Children’s Dental Health

Following are some frequently asked questions related to oral surgery and children’s dental health and conditions.

What are the advantages of digital x-rays?
While Digital X-Ray equipment is much more expensive than traditional x-rays, it offers patients tremendous advantages, including less exposure to radiation, better picture quality, shorter “chair time”, better dental records, and no resulting hazardous waste disposal. The digital images allow us to enlarge images for a better view and can be instantly manipulated to help our team make a better diagnosis, which results in better care and better treatment for your child. What should I know about periodontal disease in children?
While you may think gum disease only affects adults, the first stage of periodontal disease, gingivitis, has been found in children and teens. The main cause of gum disease is bacterial plaque, which is a sticky, colorless film that is constantly forming on your teeth. If not treated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, which affects a child’s first molars and incisors. Signs of gingivitis in children are swollen gum tissues, redness, and bleeding. If left untreated, it can affect the gums and bone supporting the teeth, which can lead to tooth loss. You should schedule an appointment at our office as soon as possible if your child is exhibiting signs of gum disease. If your child has an advanced form of periodontal disease, it may be an early sign of diabetes or another systemic disease. If this is the case, they should receive a medical evaluation to ensure they receive the appropriate treatment. What are supernumerary teeth?
Supernumerary teeth are extra teeth that develop in addition to the normal 32. This is a condition called hypodontia. These extra teeth will most likely lead to crowding, poor oral hygiene, and the need for orthodontic treatments. The development of supernumerary teeth can be seen on x-rays, and our dentists will work to extract these teeth as early as possible. This prevents crowding and shifting. These teeth are most commonly found behind the teeth directly in front of the molars and just behind the upper teeth. They can also be found near the back teeth/wisdom tooth area. What is an impacted tooth?
An impacted tooth is a tooth that fails to fully emerge. The most common teeth to become impacted are wisdom teeth. These teeth normally emerge between the ages of 17 and 21 and it is very common for them to become impacted. When a tooth is impacted, it remains embedded in soft gingiva (gum) tissue or bone beyond its normal eruption time. This can cause overcrowding, and sometimes the impacted tooth will push on the next tooth, which can cause a misalignment of the bite. What should I know about tooth extractions?
Tooth extractions are commonly used to remove seriously damaged teeth and may also be used to reduce the risk of infection when a tooth is impacted or is crowding other teeth. Before any extraction procedure, we will consult with you, review your child’s medical and dental history, and take a digital x-ray. This helps us determine the best way to extract the affected tooth. If needed, we will prescribe your child antibiotics to take before the extraction procedure. If your child is receiving anesthesia, they will have to prepare for that by not eating several hours before and making sure a parent or guardian can transport them home.