Proper oral hygiene begins in infancy before a child’s first teeth appear. Pediatricians and dentists in Toms River NJ recommend cleaning an infant’s gums with gauze or a soft finger toothbrush without toothpaste. Once a baby’s teeth begin to emerge from the gums, toothpaste specifically designed for infants and toddlers can be used.
Research has proven pacifiers and thumb sucking can cause dental problems. Prolonged thumb sucking or use of a pacifier can cause the roof of a toddler’s mouth to become elongated and may lead to misalignment of the jaws. Such activities may also cause a child’s bottom front teeth to tilt inward and the top front teeth to tilt outward.
Allowing a toddler to sleep with a bottle or sippy cup can also lead to dental issues. Bottles and infant cups, when frequently used overnight, have been found to lead to the same types of problems as pacifiers. Additionally, allowing an infant or toddler to drink milk, baby formula and fruit juices throughout the night can cause tooth decay and early onset gum disease.
Children should begin seeing dentists in Toms River NJ by their first birthday for general dental care. This will help ensure good oral health care from the very beginning; furthermore, it will allow a child to become acclimated to the dentist’s office at a young age and help allay any fears in the future.
After this initial dental visit, dentists in Toms River NJ will begin scheduling routine cleanings and exams every six months, in order to maintain a child’s oral health. The dentist will x-ray the child’s mouth to confirm the teeth and jaws are growing and developing properly and that there are no underlying issues.
If any cavities are found through these x-rays, the dentist will drill away the decayed enamel and dentin and fill the resulting space with a resin composite compound. Similar to natural teeth in color and strength, this compound will help prevent tooth pain and further decay. Once a child’s baby teeth are replaced with permanent teeth, dentists in Toms River NJ will become concerned with tooth alignment. It is at this point that cosmetic dentistry comes into play.
Based on routine x-rays of the teeth and jaw bones, dentists in Toms River NJ will determine whether or not braces are needed. If braces are deemed appropriate, the dentist may recommend traditional metal or Invisalign braces for properly aligning the child’s teeth.