4 Reasons To Be Proactive, Not Reactive With Your Child’s Oral Health

Preventive measures are best when it comes to oral health

A Healthy, Cavity-Free Smile for Your Child

Has your child had a few cavities or even needed an extraction because of a battle with tooth decay? Or, perhaps, your child has had a cavity-free history so far and you want to be sure it stays that way as they grow older. Whatever your goal may be, switching from a reactive to a proactive approach to your child’s oral health is the solution.

The popular expression, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” perfectly sums up the idea behind proactive dental care. Here are four reasons this approach is the path toward a beautiful, healthy smile for your child.

1. Early intervention offers a much better outcome than late-stage treatment. 

In the vast majority of cases, early intervention is going to be more beneficial for the child, parent, and dentist than waiting until late-stage treatment is necessary. Let’s use tooth decay as an example since this is the most common oral health issue in children.

If a cavity is caught in an early stage, there are two things that can happen. The dentist may recommend simply monitoring the tooth if the enamel erosion is very minimal and possibly reversible, or they will move forward with a basic filling if decay is present.

If a cavity isn’t caught until a later stage, the tooth may need more invasive treatment like a filling, a baby root canal, or for severe damage, a complete extraction. Late-stage treatment is often going to be more stressful for your child as well as more expensive and time-consuming, and in the case of extraction, it can possibly cause additional complications.

2. Pediatric dentists can identify and predict signs of trouble long before obvious symptoms occur.

Toothaches are a surefire indicator that something is wrong, but the absence of pain doesn’t mean everything is necessarily fine. Even if your child’s smile looks great and they haven’t mentioned any discomfort, trouble can still be brewing.

The most important reason for taking your child to see their dentist every six months is that only a dentist can spot the early development of cavities or malocclusions and even predict whether your child may have a future oral health issue that needs to be addressed.

This is also a benefit of visiting a pediatric dentist versus a family or general dentist. While a family or general dentist may provide dental care for children, they don’t have the additional education in children’s oral health and development that a dedicated pediatric dentist does.

3. Interceptive orthodontic treatment can help your child achieve the most ideal bite alignment.

Being proactive in orthodontic care can make a huge difference in how effectively your child’s smile is able to be treated. Early orthodontic care, also called interceptive treatment, is done before braces, usually as phase one of a two-phase treatment. Braces are sometimes used in interceptive care but more often than not, the appliances used will be palatal expanders and space maintainers.

Interceptive treatment provides a small but important window of opportunity for ensuring that your child’s smile has enough space for future adult teeth to erupt without crowding or impaction. If interceptive treatment is skipped during this window of opportunity, future orthodontic care may be more complicated and take longer to complete.

Remember to schedule your child’s first orthodontic evaluation no later than their seventh birthday.

4. Baby teeth may be temporary, but they aren’t necessarily expendable.

Baby teeth aren’t going to be around for long, but while they are here it’s important that they are healthy and cavity-free. Losing baby teeth before they naturally shed can lead to a number of issues, including difficulty eating and speaking or complications with alignment of future adult teeth. A decayed baby tooth also increases the risk of further tooth decay as a whole. 

For these reasons, taking a proactive approach to dental care from the very beginning is the best route. Care for your child’s baby teeth as if they were permanent and maintain regular dentist visits starting by their first birthday.

Must Love Kids is your child’s best friend in dental care.

Helping your child attain optimal health comes down to a combination of three things: excellent brushing and flossing habits, a nutritious diet low in sugar and processed foods, and regular visits with an experienced pediatric dentist.

Must Love Kids and their team of professionals are dedicated to providing the best in pediatric dentistry for children of all ages in Vancouver, WA. We also welcome children with all behavioral, medical, and mobility needs. To schedule an appointment for your child, all you need to do is give our office a call. For non-urgent requests or questions, you can use this online form instead.