days. Avoid hard, crunchy things and very hot things like soups. Yogurt, eggs, ice cream, mashed potatoes and apple sauce are some good examples of things to eat during the first 24 hours.
  • Brushing is ok, just be gentle in that area.
  • You can expect the extraction site to ooze for the first few days and the saliva will likely be pink. This is normal.

Post operative care following a filling

The mouth is an extremely sensitive part of the body. Dental treatment of any kind requires taking extra care of the area after operation. Whether you have had a routine procedure, or something more complex like a tooth extraction or periodontal surgery, there are several important steps you can take to maximize the results of your procedure, prevent infection, and ease any discomfort you might experience. If you have any additional questions about your procedure or if you are experiencing abnormal bleeding, swelling, severe pain, or any reaction to medications, please do not hesitate to contact us.

  • You can expect your child to be numb and you should watch them closely. Kids can do a lot of damage by chewing on a numb lip, cheek or tongue and not realize it until the anesthetic wears off.
  • They should avoid eating anything sticky or hard during the first 24 hours, and you may notice some temperature sensitivity for a little while that should gradually improve.

What’s safe to eat after fillings?

  • It is best to wait until anesthetic wears off before eating because it is very easy to bite and traumatize some of the numb tissues in your mouth if you were to eat before it wears off.  If you have had a ‘white’ resin filling, the filling is cured up completely after it is placed in your mouth, and after the numbness wears off, you can resume eating and drinking as you normally would.
  • If you had a silver metal filling, you can resume eating once the numbness wears off, but it is important to avoid anything significantly sticky or crunchy on the filling for the first 24 hours.  After this initial 24 hours, you may eat and drink as you normally do.
  • It is common for some fillings to be slightly tender or sensitive in the first weeks. This typically will go away, but if you experience any significant discomfort, please let us know.

Commonly Asked Questions About Pediatric Dental Care

When do I start cleaning my child's teeth? And what is the best way to do it?

You should start cleaning your child’s mouth with the eruption of the first tooth, using a child-size toothbrush and water. After the age of two, a pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste should be used.

Do I need to floss my child's teeth?

Most baby teeth have space between them. If spaces are present, then flossing is not necessary as the brush can clean all sides. If your child’s teeth do not have spaces between them, it is very important that you try to floss them each evening before bed. Anywhere that the teeth touch, a child can get a cavity just like an adult can. The easiest way to floss your child’s teeth is to have them lay down with their head in your lap.

My child uses a pacifier/sucks his/her thumb, is this harmful?

In the pacifier vs. thumb debate, pacifiers are recommended over thumbs to comfort new babies. A pacifier habit is easier to break at an earlier age. Sucking on a pacifier or thumb is normal for infants, and most children stop by the age of two. If a child does not stop on his or her own, the habit should be discouraged around the age of three to four. The earlier the sucking habit is discontinued, the less chance the habit will lead to orthodontic problems. Your dentist can offer more specific suggestions.

Can I put my child to bed with a bottle?

If you must put your baby to sleep with a bottle, use nothing but water. Going to sleep with a bottle of formula, milk, or juice can lead to an alarming amount of tooth decay, especially in the top front teeth.

Extractions

Kids are amazing and typically do very well with dental work. With all of the advances in dentistry today, most procedures are virtually pain free. Using age appropriate information, the dentist will let your child know what to expect during the appointment. If a parent or other sibling has a dental fear, it is best not to express this to the patient. Sometimes children do better with a nervous parent staying in the waiting room. Each child and situation is different, and our goal is to make you and your child comfortable during treatment. If you have questions, feel free to call your child’s dentist ahead of time to discuss them.

What is a sealant?

A sealant is a plastic coating that goes over the grooves on the chewing surface of a tooth to serve as a barrier to plaque, acid, and food. One of the most common places decay develops is on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. Because these surfaces have deep pits and grooves that are difficult to keep clean, your dentist may recommend a sealant.
The procedure is simple and fast, and there is usually little if any discomfort. First the teeth to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned and conditioned. The dentist or hygienist then applies the sealant to the tooth where it bonds with the enamel. A special curing light may be used to help the sealant harden.
Sealants, which hold up well under the normal forces of chewing, usually last several years. Sealants prevent decay during the higher-risk years where children may not be cleaning their teeth well.

Aftercare for pediatric tooth extraction?

Have your child be very careful with the numbed area until he/she can feel again.  If your child can tolerate over the counter pain medicine, it can help to take some children’s acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) to alleviate any discomfort.  The extraction site may ‘ooze’ or bleed slightly for the next day or so, and because of this, it may be a good idea to put an old pillowcase on for the night of the extraction.  Have your child avoid any vigorous play for the first day that may get his/her blood pressure up and could dislodge the clot that is in place.  Eating a soft diet for a day or two will also help to keep the area comfortable.  For the first two weeks, avoid having your child drink through a straw or eat any foods containing small seeds, nuts, or hulls (ie: strawberries, popcorn) that can get caught in the extraction socket.

Can you make any comments about pediatric aftercare for crowns? Is it the same?

Pediatric crowns are ‘same day’ crowns.  Your child may have some localized tenderness around the area of the new crown.  If your child can tolerate over the counter pain medicine, it can help to take some children’s acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) to alleviate any discomfort.  After the numbness has worn off, your child can eat or drink as he/she normally would, being careful to avoid anything significantly sticky for the first 24 hours.

Please request an appointment online for a dental treatment consultation with one of our dental professionals.

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