Resources for Parents

As parents, you play a big role in your child’s dental health. We’re here to partner with you so you have the knowledge and the resources you need to help your child make good dental hygiene decisions.

  • Why Should I Choose A Pediatric Dentist?
  • What is Silver Diamine Fluoride?
  • Does my child have soft teeth?
  • What is ECC?
  • Will my child have problems with his or her permanent teeth?
  • By extracting a baby tooth early, will the permanent tooth come in sooner?
  • What causes cavities?
  • Will my child need braces?
  • Special Needs Patients
  • Recommended Reading List
  • More Information For Parents…
Why Should I Choose A Pediatric Dentist?

Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years specialty training following dental school and limits his/her practice to treating children only. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs.

What is Silver Diamine Fluoride?

Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) is an antimicrobial and remineralization agent to arrest active carious dental lesions.  SDF may be used as part a caries management plan, and it has the effect of permanently staining decay black. If your child has obvious cavities, but it too young or anxious to tolerate restorative care in the clinic, SDF may be an option.  SDF is not a permanent cure for caries, and additional treatment (such as restorations) may be required at a later date should caries continue to progress. If SDF contacts skin or soft tissue, it will temporarily stain the tissue gray-to-red.  Should SDF contact your child’s skin or clothing during a procedure, form a paste of salt and water, and gently scrub the affected area to lift the stain.

Does my child have soft teeth?
We often hear the term “soft teeth” from moms and dads who say they had soft teeth or their family is known for its soft teeth. “Soft teeth” implies an inherited condition that is evident in all the teeth, not just some.
The majority of the children we see don’t have soft teeth; they have the effects of poor oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) and inappropriate feeding practices. Poor eating and brushing habits lead to bacteria growth on the teeth and gums. Bacteria excrete acid, which degrades teeth enamel and leads to tooth decay (cavities).
There are rare disorders that affect the enamel of all the teeth. Among these are amelogenesis imperfecta, dentinogenesis imperfecta and osteogenesis imperfecta. Because some of these disorders have associated health risks, we strongly advise you to bring your children in for evaluation if any of your relatives have been diagnosed with one of these conditions.
What is ECC?

ECC refers to early childhood caries. Caries, the medical term for tooth decay, begins with an accumulation of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that grows on teeth and produces acid. The acid removes calcium from enamel and dentin, ultimately causing cavities. Because caries is progressive, it can spread from tooth to tooth.

Will my child have problems with his or her permanent teeth?
We get asked this question frequently, especially after a child has been diagnosed with severe early childhood caries, or S-ECC.
Children who have been diagnosed with ECC have a higher risk of developing cavities in their adult teeth.
Consequently, these children have more frequent hospitalizations and emergency room visits, insufficient height/weight development, increased school absences, reduced learning skills, and decreased oral health-related quality of life.
Seek prompt dental care for your child if diagnosed with ECC, especially S-ECC, and follow up with preventative, routine dental care.
By extracting a baby tooth early, will the permanent tooth come in sooner?

Baby teeth can be removed due to trauma, severe decay or infection. Proximity to the expected time of loss determines when the permanent tooth will fill in the space. Usually a tooth removed within six months of its expected loss will result in speedier replacement by its permanent successor. If a baby tooth is removed a year or more from the expected time of loss, permanent tooth development may take up to a year longer than normal.

What causes cavities?
Cavities, or dental caries, are caused by four factors:
  1. Tooth or a host
  2. Bacteria, primarily mutans streptococci (MS)
  3. Food or substrate
  4. Time
All four factors must be present to develop cavities. The bacteria (MS) are found in most human mouths; in fact, there is strong evidence that the initial bacterial transmission comes from a child’s primary caregiver. MS cannot be removed once it is in your child’s mouth, and the more often your child eats, the more bacteria grow on your child’s teeth. The bacteria produce plaque and acid, which weaken the teeth and eventually cause cavities.
Follow these steps to protect your child against the growth of bacteria:
  1. Keep your own mouth healthy and clean, even before your baby is born.
  2. Decrease the amounts of sugar and acid in your child’s diet. Since lactose is milk sugar, wean your child from the bottle and breast by age one.
  3. Never give your child soda, and limit fruit juices to mealtime only. Both liquids are full of acid.
  4. Brush your child’s teeth as soon as you see them, even if your child is only six months old. Use a soft-bristled brush with a smear of toothpaste only.
  5. Brush your child’s teeth before bed and allow only water afterward; never put your child to bed with a bottle of juice or milk.
  6. Start your child’s dental care before he or she is 12 months old.
Will my child need braces?
Only you and your dentist can answer that question.
There are certain types of irregular bite patterns that may allow the front teeth to be prone to injury. These types of malocclusions, or teeth misalignments, require orthodontic treatment and should be treated by braces.
Just because your child’s teeth aren’t perfectly straight does not mean they are unhealthy. Most malocclusions are cosmetic problems; though they may be unsightly, they are not necessarily detrimental to your child’s dental health.
Have your dentist review your child’s occlusion, or bite. If you feel appearance is a problem, then an orthodontic consultation may be appropriate.
Special Needs Patients

Many children with special medical needs also have special dental needs. We have extra training to care for kids with special needs. Please click here to learn more about how Eversmiles can help.

Recommended Reading List
More Information For Parents…
Minnesota Parents Know, a site provided by the Minnesota Department of Education, provides searchable child development and health information from trusted online sources.

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Eversmiles Pediatric Dentistry

Our mission at Eversmiles Pediatric is to give your child happy, healthy smiles that last a lifetime. We work in partnership with our patients, their families and the health care community to provide the best treatment, while creating positive dental experiences that will set the stage for long-term oral health.

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