Pediatric Dental Issues

At Burlingame Dental Arts, we treat all kinds of pediatric dental issues, a few of which include dental emergencies, malocclusion, thumb sucking, and baby bottle tooth decay. Plus, we offer solutions for missing teeth, tooth decay, and tooth and mouth injuries.

Dental Emergencies

For dental emergencies, we understand that some issues just can’t wait a few days before receiving treatment, so we offer same day appointments. At Burlingame Dental Arts, we provide a comprehensive range of emergency dental care services. If your child has suffered a chipped, cracked, dislodged or broken tooth, immediate dental care is important to protect your child’s long-term oral health.

Let our team help take the stress out of your child’s dental emergency.  Contact us today.

What Steps Can You Take At Home Before Getting Emergency Care?

Mouth Healthy brought to you by the American Dental Association recommends tackling a dental emergency immediately, as it can mean the difference between saving and losing a child’s deciduous or permanent tooth.

In case of a dental emergency, take the following measures:

  • If your child trips or falls down and knocks out a tooth, try to salvage the tooth by keeping it moist in some milk. If you can, try placing the tooth back in the socket without touching the root. If that is not doable, place it in between your child’s cheek and gum. 
  • In the case of a cracked tooth, rinse your child’s mouth with lukewarm or warm water to clean the area. Cold compresses can help minimize any swelling.
  • If your child bites his or her tongue or lip, clean the area gently and apply a cold compress.
  • If your child has something stuck between the teeth, try to remove it gently with floss. Waxed floss is preferable as it is smoother and will glide easily through the crevices of the teeth. Do not use sharp objects like a knife or anything else that is pointed. This could injure your child’s mouth and gums can start bleeding.
  • In case of a toothache, rinse your child’s mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss to remove any food caught between the teeth. Do not put aspirin on the aching tooth or gum tissues. Direct application of aspirin on gums or cheeks can cause an aspirin burn.

Malocclusion

Malocclusion, or bad bite, is a condition in which the teeth are crowded, crooked or out of alignment. Sometimes the jaws do not meet properly and your child’s mouth may not close normally. There could even be difficulties in talking and chewing. 

This problem may become particularly noticeable between the ages of 6 and 12 when a child’s permanent teeth are coming in. If left untreated for long, a bad bite can make everyday activities hard for your child. It may also be difficult to keep teeth and gums clean as teeth are crooked or crowded. Consequently, this increases the risk of cavities and gum disease.

A bad bite can also affect the proper development of the jaws, make the protruding teeth at risk for chips and fractures, affect speaking and eating, and make some teeth wear abnormally or faster than those that are properly aligned.

Thumbsucking

Thumbsucking is a natural reflex of infants and young children and may help your child to relax, feel safe or be happy.  Most children outgrow this habit by age 4.  

For children who thumb suck after this age, when their permanent teeth have started to come in, it can cause problems with your child’s tooth alignment and your child’s bite. If you are concerned that your child’s thumb-sucking habit will affect the development of your child’s teeth, talk to your dentist.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Tooth decay in infants and very young children is often referred to as baby bottle tooth decay. The most common cause is the frequent, prolonged exposure of the baby’s teeth to drinks that contain sugar or pacifiers that are frequently dipped in sugar or syrup.  When bottles are given to babies at naptime or bedtime, there is a higher risk of decay, because the flow of saliva decreases during sleep.  

If teeth are infected or lost too early due to baby bottle tooth decay, your child may develop poor eating habits, speech problems, crooked teeth, and damaged adult teeth. In addition, the chances that adult teeth will end up being crooked are greatly increased.

You can help prevent your baby from getting cavities or developing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay by taking care of their oral hygiene within the first few days after birth. You can start by cleaning the baby’s mouth with a clean gauze pad. This helps to remove plaque that can harm erupting teeth. When your child’s teeth begin to appear, brush them gently with a child’s size toothbrush and a small amount of fluoride toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice).

For bottle feedings, place only formula, milk or breast milk inside and avoid using sugary beverages such as juice or soda. These drinks have an extremely high sugar content which could be damaging for the child’s developing teeth. Infants should finish their bedtime and naptime bottle before going to bed.

Missing Teeth

Space maintainers help “hold space” for permanent teeth. If for some reason, a child loses a baby tooth prematurely, before the permanent tooth is ready to erupt, adult teeth can erupt into the empty space instead of where they should be. When more adult teeth are ready to come into the mouth, there may not be enough room for them because of the lost space. To prevent this from happening, the dentist may recommend a space maintainer to hold open the space left by the missing tooth.

Dental Caries

Sealants are a thin protective coating of plastic or dental material that adheres to the chewing surface of your back teeth. They help keep cavities from forming and may even stop early stages of decay from becoming a full-blown cavity.  In fact, sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars. They are extremely beneficial for both children and adults. They can also be used to protect a tooth with a cavity. Sealants can last for several years before they need to be reapplied.

Tooth and Mouth Injuries

Mouthguards, also called mouth protectors, help cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to your lips, tongue, face or jaw. They typically cover the upper teeth and are a great way to protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining. Mouthguards can help protect your child from a dental emergency. They should be worn whenever the child is participating in sports or hiking. Mouthguards cushion blows that would otherwise cause broken teeth, injuries to the lips and face and sometimes even jaw fractures. If your child participates in such activities that have you concerned about the safety of their teeth, ask your dentist about custom-fitted mouthguards so they can keep enjoying their hobbies without any fear.

Our gentle and compassionate dentists have a passion for working with kids, and we can’t wait to welcome your family to Burlingame Dental Arts as we start an exciting journey of quality oral health for a lifetime!

If you have any pediatric dental issues, call Burlingame Dental Arts at (503) 218-4285 to schedule an appointment.