Pediatric Dentistry

Maplewood Dental Associates specializes in quality dental care for the entire family. No matter your age, oral health is an essential part of your health. We believe that a strong foundation of dental health is established through pediatric dentistry. In addition to cosmetic dentistry and our general dentistry services, our pediatric dentists specialize in treating children from birth to adolescence. Regardless of your age, our Maplewood and St. Paul dentists believe a healthy smile can start today.

Importance of Pediatric Dentistry

Your child won't keep his or her first teeth forever, but that doesn't mean those tiny pearly whites can be ignored. Maintaining your child's dental health now will provide health benefits well into adulthood, as primary (baby) teeth serve some extremely important functions.

For one thing, primary teeth serve as guides for the eruption of permanent (adult) teeth, holding the space into which these new teeth will erupt. The crowns (tops) of the permanent teeth actually push against the roots of the baby teeth, causing them to resorb, or melt away. In this way, the adult teeth can take their proper place.

What's more, your child's primary teeth will be there for most of childhood, helping your child to bite, chew, and speak. For the first six or so years, he or she will be relying on primary teeth exclusively to perform these important functions. Until around age 12, your child will have a mix of primary and permanent teeth. You will want to make sure those teeth stay healthy and are lost naturally — when it's time.


Caring For Your Child's First Teeth

It is important to establish an effective oral hygiene routine from a young age. Not only does this keep your child’s mouth healthy, but it establishes healthy habits which can carry over into adulthood. Your infant's gums and newly erupting teeth should be gently wiped after each feeding with a water-soaked gauze pad or damp washcloth. Starting at age 2, when there are more teeth in the mouth, establish a daily brushing routine with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and no more than a thin smear of fluoridated toothpaste. Your child may need your help with this important task until about the age of 6.

Your Child's First Pediatric Dental Appointment

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that each child has their first visit to their pediatric dentist by his/her first birthday. Though this may sound early, we can teach you proper pediatric oral hygiene techniques, check for cavities, and watch for developmental problems.

Throughout these early years, our pediatric dentists can also monitor for orthodontic problems that typically become apparent around age 7. If your child requires braces or Invisalign, your pediatric dentist can work alongside your orthodontist to promote a healthy treatment process.

Most of all, we want to make sure your child has a positive experience at our Maplewood office and will be a regular visitor for years to come. You can begin introducing your child to the dentist experience by having them accompany you to one of your cosmetic dentistry appointments.

Pediatric Dentistry Treatments

While we will strive to keep your children’s teeth healthy and strong, there may be a need for pediatric dental treatments at some point during childhood. In order to best prevent and treat tooth decay, our Maplewood pediatric dentists offer the following treatments:

  • Topical Fluoride
    • Fluoride treatment is an effective and common prevention method. Since fluoride incorporates into the enamel of teeth, it makes it harder and more resistant to decay. Although there is a small amount of fluoride in toothpaste and in some drinking water supplies, we can apply a higher concentration onto your child's teeth for maximum protection (Watch Preventing Cavities in Kids Video).
  • Dental Sealants
    • We can apply a plastic coating that prevents cavities by sealing the little grooves on the chewing surfaces of back teeth known as “pits and fissures.” These little crevices become the perfect environments for decay-causing bacteria. Immature tooth enamel is more permeable and therefore less resistant to tooth decay. Dental sealants are easy to apply and provide years of protection (Watch Dental Sealant Video).
  • Root Canal Treatment
    • Perhaps you have had a root canal treatment yourself, to save an injured or severely decayed tooth. Well, sometimes children need root canals, too. As mentioned above, baby teeth are important guides to the permanent teeth that are already forming beneath your child's gums. Therefore, saving them from premature loss can help prevent a malocclusion (“mal” – bad; “occlusion” – bite) that requires orthodontic treatment.
  • Bonding
    • Chips and minor fractures to front teeth — common childhood occurrences — can be repaired with tooth-colored bonding materials. These lifelike resins made of plastic and glass can be used on baby teeth as well as permanent teeth and last until the youngster has completed facial growth (Watch Dental Bonding Video).

Visit Your Local Pediatric Dentists!

Protecting your child’s teeth is a daunting task, but it’s not one you need to undertake alone. With your Maplewood pediatric dentist, you can help establish healthy habits and access the best dental treatment possible. If you have questions about pediatric dentistry or any of our other treatments, please contact us today. You may also schedule an appointment online. We hope to see you soon!

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