Pediatric dentists such as Dr. Vaughn and Dr. Simon are highly trained dentists who have completed residencies in pediatric dentistry beyond dental school. Pediatric dentists have had special training in behavior management and dealing with the complex medical problems associated with children who have special healthcare needs.
The brand of the toothbrush is not as critical as the type of bristle and the size of the head. A soft toothbrush with a small head is recommended because medium and hard brushes tend to cause irritation and contribute to recession of the gums. A small head allows you to get around each tooth more completely and is less likely to injure your child’s gums. The best method for brushing a child’s teeth is to use the circular scrub technique which means brushing in small circles and moving the brush from tooth to tooth.
Generally, no. However, it is advisable to use a toothpaste containing fluoride to decrease the incidence of dental decay. To create good habits, we recommend our patients use what tastes good to them, as long as it contains fluoride.
Flossing of the teeth once per day helps to prevent cavities from forming between the teeth where your child’s toothbrush can’t reach. Flossing also helps to keep gums healthy.
Silver fillings or amalgam is the standard for all filling materials used by dentists. White fillings or composite are a newer breed of fillings that are becoming increasingly popular. Composite fillings are more aesthetically pleasing because they look like the natural tooth. They also have a tendency to be better with regards to sensitivity. They are perfectly suited for fillings in the front teeth and smaller fillings in the back teeth. However, they tend not to last as long as an amalgam filling, especially those placed in molar teeth.
Amalgam has been used by dentists for over 100 years. Much has been made of amalgam in the media lately because it is has mercury as a component. However, in July of 2009 the FDA issued final regulations stating that “the levels released by dental amalgam fillings are not high enough to cause harm in patients.”
When decay in a posterior baby tooth gets too large, a filling will not work. In these instances, a crown is placed on top of tooth, after the decay has been removed to restore function and viability for that tooth. The reason for saving this tooth as opposed to extracting it is to restore chewing function and prevent space loss.
Space loss occurs when a posterior baby tooth is lost due to decay or injury prior to when it should come out on its own. When this happens, the surrounding teeth crowd into the open space. This crowding inhibits the adult tooth, which is still in the gums, from coming into the right spot. If crowding becomes severe enough, the child will need braces and possibly surgery to ensure that the adult tooth erupts into the correct position.