Pediatric DentistNapa, CA
Pediatric dentistry is a branch of dentistry that focuses specifically on treating children. Dentists trained in this specialty can treat children from infancy through their teenage years. Sticking with one pediatric dentist can help a child maintain good oral health until adulthood.
Pediatric dentistry is available at Dr. David Suttie Dentistry for Children in Napa and the surrounding area. We provide gentle, quality care to ease your child’s dental anxieties. Call us today at 707-257-6453 to schedule an appointment or learn more about our services.
What to Expect From a Pediatric Dentist
In addition to completing four years of dental school, pediatric dentists must undergo two additional years of residency training for pediatric dentistry (including dentistry for children with special needs). As such, pediatric dentists are uniquely qualified to care for their patients’ teeth, gums, and mouth throughout their entire childhood. They provide comprehensive dental care, including but not limited to:
- Cavity treatment
- Dental injury care
- Diagnoses of various tooth conditions
- Early teeth straightening
- Gum disease management
- Oral health exams
- Patient and parent education
- Preventive dental care
Teeth typically begin erupting during the first six months of life, and permanent teeth start replacing baby teeth by age six or seven. Consequently, parents must stress the importance of oral healthcare to their children from an early age.
Regular Pediatric Dentist Visits
Children should see a dentist either by their first birthday or within six months of their first tooth erupting (whichever comes first). Additionally, to ensure their oral health remains in optimal condition, parents and caregivers should take their children to the dentist at least once every six months.
It is arguably more important for children to make frequent dental visits than adults, as their teeth are still in the developmental stages. Many dental conditions may go unnoticed if not examined by a professional. Regular visits with a pediatric dentist can help protect teeth from decay, ensure proper tooth development, and make a child more comfortable in the dental office.
General Pediatric Dental Services
Pediatric dentists offer a vast suite of general dentistry services for children. Some of the most popular involve bad breath (halitosis) treatment, dental sealants, fluoride treatment, and fillings. Poor oral hygiene is the most common cause of halitosis in children. Treatment may involve a professional dental cleaning and habit and lifestyle counseling.
Pediatric dentists can also place dental sealants on both the primary and permanent teeth to cover deep pits and grooves and protect any cavity-prone areas. Additionally, fluoride treatments can prevent cavities and decay. Fillings may be used to repair cavities or cracks in the teeth.
Restorative Pediatric Dental Services
Restorative pediatric dentistry aims to repair or limit any damage from cavities, protect and preserve the tooth structure, restore function and aesthetics where applicable, and facilitate good oral hygiene maintenance. Some of the most common restorative pediatric dental services include crowns, root canals, and gum disease treatment.
Pediatric dentists may place dental crowns to protect, cover, and restore the shape of damaged teeth. These caps are typically only used when fillings are insufficient. Pediatric root canals, also known as pulpotomies, can prevent a child from losing a tooth prematurely. Premature tooth loss may cause problems with future permanent tooth eruption. Finally, pediatric dentists can help treat and prevent gum disease by encouraging good oral hygiene and conducting professional cleanings or administering medications as necessary.
Pediatric Dentistry and Patient Education
According to the CDC, cavities are among the most common chronic childhood diseases in the United States. Left untreated, they may lead to pain and infections that interfere with eating, speaking, playing, and learning. Furthermore, children with poorer oral health tend to miss more school and receive lower grades.
As part of a broader suite of comprehensive dental care, pediatric dentists can provide both children and their parents or caregivers with essential information on maintaining their dental health. This type of education is always particularly important with younger patients, who are still in the developmental stages of life.
Call Us Today
The right pediatric dentist can help your child establish good oral hygiene habits for the rest of their life. Our team at Dr. David Suttie Dentistry for Children can help. Call us today at 707-257-6453 to schedule an appointment or learn more about our services.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?
Yes. Pediatric dentists specialize in treating patients throughout all stages of adulthood. In contrast, family dentists are similar to general dentists in that they offer a variety of services to patients of all ages.
Why are baby teeth important?
Baby teeth, also known as primary teeth, are an integral part of each child’s health and development. Besides being necessary for your child’s chewing, speaking, and smiling abilities, they also hold space in the jaws for the permanent teeth erupting under the gums. Baby teeth that are lost prematurely may cause permanent teeth to drift into the empty space, causing crooked or crowded teeth.
How can I treat my child’s toothache?
Call us to make an appointment immediately. In the meantime, help your child rinse their mouth with warm saltwater. Place a cold compress on the face if they are experiencing any swelling. Acetaminophen can help with any pain and discomfort.
Is it wrong for my child to use a pacifier or suck their thumb?
These habits typically only become problematic if they continue for a prolonged period. Most children stop on their own by the age of three. If your child continues to suck their thumb or use a pacifier past this age, contact us immediately.
Can my child’s diet affect their teeth?
Yes. A balanced diet is one of the best ways to ensure your child’s oral health. If possible, include one serving each of breads and cereals; fruits and vegetables; meat, fish, and eggs; and milk and dairy products. Additionally, excessive sugar and starch intake may contribute to tooth decay, so try to limit these foods in your child’s diet. Dr. Suttie can provide you with more personalized recommendations for your child.
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