When Should I Start Taking My Child To The Dentist?

Pediatric Dentistry in Long Beach

Often times, adults with major tooth problems admit to not having learned how to properly care for their mouths when they were younger. Educating our children about the importance of oral hygiene is critical to ensure they maintain the health of their mouths into adulthood.

Children’s Oral Health Facts

  • Our baby teeth form while we are still in our mothers’ wombs.
  • Unfortunately, up to 75% of young children across the globe have at least one cavity.
  • Children miss over 6 million school days because of a dental-related ailment or injury.
  • Kids who drink more than 3 carbonated beverages each day have 62% more cavities than kids who don’t drink pop.
  • American children spend close to half a billion dollars annually on chewing gum.

The Importance of Oral Hygiene During Childhood

Don’t wait until children become adults to teach them how to properly care for their mouths. In fact, there is arguably more urgency to teach kids about the importance of oral hygiene since children will have to care for two different sets of teeth in their lifetime.

While children still have their baby teeth, as a parent or educator, it’s your responsibility to encourage your kids to clean their teeth twice a day. If they can stick to a daily routine throughout their childhood, they should have no problem carrying over their regimen as they grow older.

It’s common knowledge that most children adore sugary treats and desserts. This is one of the biggest reasons to enforce proper mouth care in our youth; failure to do so will result in the development of cavities, which can force your children to require expensive dental work even before the eruption of their permanent adult teeth.

Child Dental Care Tips

Child dental care varies a little bit from adult dental care, namely because their teeth are smaller and impermanent. Special oral hygiene products are developed especially for children to motivate them to pick up their toothbrushes. These include toothbrushes decorated with popular media characters, colored toothpastes (that won’t stain their teeth), and different flavored mouthwashes.

  1. Teach dental hygiene to preschoolers by demonstrating how to brush your own teeth.
  2. Show your children to brush gently in a circular motion, starting at one side of the mouth and ending at the opposite side.
  3. Repeat the brushing for the bottom teeth.
  4. Remind your children to reach all the way to their back teeth. This can be challenging for kids with small mouths who also have sensitive gag reflexes.
  5. Start off by flossing your child’s teeth for them. Some technique is required for proper flossing, so this is one of the more difficult regimens to learn. Also, make sure to be gentle so as not to injure their gums.
  6. Create a chalkboard checklist and leave it near the bathroom sink to serve as a reminder for your children to brush twice each day. They will feel encouraged and motivated to tick off the checkboxes.
  7. Be patient and help your children brush and floss if they have difficulty in the beginning. They will gradually become more confident in cleaning their teeth on their own.

Morphology of Teeth

As mentioned above, we develop baby teeth, also known as milk teeth or primary teeth, before we are born. Children grow 20 primary teeth in total (10 on the top and 10 on the bottom of the mouth). Baby teeth are smaller, whiter, and smoother than adult teeth.

By the age of one or two, a child will start teething, which indicates the eruption of their baby teeth from their gums. This can be painful and irritating to many toddlers, so be prepared to treat the pain by using special teething toys.

Once your child reaches the age of 5-7, they should have their full set of baby teeth on display. This is the best time to enforce a proper oral hygiene routine, as they are now able to understand the importance of looking after their teeth.

Between the ages of 7-9, your child’s primary teeth will start to loosen to make way for their permanent adult teeth. Keep in mind that your child will be tempted to wiggle or nudge their baby teeth out of their gums. Try to encourage them not to play with their teeth too forcefully, as they will naturally fall out on their own.

It can be an exciting time in a child’s development as they lose their baby teeth. Support their imagination of the “tooth fairy”, and reward them for enduring the feat of making way for their adult teeth.

Your child’s adult teeth should emerge by the time they are 11-13. Our permanent adult teeth are larger and more rigid than our baby teeth. In addition, we sport 32 permanent teeth in adulthood (16 on the top and 16 on the bottom). Once your child has their full set of permanent teeth, they should be able to follow proper oral hygiene without assistance.

How Often Should a Child Go to The Dentist?

Most dental experts recommend bringing your child to the dentist no longer than six months after their first baby tooth emerges. On average, parents will start bringing their children to the dentist regularly by the age of 2-3. Once your child reaches the age of 3, it’s important to schedule check-up appointments every six months.

The first visit to the dentist can be scary and even traumatizing for some children. Dental procedures can seem invasive, especially if your child sees, hears, and feels the different tools being used to clean their teeth.

Pediatric dentistry differs from general dentistry:

  • Pediatric dentists use smaller equipment to better fit the small mouths of children.
  • Procedures are carried out with extra attention to the child and can be paused in the event of any discomfort.
  • Dentists who work exclusively with children are trained and prepared to deal with inevitable tantrums and hesitation.
  • Education is a major component of pediatric dentistry, and your child’s pediatric dentist will be all too happy to demonstrate the importance of oral hygiene during childhood.

“Fun Dental Facts.” Imagine Smiles, www.imagine-smiles.com/fun-dental-facts.html.

Common Types of Dental Diseases

Common Types of Dental Diseases

Our mouths host millions of bacterial cells; some are beneficial, while others can be very harmful. Bacteria is only one cause of the many oral diseases that can affect the different areas of our mouths. Some of the most common oral diseases include, but are not limited to:

1.  Periodontal Disease

If you’ve been diagnosed with periodontal disease, you need to take better care of your gums. Also known as gum disease, this common dental problem is usually the result of neglecting to floss your teeth on a regular basis. The buildup of plaque-causing bacteria eventually leads to the development of gingivitis or periodontitis, the first stages of periodontal disease.

Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
  • Gums that bleed after brushing, flossing, or eating crunchy foods
  • Tender, painful, swollen gums
  • Enlarging space between teeth
  • Frequent mouth sores

The good news is, periodontal disease can be treated through over the course of a few dental appointments. Deep teeth cleanings will be required to remove the plaque and tartar buildup in and around your gums. This procedure can be painful to some people but is usually spread out over a number of sessions.

2.  Tooth Decay & Cavities

One of the most common dental diseases is tooth decay, which affects millions of children and adults worldwide. The development of cavities is the result of tooth decay caused by a failure to brush your teeth after consuming sizeable quantities of sugary and acidic foods and beverages. These substances perforate the enamel, which later allows the proliferation of cavity-causing bacteria.

Symptoms of Tooth Decay
  • Sharp, localized pain around affected teeth, even if you are not chewing
  • Grey or brown colored spots appearing on the surface of your teeth
  • Swollen gums surrounding decaying teeth
  • Difficulty chewing food due to sensitivity

Cavities are treated by scraping or drilling away the bacteria from the surface of the tooth, which is later filled by composite or amalgam material to match the appearance of your natural tooth. Cavities that advance beyond the surface of your tooth to the interior pulp will require a root canal procedure performed by an endodontist. Alternatively, advanced-stage cavities can be cured through a tooth extraction.

3.  Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can target multiple regions of the mouth, including your throat, tongue, cheeks, and lips. Oral cancer can go undetected for a while, especially if you fail to visit the dentist every six months as recommended. This disease usually manifests as a swollen or tingling sore with a red or white surface which can be caused by excess tobacco consumption or Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

Symptoms of Oral Cancer
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Red or white ulcers that won’t disappear
  • Bleeding in affected areas

Your regular dental check-up should include an oral cancer screening, which involves probing every region of the mouth to detect early stages of the disease. If you’ve been diagnosed with oral cancer, there are many treatment options available such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

4.  Cleft Lip or Palate

A cleft lip or palate occurs in the fetal stage when tissues in the upper lip do not form completely at 6-9 weeks gestation. Cleft lip is not actually a disease; rather, it is a developmental issue. Depending on the severity of the cleft, this condition can either be cosmetic, or it can cause issues with eating, swallowing, and speaking.

Causes of Cleft Lip or Palate
  • Smoking or alcohol consumption during pregnancy
  • Pre-existing diabetes in carrying mothers
  • Certain epileptic medicines used before or during pregnancy
  • Genetics

If your child is born with a cleft lip or cleft palate, surgery must be performed within 18 months of birth to prevent serious health issues in the future. As your child ages, they can also undergo speech therapy if their cleft palate is more serious.

5.  Oral Thrush

Oral thrush is one of many types of oral infections caused by the growth of harmful Candida fungus in the mouth. This condition namely affects infants and people with reduced immunity. Oral thrush is easily noticed, as it results in milky white lesions spread out over the tongue and cheeks. If left untreated for too long, Candida fungus can target the tonsils and throat, leading to difficulty swallowing.

Symptoms of Oral Thrush
  • Spotted white sores or lesions covering mouth lining
  • Cracks and irritation on the corners of the mouth
  • Burning sensation when attempting to swallow
  • Reduction in appetite and dulled sense of taste

Oral thrush can be prevented by sticking to an oral hygiene routine that includes daily brushing and flossing. Once thrush is diagnosed in the mouth, your dentist may prescribe certain antibiotics to kill the fungal spores before the infection progresses.

6.  Halitosis

More commonly known as “bad breath”, halitosis is a chronic condition that can be caused by a number of risk factors, including smoking, poor dental hygiene, and existing respiratory tract infections. Halitosis can also be a side effect of gingivitis or periodontitis, which are caused by plaque and tartar buildup around the teeth and gums. This condition can lead to anxiety in social settings, as the mouth odor can be very noticeable in close face-to-face encounters.

Symptoms of Halitosis
  • Foul-smelling breath
  • Dry or cracked mouth
  • Thick, mucousy saliva
  • Constant bitter or metallic taste

Halitosis can be treated by simply adopting a strict oral hygiene routine and visiting your dentist on a regular basis. Flossing and brushing should be accompanied by the use of antiseptic mouthwash to get rid of bacteria after eating and before bedtime. In addition, staying hydrated with fluoridated water throughout the day can alleviate the symptoms of bad breath.

7.  Diabetes

Although diabetes is not a dental disease in and of itself, many studies suggest a relationship between diabetes and oral health problems. Surprisingly, advanced gum disease leads to issues with blood sugar control, which can cause Type 2 diabetes in some people. Vice versa, people who suffer from diabetes may have a weakened immunity, making them susceptible to bacterial infections in the mouth.

Dental-Related Symptoms of Diabetes
  • Blood sugar dysregulation caused by periodontal disease
  • Halitosis due to ketosis (production of ketones for fuel when sugar is deficient)
  • Dry mouth

Regular visits to your dentist will ensure none of the above dental diseases are left undetected. If you are experiencing the latter stages of any one of these oral health problems, your dentist will be able to provide you with an effective treatment plan as early as your next appointment. We want to help you achieve a radiant smile. Call us at (562) 988-0148, and let us show you how!

How Are Your Teeth Numbered? Understanding Your Dental Chart

Your Dental Chart - Greg Campbell D.D.S.

Trying to interpret your dental x-rays can be very confusing, so it’s no surprise that many people are afraid of the dentist. The good news is, it’s easy to learn how to read your dental chart. With this guide, you can feel more confident and prepared ahead of your next important dental procedure.

Types of Human Teeth

Adults have 32 teeth, which can be broken down into four categories: Molars Our molars are responsible for helping us thoroughly chew our food. A healthy set of teeth will have 12 molars arranged in the back of the mouth. Molars are grown to be extremely strong to grind and crush textured foods for safe swallowing. Wisdom teeth are a type of molar which emerge at the very back of the gums in some dental patients. Premolars Also known as bicuspids, our premolars are slightly less strong than our molars. Each side of the mouth holds 4 premolars, or 8 premolars in total. Bicuspids usually have a flat surface to help tear food apart and assist the molars with food liquefaction. Incisors Our 8 frontmost teeth (4 on the top and 4 on the bottom) are referred to as incisors. This tooth type is the first to emerge in infants as early as 6 months old. The center two incisors are known as “central”, while the two on either side are known as “lateral”. Our incisors are designed for biting and gripping food for chewing. Canines Healthy mouths contain 4 canine teeth which flank our incisors (2 on the top and 2 on the bottom). Canine teeth are distinctly sharper than our other teeth in order to effectively tear food into chewable chunks. Our canine teeth can have a more animalistic appearance, and some evolutionists believe humans developed canines to be able to consume meat.

Dental Chart of Teeth Numbers

Now that we are familiar with the four types of teeth, we can easily pinpoint the location of each tooth in our mouths. A healthy human mouth will have symmetrically arranged teeth so that teeth on opposing sides of the mouth will be of the same type.

How Are Teeth Numbered?

Teeth 1-16

Our first 16 teeth are located at the top of the mouth. We start with Tooth #1, a molar on the back right side of our mouths known as the upper right quadrant. Dentists and dental hygienists will count through to Tooth #16, located in the upper left quadrant.

TOP TEETH
Tooth NumberType of ToothQuadrantOpposite Tooth
1MolarUpper Right16
2MolarUpper Right15
3MolarUpper Right14
4PremolarUpper Right13
5PremolarUpper Right12
6CanineUpper Right11
7IncisorUpper Right10
8IncisorUpper Right9
9IncisorUpper Left8
10IncisorUpper Left7
11CanineUpper Left6
12PremolarUpper Left5
13PremolarUpper Left4
14MolarUpper Left3
15MolarUpper Left2
16MolarUpper Left1
Teeth 17-32

We continue counting our bottom teeth from Tooth #17 found in the lower left quadrant. Then, we work our way back to the lower right quadrant, ending at Tooth #32.

BOTTOM TEETH
Tooth NumberType of ToothQuadrantOpposite Tooth
17MolarLower Left32
18MolarLower Left31
19MolarLower Left30
20PremolarLower Left29
21PremolarLower Left28
22CanineLower Left27
23IncisorLower Left26
24IncisorLower Left25
25IncisorLower Right24
26IncisorLower Right23
27CanineLower Right22
28PremolarLower Right21
29PremolarLower Right20
30MolarBottom Right19
31MolarBottom Right18
32MolarBottom Right17

What Are Primary Teeth?

As you may already know, human beings grow two sets of teeth in their lifetime. As infants and young children, we develop 20 individual primary teeth, also known as baby teeth, milk teeth, or deciduous teeth. Baby teeth usually start to erupt from the gums in infants aged 6 months. Normally, our upper and lower incisors are the first teeth that appear (and also the first teeth to fall out). Primary teeth are noticeably smaller than adult teeth. The roots are also thinner and shorter so they can easily grow out of the gums to make way for our permanent teeth. Children usually retain their primary teeth until the age of 6 or 7, when they begin to loosen and shed. Primary teeth should be monitored by parents throughout childhood because they will determine your child’s ability to speak and chew food into adulthood.

When Do Permanent Teeth Come In?

Once a child begins to shed their primary teeth, their permanent adult teeth will continue to grow until the age of 21 when they have completely emerged. As stated above, a healthy adult mouth will consist of 32 permanent teeth. Our adult teeth are much larger and stronger than the primary teeth we nurse in childhood, but we must care for them with the same amount of attention. Since the roots of our permanent teeth are much longer and thicker, improper care can lead to a tremendous amount of tooth pain. Since we do not grow any more teeth after our permanent teeth have settled in, chronic dental issues need to be addressed by a dental professional.

Dr. Campbell Can Help You Read Your Dental Chart…

Dr. Campbell and our dental team at Greg Campbell, D.D.S. would be happy to help you navigate your personal dental chart. We’re dedicated to providing the information you need about each and every one of your teeth to help you make educated decisions about your dental care. We offer a number of important dental services, including:

  • Dental Whitening
  • Teeth Irrigation
  • X-Ray Exams
  • Screening for Gum Disease
  • Oral Cancer Screening
  • Tooth Decay Evaluation
  • And much more.

We want to help you achieve a radiant smile. Call us at (562) 988-0148, and let us show you how! “Human Teeth Dental Charts – Bradford Family Dentistry”Bradford Family Dentistry, www.bradfordfamilydentist.ca/human-teeth-dental-charts.

Your Regular Dental Checkup: The MAJOR Benefits

Dental Checkup in Long Beach

Contrary to popular belief, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends your regular dental checkup “at intervals determined by a dentist” rather than biannually. The recommendation many patients receive exceeds two.

That is because, along with vigilant oral health practices, regular dental checkups are a vital element to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. This is largely due in part to the proven two-tiered format of these visits: the examination and the cleaning.

Regular Checkup: The Examination

The number one goal of a regular dental checkup is to detect cavities and potential cavities. The basic physical examination administered by your dentist checks for acid plaque problem areas – zones of clear bacterial growth – as well as the subsequent tartar build-up that causes cavities. This allows your dentist to inform your oral hygiene practices moving forward while establishing shared expectations. Only then does your dentist pinpoint visible surface cavities.

The X-ray portion of the examination allows your dentist to see the invisible: cavities between teeth; tooth roots and other critical bones and tissues; the developing teeth of small children; periodontal diseases. You might hear us use words like intraoral X-rays and extraoral X-rays. These are X-rays taken inside your mouth (intraoral) and X-rays taken outside your mouth (extraoral). Recent developments in intraoral X-ray technology have made it the preferred method at your local dental office for staying on top of cavities and a litany of other periodontal diseases. It is safer for patients and more comprehensive for your local dentist and hygienists alike.

The preferred method of extraoral X-ray is the panoramic X-ray. The goal of the panoramic X-ray is to capture a single picture that encapsulates your whole mouth. This allows us to identify deeply-rooted infections (and even tumors), bone deformities, anomalies, and breaks, impacted teeth, and other injuries.

Regular dental checkups are especially important for babies and small children. Not only does it establish good habits but it safeguards against cavities during a particularly vulnerable time of development. Baby teeth are incredibly porous and more susceptible to ravages of prevalent cavity-producing bacteria.

Regular Checkup: The Cleaning

While proper brushing techniques and regular flossing go a long way towards keeping your teeth free from cavity-producing plaque, tartar that has made its home on the surface of your teeth cannot be removed safely without the help of a professional. These stubborn calcified deposits require attention from precision handheld dental equipment under controlled conditions in order to maximize both comfort and results.

The same applies for other cavity-producing bacteria. Your diligence aside, many harmless and harmful bacteria will spread throughout your mouth between visits. Lactobacillus acidophilus, tenacious bacteria which are responsible for the majority of tooth decay in children, makes its home in the smallest nooks and crannies – think microscopic!

Odontomyces viscoses are bacteria that rest beyond the reach of your toothbrush at the back of your tongue which prey on the protective outer-layer of your tooth root. And then there are the six strains of streptococcus which regularly target the flat surfaces of the sides of your teeth.

Campbell DDS’ cleaning experience is patient-centered. It is our goal to deliver a pain-free cleaning from beginning to end. We believe that listening to our patients is the first step in treating and preventing periodontal disease and establishing truly personalized and lasting oral hygiene regimens. If you are experiencing discomfort during a cleaning we encourage you to speak up!