The Most Common Dental Problems in Children

Apr 21, 2019 — by Cristin Dowd, DDS
Tags: Pediatric Dentistry

A child showing his teethPediatric dentistry is important to maintaining a healthy smile and helps lay the foundation for a lifetime of properly caring for the teeth and gums.

Through pediatric dentistry treatments, it's possible to prevent oral health issues, as well as treat dental problems commonly seen in children. At Signature Smiles, Drs. Cristin Dowd and Ken Wu offer the latest treatments to keep children comfortable and at ease during dental visits.

Today, we'll consider the most common dental problems in children and how treatment at our Woodinville, WA practice can help.

Cavities and Tooth Decay

Cavities and tooth decay are common dental problems for children, especially those who eat a lot of sugary foods or drink milk or juice from a baby bottle.

Another possible contributing factor to cavities and tooth decay in children is lack of proper oral hygiene. Even children who brush twice a day may not be brushing properly, leaving behind plaque and acids that can lead to tooth decay.

Brushing for a full two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste can help remove harmful food remnants and plaque, as well as help to remineralize and strengthen the enamel. Also, seeing our Woodinville dentists for regular checkups allow us to catch cavities and tooth decay early and while they're most easily treated.

Gum Disease

Gum disease, a bacterial infection of the gum tissue, can develop in children when plaque is left along the gum line. If left untreated, gum disease can increase the risk of tooth decay, and spread to the bones and tissues supporting the teeth.

Common signs of gum disease are swollen gums that bleed when brushing or flossing. Simply improving brushing and flossing habits, along with regular cleanings from the dentist, is often enough to treat the early stages of gum disease, even in children.

Thumb Sucking and Pacifier Use

Long term thumb sucking and pacifier use can put pressure on the teeth, pushing them forward and changing a child's bite alignment. This can lead to the need for orthodontic treatment in the future.

Because extended thumb sucking and pacifier use can cause bite issues, it's important for parents to work with their children to end these habits. Depending on the age of the child, it may be helpful to have a dentist explain why it's important to stop thumb sucking or pacifier use.

Younger children may benefit from a reward system, such as giving stickers and earning a new book or special treat when they have gone a certain amount of time without sucking their thumb or using a pacifier.

Bite Alignment Issues

Bite alignment issues, also called malocclusion, is a common dental problem for children. Malocclusion may develop with prolonged thumb sucking or pacifier use, as previously discussed, or it may be genetic.

Alignment issues, including an overbite, underbite, and crossbite, can cause the teeth to wear unevenly, make chewing difficult or painful, and lead to aesthetic issues with the smile.

Correcting alignment issues through orthodontic treatment can help alleviate issues caused by malocclusion and create a beautiful smile.

Dental Emergencies

Despite many parents' best efforts to protect their children, childhood injuries are a fact of life. Unfortunately, some injuries can result in dental damage.

A fall, sports-related injury, or other accident can chip a tooth or cause a tooth to fall out. Such injuries require emergency dental treatment. Our Woodinville dentists understand the importance of treating dental emergencies immediately, which is why we offer emergency dental treatment and can be reached after-hours through our on-call emergency number.

Schedule a Consultation

Starting dental visits with children at a young age is a great way to establish good oral hygiene habits for life. To schedule a consultation for your child, we welcome you to call our staff at (425) 489-1177 at your earliest convenience.

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