Childrens Dentistry

stockton childrens dentistryChildren are a vital part of our practice, and we’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions in regards to their dental care.  Between 2 and 5 years old is typically when most children have their first visit to the dentist.  However, if you suspect a dental problem, you can bring them in earlier.  If you have a question, and you don’t see the answer on this page, feel free to call us at 209.952.5454.

  • Are fluoride supplements good for children’s teeth?

Yes, they are!  Fluoride strengthens the calcium compounds in tooth enamel which makes the tooth much harder and resistant to decay.  Some geographical areas naturally have fluoride in their water supply, but Stockton does not.  Fluoride enriched toothpaste and mouthwashes or fluoride tablets are generally recommended.

  • Is it OK to put juice in their bottle?

stockton childrens dentistry child with decayed toothWhile an occasional juice is okay, if your child is constantly sipping on sugary beverages, this can rapidly lead to severe tooth decay –  even if the juice is diluted with water.   There is actually a name for this condition called Nursing Bottle Syndrome.  Baby teeth are not as strong as adult teeth, so they are highly susceptible to decay.  It’s not uncommon to see children with extensive decay across their entire mouth.

  • Will using a pacifier or chronic thumb-sucking affect the formation of my child’s teeth?

If done excessively, a pacifier or chronic thumb-sucking can pull the teeth out of alignment.  After the age of 3, it is advisable to curb these habits, and definitely by the age of 5 as the child starts to lose their baby teeth.

  • At what age does orthodontic treatment begin?

Orthodontic treatment typically begins between ages 5 and 10.  This is the time when bones and muscle are rapidly growing and the doctor can influence their growth and development.

  • Why does my child need orthodontic treatment?

There are several reasons why a child may need orthodontic treatment. They include:

  • bite problems, such as overbite and cross-bite
  • speech problems
  • difficulty chewing
  • unbalanced facial profile
  • tongue thrusting
  • a gummy smile
  • jaw joint problems
  • What should I do if my child cracks a tooth?

Depending upon the severity of the injury, we may put a stainless steel crown over the tooth to fortify the structure until the permanent tooth comes in.  If your child cracks a permanent tooth, it would be treated as an adult tooth, and we would use a composite filling or a porcelain restoration.

  • What should I do if my child has a dental emergency?

If an emergency occurs call our office at (209) 952-5454.  If it is after hours, you will be directed to Dr. Prato’s emergency cell phone line.  Dr. Prato makes every effort to accommodate his patients after hours and on weekends.

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