pediatric Dentist in TACOMA
How is pediatric dentistry different than general dentistry?
Taking care of children’s teeth is not dissimilar to caring for adult teeth. The treatment principles are the same, just performed on a smaller scale. However, a dentist who offers pediatric dental services will always cater their treatment and oral health education to the patient’s age.
This helps enhance the child’s level of understanding of oral hygiene and dental procedures, and encourages them to become more familiarized and comfortable in our Tacoma dental office.
Did you know…
The #1 most common childhood disease is tooth decay.
What to expect at your child’s first appointment in Tacoma
After your child is introduced to our dentist and team, a dental hygienist will gently clean your child’s teeth and gums, removing plaque and bacteria, polishing each tooth, and then giving them a thorough floss.
X-rays may be recommended if your child has never had them before, if it’s been a few years since their last set of x-rays, or if the dentist suspects oral development issues or a hidden oral health problem. As the parent or guardian, you will be asked to approve x-rays before they are taken.
Dr. Song will examine your child’s mouth, teeth and x-rays to ensure your kid is free of cavities and that their smile is developing properly. If the parent did not sit in with the child during their exam, Dr. Song will bring parents into the room at this point to discuss their findings.
Next, Dr. Song will provide a recommendation for further treatment if needed. Some treatments, like fluoride treatments or dental sealants, can usually be applied at the first appointment and may be recommended during regular cleanings. Other treatments, like filling cavities, may require a second appointment.
Schedule Follow-Up Appointment
If additional treatment is needed to keep your child’s smile healthy, we’re happy to schedule follow-up appointments in Tacoma before you head out. We also recommend that you schedule your child’s next oral exam and teeth cleaning at this time.
Pediatric Treatment Options
Pediatric Cleanings & Exams
Pediatric cleanings and oral exams are just like cleanings and oral exams for adults. A dental hygienist will clean your child’s teeth, then a dentist will examine their mouth and x-rays to look for potential oral health and oral development issues.
During this appointment, you’ll have an opportunity to speak with your Tacoma family dentist about what to expect at different stages of your child’s oral development, such as erupting baby teeth, losing baby teeth, and growing adult teeth. We’ll go over proper at-home oral care and hygiene for different age groups, and discuss nutritional information and how diet is related to oral health.
Silver Diamine Fluoride
Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) is an alternative to fillings for minor-to-moderate tooth decay in baby teeth. It consists of a blend of silver, fluoride, ammonia, and water. When applied to a decayed tooth, this mixture kills the bacteria that cause decay, and halts the progression of the cavity.
This treatment is only used in baby teeth because it discolors the tooth permanently, turning it black. It’s a good option for baby teeth that will fall out naturally in time, or for kids who are uncooperative or too young to get a filling.
Stainless Steel Crowns
Stainless steel crowns are a good alternative to fillings. They are pre-fabricated in a variety of sizes, and are placed directly onto your child’s tooth to cover and protect it from further damage and decay. Depending on the placement method used during the process, the dentist will either trim your child’s tooth before the crown is placed, or the crown may be placed directly over the tooth after it has been cleaned, without the need to trim the tooth with a dental drill.
A space maintainer may be required if your child loses a baby tooth early. This dental prosthetic is made to sit between your child’s healthy teeth, resting in the gap where their missing tooth used to be.
By doing so, the space maintainer prevents the surrounding teeth from shifting toward the now-empty socket, which is common after tooth loss. This ensures that your child’s permanent tooth will erupt properly when it’s ready. Without a space maintainer after premature tooth loss, your child may experience oral development issues that may require orthodontic intervention.
Also known as a “baby root canal,” a pulpotomy is used to open up your child’s tooth and remove the decayed pulp from the inside of the root canals. This is required if their tooth has become infected due to untreated decay or an oral injury.
After the area is disinfected, a special healing dressing will be applied to the remaining pulp. This dressing will encourage the pulp to heal, which will keep the baby tooth alive and healthy until it falls out as part of your child’s natural oral development.
Did you know…
Cavities can be caused by the transmission of bacteria from a mother to her infant.
Have questions about pediatric dentistry? Find answers here.
When Should My Child Start Going to The Dentist?
The answer may surprise you. It’s typically recommended by the AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) that children start seeing the dentist when they’re 1 year old, or whenever their first tooth erupts.
Is your child a little older? You should bring them to Rainier Smiles Dentistry for an appointment in Tacoma as soon as you can to ensure their teeth and mouth are healthy and strong.
Why should children see the dentist so early?
Going to the dentist early and regularly helps your child become more familiar with the process of regular dental visits, making them less likely to be anxious about going to the dentist as they grow up. Seeing the same dentist regularly throughout your child’s early years will also allow the doctor to become more familiar with your child’s teeth.
They’ll be able to identify any potential oral development issues early, and take the proper action to ensure their teeth stay strong and healthy. These regular appointments in Tacoma also encourage children to build better life-long oral health habits.
How do I prepare my child for their first dental visit?
The most important thing you can do to prepare your child to see the dentist is to speak about it positively. They don’t have any experiences with the dentist yet, so this is an opportunity to help the doctor make a good first impression.
- First, talk to your child about the importance of dental care and how it’s the dentist’s job to teach them how to take good care of their teeth.
- When describing what to expect at their appointment, tell them that the doctor will clean and count their teeth to make sure that they are healthy.
- When you introduce your child to the dentist and the team, introduce them as friends. Because we are!
Did you know…
Drinking a bottle of milk or breastfeeding right before bed puts your child at a higher risk for tooth decay.