It seems like one of the most frequent questions I get is “do you treat children?”.
The answer is: absolutely! We love our young patients and will see them at any age. We use the same gentle techniques that we use for adults. If we do find decay in a child’s tooth, we can remove the decay and place a tooth-colored filling. We can usually remove their cavities without any anesthetic while they watch TV. We really enjoy pediatric dentistry and feel great about showing children that it does not have to be scary going to the dentist.
Pediatric Preventive Dentistry
Sealants are an effective preventative treatment to help prevent fissure decay. Beware though, as not all sealants are the same. We use an extremely moisture tolerant sealant ( Fuji Triage Glass Ionomer) that forms a very strong acid resistant bond. Moisture is a reason why so many conventional resin sealants fail or get decay underneath them.
Pediatric Airway Screening
In our pediatric dental exams, we examine the child’s airway. This is extremely important because it can affect their breathing which in turn can negatively affect hyperactivity behavior, orthodontic development, and facial development. A properly working airway is a big deal. Young children should not be snoring, breathing with their mouth open while sleeping or breathing loudly. If allowed to continue, these things can cause very detrimental developmental problems with a child’s growth and development.
- To read more about it, here is a link to my recent blog post: Why is my child grinding their teeth?
In the photos above, we can see very common issues that we see in our pediatric dental patients. These issues can cause behavioral as well as the physical developmental issues that we see. If not corrected at the right time with fairly simple methods that we have, these patients will likely have lifelong negative health effects and very difficult orthodontics later on.
Early Intervention Is Essential To Dental Proper Development
The dark space above the tongue is because of low tongue posture. The red indicates a narrow airway. The tongue is too far back because of its posture plus the lack of forward jaw development.
Tongue Ties can be subtle (Grade 1 – primarily posterior) or obvious ( Grade 4). Either way, they will have an impact on a child’s arch development. Lack of arch development in width, but especially in an anterior direction will have a negative impact on the child’s airway size which will, in turn, decrease deep sleep and prevent the tongue from functioning up and forward in the palate which is what drives the expansive growth of the dental arches.
Deep sleep is when growth hormone is typically released. Disrupted sleep in children is also associated with behavior issues and ADHD to name a few.
It is important to recognize and treat issues like tongue ties that contribute to jaws that just do not grow large enough for the tongue and therefore are also associated with sleep-disordered breathing issues like sleep apnea later in life.
Ideal tongue tie treatment involves first working with a myofunctional therapist who can help patients retrain the tongue to function up and forward in the palate like it is supposed to do so that it drives proper orthopedic dental arch development. Then the tie release is done, typically with a laser in a fairly brief procedure.
Below is a questionnaire for parents to answer about their child. The more answers that are checked, the higher the possibility that the child may have a breathing disorder that can affect their sleep, facial and cognitive development. The next step would be to schedule them with our Victoria dental office or someone else with extensive education on pediatric disordered breathing.
Pediatric Sleep Questionnaire
The questions below all have to do with pediatric breathing issues. The more that are “yes” with your child, the more likely it is that they have an issue with breathing while sleeping. In our practice, we are very interested in our patients’ overall health.
Orthodontic treatment can be an important part of managing the health problems caused by sleep and breathing disorders.
- While sleeping, does your child snore more than half the time?
- While sleeping, does your child always snore?
- While sleeping, does your child snore loudly?
- While sleeping, does your child have “heavy” or loud breathing?
- While sleeping, does your child have trouble breathing, or struggle to breathe?
- Have you ever seen your child stop breathing during the night?
- Does your child occasionally wet the bed, sleepwalk, or have night terrors (circle any)?
- Does your child tend to breathe through the mouth during the day?
- Does your child have a dry mouth on waking in the morning?
- Does your child wake up unrefreshed in the morning?
- Does your child wake up with headaches in the morning?
- Is it hard to wake up your child in the morning?
- Does your child have a problem with sleepiness during the day?
- Has a teacher or supervisor commented – your child appears sleepy during the day?
- Did your child stop growing at a normal rate at any time since birth?
- Is your child overweight?
- This child often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
- This child often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
- This child often is easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
- This child often fidgets with hands or feet, or squirms in seat
- This child often is “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor”
- This child often interrupts or intrudes on others (butts into conversations or games)
First Dentist Visit
If your child has never been to a dental office, please call today to schedule. We find that if your child is comfortable with their environment, we can often circumvent the need for sedation. We help the child become comfortable with our office with a “happy visit” if they are very young or apprehensive. Our primary goal during the happy visit is to meet the child, let him or her get to know us and the equipment that we use.
If your child is in need of a children’s dentist in Victoria, TX please call us at 361-573-7722