Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years specialty training following dental school and limits his/her practice to treating children only. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs.
An initial exam is recommended by your child’s first tooth or first birthday. This first exam can give both the dentist and the parent an opportunity to review some fundamentals of pediatric dental growth and development, check for cavities, and review some important preventative measures. Early detection and management of oral conditions can improve your child’s oral health and general health and well-being. Delaying treatment can sometimes result in more extensive and costly care.
This first visit gives your child an opportunity to meet the dentist in a non-threatening and friendly way. We will complete a visual examination of the gums and teeth, assess your child’s behaviour and may request necessary x-rays to evaluate areas we cannot see visually. We want to keep the appointment short and fun for the child. This may mean that we will wait until the second visit to complete a cleaning or perform any dental work your child may need. We may ask you to wait in the reception area during part of the visit so that a relationship can be built between your child and the dentist.
Children are often way cooler about going to see the dentist than their parents are. Try not to project any anxiety you might have onto your little one. Just relax and be honest – tell your child he or she is going to the dentist, which is a good thing. You can even say: “the doctor will count your teeth”, and that it will be fun – we’re pretty sure it will be!
A check-up every six months is generally recommended in order to prevent cavities, find cavities at their earliest stages, and catch other dental problems. However, we will recommend to you when and how often your child should visit based on their personal oral health.
We will bill your insurance company directly and collect the balance from you (if any) at the time of treatment.
Yes, we accept social services including Alberta Child Health Benefits (ACHB) plans and First Nations Non Insured Health Benefits (NIHB).
Your child will keep some of their primary or “baby” teeth until approximately 9 – 13 years old. Primary teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt. Untreated dental cavities in primary teeth can result in pain and infection.
Teeth should be brushed at least twice a day, morning and before bed. The most important time to brush is just before the child goes to sleep for the night.
Tooth brushing is one of the most important tasks for good oral health. When looking for a toothpaste for your child, make sure to pick one that is recommended by the Canadian Dental Association as shown on the box and tube. These toothpastes have undergone testing to ensure they are safe to use.
Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. As soon as the teeth begin to appear, start brushing twice daily using fluoridated toothpaste and a soft, age-appropriately-sized toothbrush. Use a “smear” of toothpaste no larger than a grain of rice to brush the teeth of a child less than 2 years of age. For the 2-5 year old patient who can spit, dispense a “pea-size” amount of toothpaste and perform or assist your child’s tooth brushing. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.
You should start flossing your children’s teeth even when they only have their baby teeth. Children are prone to cavities between their teeth. Tooth brushing alone will not adequately clean these spaces, and food and bacteria can build up between those teeth. Once a child’s teeth start to fit closely together, usually between the ages of two and six, parents should start to get their children in the habit of flossing daily. As they develop dexterity, you can help them learn to floss. Children usually develop the ability to floss on their own around the age of 10.
Healthy eating habits lead to healthy teeth. Like the rest of the body, the teeth, bones and the soft tissues of the mouth need a well-balanced diet.
Most snacks that children eat can lead to cavity formation. The more frequently a child snacks, the greater the chance for tooth decay. How long food remains in the mouth also plays a role. For example, hard candy, sticky foods and breath mints stay in the mouth for a long time, which cause longer acid attacks on tooth enamel. If your child must snack, choose nutritious foods such as vegetables, low-fat yogurt, and low-fat cheese, which are healthier and better for children’s teeth.
Children should eat a variety of foods from the five major food groups. Most snacks that children eat can lead to cavity formation. The more frequently a child snacks, the greater the chance for tooth decay. How long food remains in the mouth also plays a role. For example, hard candy, sticky foods and breath mints stay in the mouth for a long time, which cause longer acid attacks on tooth enamel. If your child must snack, choose nutritious foods such as vegetables, low-fat yogurt, and low-fat cheese, which are healthier and better for children’s teeth.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (BBTD) is a devastating form of tooth decay that can rapidly destroy a child’s four upper front teeth and lower back teeth by the age of two or three. BBTD develops when the child’s bottle containing milk, juice or sugar-containing liquids is left in the child’s mouth for prolonged periods of time.
START EARLY with good feeding habits. The bottle should only be used at mealtimes, not as a pacifier during the day or night. Do not bottle feed your child soft drinks, fruit juices, gelatin waters or other sweetened drinks.
If your baby is currently taking a bottle during naps or at night, you should stop this habit immediately, provided the child is well and caregivers are prepared for two to three nights of crying which will end once the child adjusts to the new regimen. You can immediately quit giving your child a bottle at night or during naps or you can gradually wean them from this habit by diluting the contents of the bottle with water.
All 20 primary teeth usually appear by age 3, however the pace and order of their eruption varies. The first baby teeth to erupt through the gums are usually the lower central incisors, followed closely by the upper central incisors. Most kids get their first baby teeth at about 6 months, though some get them earlier or later, which is perfectly normal. Some kids don’t get their first teeth until after their first birthday! Permanent teeth usually begin appearing around age 6, starting with the first molars and lower central incisors.
Parents are often concerned about the nocturnal grinding of teeth (bruxism). Often, the first indication is the noise created by the child grinding on their teeth during sleep, or you may notice wear or the teeth getting shorter. The majority of cases of pediatric bruxism do not require any treatment. The good news is most children outgrow bruxism. The grinding decreases between the ages 6-9 and children tend to stop grinding between ages 9-12. If you suspect bruxism, discuss this with your pediatric dentist.
A sealant is a clear or white acrylic resin material that is applied to the chewing surfaces (grooves) of the back teeth (premolars and molars), where most cavities in children are found. This sealant acts as a barrier to food, plaque and acid, thus protecting the decay-prone areas of the teeth. It is a simple, non-invasive, cost effective procedure that has been proven to greatly reduce the chance of pit and fissure cavities.