As your child grows, they may encounter a number of dental problems. Some of the problems can be quickly remedied, but others may require lengthier treatments to eradicate the issues.
Here are a couple of pediatric dental problems that a kids' dentist may have to address.
One issue that may present among some babies is tongue-tie. The condition is caused by a frenulum that is too short.
The frenulum is the bit of connecting tissue that joins the tongue to the floor of the mouth. When the frenulum is not long enough, the tongue cannot move freely to allow a child to nurse or speak properly.
Since poor nursing can result in malnutrition, the condition may have to be quickly corrected. However, if the condition is not severe, a dentist may suggest waiting to see if the child's frenulum length will correct on its own.
When the dentist corrects tongue tie, they perform a frenulectomy, which is the removal of the frenulum. The procedure is performed in-office and is not uncomfortable for the child.
The dentist snips the tissue with a scalpel or medical scissors, freeing the tongue.
Baby Bottle Decay
Baby bottle decay is an age-related form of dental decay. As a child drinks from a bottle, the liquid slowly seeps into the mouth. Because of the slow flow of the liquid, the bottle's contents remain in contact with the teeth longer then a beverage consumed using a cup.
Although babies are often relegated to healthier beverages, many of their drinks still contain ample amounts of natural sugar. Milk contains lactose and fruit juices contain fructose. Both of these simple sugars are easily digested by oral microbes, which release decay-promoting acids as they feed.
The acids dissolve the minerals of the teeth, leading to the formation of cavities. Baby bottle decay can cause such severe damage that the teeth can turn black.
The condition may be exacerbated by feeding babies via a bottle as they prepare to sleep. Although the act of sucking may soothe the child, as the little one falls asleep, their swallowing reflex relaxes. Thus, the contents of the bottle pool in the mouth, elevating the duration of the contact between the liquids and the tooth enamel.
Dentists often recommend the weaning of a child as soon as possible to discourage decay. If bottle drinking persists into toddlerhood, the dentist may also suggest the placement of dental sealants to help block the contact between the sugary liquids and the teeth.
To learn more about your child's teeth and how to keep them healthy, schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist in your local area.