Pediatric Dentistry in Melrose
Pediatric dentistry lays the foundation for a lifetime of good oral health. Primary teeth matter—they aid in proper jaw and facial growth, speech development, help your child eat the nutritious foods they need for overall growth, and maintain space in the mouth for the permanent teeth to erupt. With regular dental visits starting from a young age, your child will feel comfortable at our office and learn that the dentist is someone they can trust.
We offer the following pediatric dental services:
Comprehensive Oral Evaluation and Digital Radiographs
Just like with adults, children should see the dentist for oral evaluations every six months in order to prevent cavities and other dental problems. During these visits, we may also recommend a dental x-ray to help us identify decay, extra teeth, bone defects, tumors, and cysts, as well as to allow us to monitor the progress of previous procedures.
During your child’s routine dental visits, their teeth will be thoroughly cleaned to remove plaque and tartar. The teeth are then polished to remove stains and slow the buildup of new plaque. These regular cleanings are an important part in keeping the gums healthy and the teeth free of decay.
The teeth are full of microscopic crevices and some patients have more than others. If your child is prone to cavities, we may suggest using dental sealants to prevent decay. A safe resin material is applied to the surfaces of the teeth in order to seal these crevices and prevent plaque from collecting in them. The sealant is painted onto the chewing surface and then it hardens; it is a quick, painless procedure.
Fluoride is a mineral that plays a critical role in dental health. It strengthens tooth enamel and prevents decay. We administer fluoride treatments at your child’s routine dental visits. It may be applied as a gel, foam, or varnish.
If your child participates in athletics, it’s important for them to wear a custom-fitted mouth guard, particularly if they are wearing braces. Many school athletic programs require the use of mouth guards and the ones custom-made for your child’s mouth are superior to store-bought options, which are often bulky and uncomfortable.
Pediatric Dentistry FAQs
Why is pediatric dentistry important?
Pediatric dentistry allows us to optimize preventative measures and set up our youngest patients for ideal dental health for the rest of their lives. It is important that all of our patients have a great experience in the office and this comfort comes from having a relationship of trust that is built over time through regular and especially preventative care like exams and cleanings. This allows us to minimize the need for treatment and if needed it is usually much more conservative and painless.
What causes decay in children’s teeth?
Bacteria causes tooth decay, but in children especially sugar is the main driving force of activity for the bacteria. Sugary foods and drinks often leave residue on and in between teeth that allow bacterial plaque to form that over time enables the bacteria to break into a tooth. Limiting sugary foods and drinks, brushing and flossing twice a day, and coming to the office for re-mineralizing fluoride treatments and sealants are some ways to help prevent tooth decay.
How often do you take a toddler to the dentist?
We recommend that all patients come to the dentist at least every six months for routine exams and cleanings, but of course more often if there are any dental concerns with your child. Even the best “brushers” and “flossers” (dentists and hygienists included) usually get a bit of leftover plaque in tough to reach areas that hardens into tartar that can only be removed with professional tools and during the exams we can evaluate proper growth and development and help mitigate some risk factors for optimal oral health.
What happens at your child’s first dentist appointment?
Your child should come to see the dentist at around 12 months or when the first tooth erupts. We will examine any teeth and soft tissues in the mouth at this time, but often the first dental appointment is more about giving us the opportunity to get to know you and your child and to instruct you on how to care for your little one’s teeth.
Do you need to fill cavities in baby teeth?
While there may be some specific exceptions, cavities in baby teeth should be treated and often this requires a filling. Unfortunately once a cavity forms it cannot heal and will get bigger and can spread to other teeth possibly causing pain or even infection. Because of the many advances in materials and technology dental fillings can often be done very quickly, without numbing, and can spare your child pain and trauma. Baby teeth set the foundation for growth and development of not only the adult teeth, but also the face, jaw, and airway.
Are dental sealants safe for my child?
Yes, dental sealants are a safe and effective way to help protect teeth from developing cavities in vulnerable grooves. Dental sealants have been used for decades to prevent cavities in teeth. While most often recommended on newly formed teeth in children, they are also a useful treatment for teens and adults. Sealants are a BPA-free coating that’s applied to the teeth to seal the bumpy chewing surface of the tooth in order to keep decay from forming it is a quick, easy and painless procedure that allows us to minimize the need for more extensive treatments.