Pediatric Dental Issues

At Mt. Angel Dental, Dr. Weishoff sees pediatric patients for various pediatric dental issues. Such issues may range from dental emergencies, malocclusion, and thumbsucking to baby bottle tooth decay. She also offers solutions for missing teeth, cavities, and tooth and mouth injuries.

Dental Emergencies

At Mt. Angel Dental, we recognize the inevitability of our pediatric patients experiencing dental emergencies. Our team offers same-day appointments to any of our littlest patients dealing with such emergencies.

We provide a comprehensive range of emergency dental care services, whether your child has suffered a chipped, cracked, dislodged, or broken tooth. Immediate dental care is essential to protect your children’s teeth.

The American Dental Association recommends tackling a dental emergency immediately, as it can mean the difference between saving and losing a child’s permanent tooth.

Tips for Handling Dental Emergencies Quickly

Parents should handle dental emergencies quickly to save children’s deciduous or permanent teeth. 

In case of dental emergencies, take the following measures:

  • If your child knocks out a tooth in a fall, try to salvage the tooth by keeping it moist in some milk. If you can, try placing the tooth back in the socket without touching the root. If that is not possible, place it in between your child’s cheek and gum.
  • In the case of a cracked tooth, rinse your child’s mouth with lukewarm or warm water to clean the area. Cold compresses can help minimize any swelling.
  • If your child bites the tongue or lip, clean the area gently and apply a cold compress.
  • If your child has something stuck between the teeth, remove it gently with floss. Waxed floss is preferable as it is smoother and will glide more easily through the crevices of the teeth. Do not use sharp objects like a knife or anything else that is pointed. This could injure your child’s mouth, and gums can start bleeding.
  • In case of a toothache, rinse your child’s mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss to remove any food caught between the teeth. Do not put aspirin on the aching tooth or gum tissues. Direct application of aspirin on gums or cheeks can cause an aspirin burn.

Malocclusion

Malocclusion, or bad bite, is one of the most common dental issues seen among pediatric patients. Malocclusion occurs when the teeth are crowded, crooked, or out of alignment, and sometimes the lower and upper jaws do not align properly or the mouth may not close normally. This puts extra stress and strain on the jaw and can make everyday activities hard for children, including speaking and eating. 

It is hard to keep teeth and gums clean when children have crooked or crowded teeth. This can lead to an increased risk of cavities and gum disease. Additionally, a bad bite can affect the proper development of the jaws, put the protruding teeth at increased risk for chips and fractures, and make some teeth wear abnormally or faster.

Malocclusion usually becomes noticeable between 6 and 12 years of age when children’s permanent teeth appear. During this phase, it is a good idea for parents to stay current with their children’s regular dental check-ups and cleaning appointments.

Thumbsucking

Infants and babies are born with an instinct for rooting and sucking. As they grow, this instinct can cause them to suck on the easiest available option - their thumb or finger(s). Thumbsucking helps some children relax, feel safe, or be happy. Most children outgrow this habit between the ages of 2 and 4 years.

Unfortunately, thumbsucking can also cause changes in the roof of the mouth because children’s mouths are still tender and not yet fully formed around their permanent teeth. Consequently, thumbsucking can cause further problems with the proper growth of the mouth and alignment of the teeth.

If parents are concerned about their children’s thumb-sucking habits and how they may affect their children’s development, Dr. Weishoff can offer expert advice to help break these habits. 

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Tooth decay in infants and very young children is often referred to as baby bottle tooth decay. The most common cause is the frequent and prolonged exposure of the baby’s teeth to drinks that contain sugar or pacifiers that may be frequently dipped in sugar or syrup. When bottles are given to babies when they nap or at bedtime, there is a higher risk of tooth decay. This is because saliva flow decreases during sleep, and milk residue can pool in the mouth, making it the ideal place for bacteria to thrive.

Problems associated with baby bottle tooth decay include infected teeth or an early loss of teeth, which can cause your child to develop poor eating habits, speech problems, crooked teeth, and damaged adult teeth. Plus, the chances that adult teeth will end up crooked increases.

Parents can help their children avoid these issues. They can start by cleaning their children’s mouths with a clean, wet gauze pad after they have a bottle. This helps prevent plaque formation, which can harm erupting teeth. When your children’s teeth begin to appear, brush them gently with a child-sized toothbrush and a small amount of fluoride toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice).

Parents can also avoid giving their children sugar beverages (such as juices and sodas) in their baby bottles. These drinks have an incredibly high sugar content and can damage children’s developing teeth. Add only formula, milk, or breast milk to the bottle instead. Infants should finish their bedtime and nap time bottles before going to bed.

Missing Teeth

Sometimes, children may lose one or more of their baby teeth prematurely before their permanent teeth are ready to erupt. As a result, their adult teeth can erupt into the empty space instead of where they should be. When more adult teeth are ready to come in, there may not be enough room in the mouth for them because of the lost space. Space maintainers can be very useful in holding open the space left by the missing teeth. Talk to Dr. Weishoff about getting space maintainers for your children if they’ve lost baby teeth too early.

Dental Caries (Cavities)

Dental caries or cavities are the most common chronic disease among children in the United States and increase in prevalence among young children. Studies show that more than 40 percent of children in the 2 to 11 age group have had dental caries on their primary teeth.

Children become susceptible to dental caries as soon as their first teeth erupt, usually around 6 months. Dental sealants can help prevent tooth decay.

Sealants are a thin protective coating of plastic or dental material that adheres to the chewing surface of children’s back teeth. These sealants help keep cavities from forming and may even stop the early stages of decay from becoming a full-blown