Valleau, VanDeven & Massie
A Great Dentist

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Pediatric Preventive Dentistry

How can we help you?

We understand that you may have (a lot!) of questions about your child's oral health. Here is a list of our most frequently asked questions (FAQs). If your question is not on the list or is not fully answered here, please do not hesitate to contact our office to speak with one of our team members who will gladly and comprehensively answer any of your questions. 

Pediatric Preventive Dentistry

We welcome parents and legal guardians to accompany their child during their appointment. We thoroughly explain each of our procedures to your child in terms they can relate to before we perform them. We want to give your chid our full attention and have his/hers as well, so we ask that parents and legal guardians please be silent observers during the examination. Be assured that we will treat your child as we do our own. We expect some children to cry, as this is a normal response to a new situation, but kind and gentle treatment almost always overcomes this fear. 

 

You might be surprised to learn about the amount of sugar that is in everyday food and beverages that we consume. Since bacteria feed on sugar as fuel, eating (or drinking) a diet high in sugar can promote bacteria growth. Acid from food, beverages, and caused by bacteria in our mouths can soften the protective enamel on your teeth and cause decay (cavities). Here is a handy (and shocking) chart showing the sugar content in juice and soda.

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If you want to learn more about how sugar affects your oral health, contact our dental office today. Our dentists will be happy to discuss the repercussions of a high sugar diet as well as treatments that can protect your child against cavities.

Sugar content in juice
Source: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/downloads/tip-sugar-in-drinks.pdf

 

In general, the primary (or baby teeth) are the space holders for the eruption of the permanent teeth. However, it does happen that sometimes a permanent tooth will not exactly follow the path of the baby tooth it is supposed to replace and may come in either in front or behind a baby tooth. This condition is relatively common and is not as much concerning (ie urgent) when it happens on the bottom teeth as when it happens on the top. Please call our office to set up an evaluation if a permanent tooth is erupting in front or behind a baby tooth on your child's top row of teeth. 

Pit and fissure cavities account for approximately 80 to 90 percent of all cavities in permanent posterior teeth and 44 percent in primary teeth. Pit and fissure sealant is a material placed into the pits and fissures of cavity-susceptible teeth that micromechanically bonds to the tooth preventing access by cariogenic (cavity-causing) bacteria to their source of nutrients, thus reducing the risk of cavities in those susceptible pits and fissures.

A Cochrane review calculated that placement of resin-based sealant in children and adolescent reduces the incidence of cavities by 86 percent after one year and 57 percent at 48 to 54 months. Sealants must be retained on the tooth and should be monitored to be most effective. Studies incorporating recall and maintenance have reported sealant success levels of 80 to 90 percent after 10 or more years.

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Our mouths are filled with thousands of different species of bacteria, most of which allow us to maintain a healthy oral environment so that we can function properly and are free of pain and infection. One such species, Mutans Streptococcus (MS), is harmful at normal levels, but can cause decay when its population size increases relative to the other species of oral bacteria. MS feeds on the sugars (namely sucrose and glucose) that we intake in our diet, and produce lactic acid as a byproduct. It is this acid which breaks down the minerals in our tooth enamel that contributes to the formation of a cavity. A diet high in sugars may allow the population of MS to reach a level in our mouth, where our natural cavity “protectors” (saliva, other bacterial species) our unable to neutralize the decay process.

Key point 1: Our children are not born with the bacterial species MS in their mouths. This bacteria is typically acquired between 18-30 months of age from an outside source (mom, dad, siblings, caregivers are the most common). The sooner that you child acquires this bacteria, the higher risk he/she is for tooth decay. Sharing of toothbrushes, pacifiers, or food utensils, kissing, and drinking from the same glass are the most common methods of transferring this bacteria and should be avoided. This is another reason why maintaining your own oral health (moms/dads) is so important. It not only effects you, it can have an affect on your child, as well.

Key point 2: Ingestion of acidic foods and beverages (soda pop, juices, citrus fruits) can breakdown tooth enamel in high quantities and under abnormal circumstances (ie. Poor salivary flow). The process of acidic breakdown of tooth enamel is termed erosion, and occurs independent of the function of the bacterial species, MS. Although, MS can readily utilize the sucrose in pop and juice to cause dental decay. Not only are these beverages high in sugar, they are also very acidic…a double whammy.

Bruxism, defined as the habitual nonfunctional forceful contact between chewing tooth surfaces, can occur while awake or asleep. It is one of the most common questions asked of our doctors. In general, do not worry if your child or infant grinds his/her teeth. It is a relatively normal thing for children to do and evidence suggests that juvenile bruxism (grinding) is a selflimiting condition that does not progress to adult bruxism. 

However, if tooth grinding is also associated with restless sleep, open mouth breathing, snoring and/or bed wetting, it can be a sign of an airway issue (ie. sleep apnea). Please discuss with our doctors if you have any concerns regarding your child and his/her tooth grinding.

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To all of our patients and families:

It is with much anticipation and excitement that our re-opening date for routine dental care will be Monday, June 1st! On behalf of everyone at Valleau, Vandeven, and Massie Dentistry for Children, we thank you for being a part of our family and for your continued support and patience.

We will be in touch shortly to reschedule appointments cancelled from March-May. If your child has an appointment on June 1st or after, you will be receiving a call to confirm that appointment. For all patients coming in this summer, you will be receiving a letter that explains the many changes made at our office to keep everyone safe and healthy. Visit our safety info page here for more info. 

Words cannot express how much we have missed all of you. Thank you for being on this journey with us and trusting us to care for your children.

See you soon, friends!