Pediatric Dentistry

Maplewood Dental Associates, a St. Paul and Maplewood family dentist, specializes in quality dental care for the entire family. No matter your age, oral health is an essential part of your overall health. We believe that a strong foundation of dental health starts with pediatric dentistry. Our pediatric dentists specialize in treating children from birth to adolescence because, contrary to what some people think, baby teeth are essential.

Essential Functions of Baby Teeth

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 essential functions.

First, primary teeth serve as guides for the eruption of permanent (adult) teeth by holding the space into which these new teeth will erupt. The crowns (tops) of the permanent teeth actually push against the baby teeth' roots so that the adult teeth can take their proper place.

Your child will rely on their baby teeth to perform other critical functions, including biting, chewing, and speaking. If primary teeth are not taken care of, it can disrupt the important functions they serve. 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 creates healthy habits that 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.

Importance of Pediatric Dentistry in Maplewood and St. Paul

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that each child has their first visit to their pediatric dentist by their first birthday. Though this may sound early, it is important for teaching proper pediatric oral hygiene techniques, checking for cavities, and watching 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 plan.

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 dental appointments.

Pediatric Dentistry Treatments in Maplewood and St. Paul

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. To best prevent and treat tooth decay, our 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
    • Dental sealants are a plastic coating that prevents cavities by sealing the little grooves on the chewing surfaces of back teeth known as "pits and fissures." These small crevices become the perfect environments for decay-causing bacteria. Immature tooth enamel is more permeable and 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 previously mentioned, baby teeth are important guides to the permanent teeth that are already forming beneath your child's gums. A root canal can save them from premature tooth loss, which can help prevent future bite problems, also known as malocclusions, that require orthodontic treatment.
  • Bonding
    • Chips and minor fractures to front teeth are common childhood occurrences, and they 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).

Make an Appointment with Your Pediatric Dentist in Maplewood and St. Paul, MN Today!

Protecting your child's teeth is an important task, but it's not one you need to undertake alone. The experts at Maplewood Dental associates are here to help you establish healthy oral habits, as well as providing you with the best dental treatment possible. If you have questions about pediatric dentistry, our other treatments, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us today. You may also schedule an appointment online. We hope to see you soon!

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