FAQ –Pediatric Dentistry

What Is a Pediatric Dentist?

Pediatric dentists complete two to three extra years of specialized training after dental school. They specialize in the oral health of children from infancy to the teenage years. Children of all ages need different approaches in dealing with behavior, guiding and monitoring their dental growth and development, and helping them avoid future dental issues. Because of their specialized training, pediatric dentists are best qualified to meet these needs.

Why Are the Primary Teeth Important?

The primary teeth, which are also called baby teeth, are very important because they allow a child to eat and chew properly, provide space for the permanent teeth and help guide them into their correct positions, and allow the jaw bones and muscles to develop normally. Primary teeth also affect speech development. Maintaining the health of the primary teeth is important, as neglected cavities and often do lead to issues which affect the developing permanent teeth. The front baby teeth generally last for about six to seven years. The back baby teeth generally stay in until about 10 to 13 years of age.

Does Your Child Grind His/Her Teeth at Night? (Bruxism)

If your child has bruxism (nocturnal teeth grinding) issues, you may hear them grinding their teeth during sleep. You may also notice their teeth beginning to wear, or becoming shorter. Bruxism may occur because of stress due to a move, divorce, changes in school, etc. Bruxism may also occur because of pressure changes in the inner ear at night. If this is the case, the child may grind his or her teeth to relieve the pressure. Most children outgrow teeth grinding. Grinding often decreases between the ages of six and nine and stops between the ages of nine and twelve. If you think your child has bruxism, contact Drs. Burt and Allen at All Kids Dental Pediatrics & Orthodontics.

What Is Pulp Therapy?

Dental pulp is located in the central core of the tooth and contains nerves, blood vessels, connective tissue, and reparative cells. In some situations, pulp therapy is used in pediatric dentistry to maintain the vitality of a tooth so it is not lost.

Cavities and traumatic injury are the main reasons for a tooth to need pulp therapy. Pulp therapy is sometimes called nerve treatment, children’s root canal, pulpectomy, or pulpotomy. In children’s teeth, the two common forms of pulp therapy are pulpotomy and pulpectomy.

During a pulpotomy, our dentists in Aspen, Glenwood Springs, and Rifle, Colorado, will remove the diseased pulp tissue within the crown portion of the tooth. An agent is then placed to prevent the growth of bacteria and to calm the remaining nerve tissue. Then a final restoration (usually a stainless steel crown) is placed.

A pulpectomy may be recommended when the entire pulp is diseased. Our dentists will remove the infected pulp from both the crown and the root. The canals are then cleaned out and disinfected. If the treatment is performed on an adult tooth, the tooth is also filled with a resorbable material. The final restoration is then placed.

What Is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

(Early Childhood Caries)
One common form of decay among young children is baby bottle tooth decay. This form of decay is caused by long, frequent exposures of a baby’s teeth to liquids that contain sugar. Liquids to be careful of include milk (and breast milk), formula, fruit juice, and other sweetened drinks. Avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle filled with anything but water, as this can cause rapid and serious tooth decay.

Be sure to clean your baby’s gums even before they grow their first tooth. Wipe your child’s gums and teeth with a damp washcloth or gauze pad after each feeding to remove plaque.