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Six of the Most Common Pediatric Dental Problems You Need to Know About

Being a new parent can be amazing but requires plenty of patience, love, and vigilance. Sometimes, however, with how busy life can be, the little things can fall through the cracks.

We here at Whitewing Dental understand that as parents, we have a lot on our plates. Getting a little outside help from your McAllen dentists could help save your children’s teeth and gums, and save your little ones from some serious – and expensive – dental work down the road.

To do our part, we gathered six of the most common pediatric dental problems children face so that you know what to watch out before they become a major problem.

1. Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Also known as nursing caries, baby bottle tooth decay occurs when your child’s baby teeth have been exposed to anything else other than water for a long period of time. In essence, this exposure causes cavities.

This tends to happen when you put your child to bed with a bottle. Liquids like milk or juice, even if watered down, have sugars that bad bacteria in your child’s mouth will feed on. When they feed on this sugar, they release an acid that will erode your child’s tooth enamel, causing cavities. Other drinks like sodas and even formula can also cause these effects.

However, if you breastfeed, it will not cause baby bottle tooth decay but you will still want to watch what you eat. Stay on a healthy diet and help your children develop a good oral hygiene routine.

High sugar diet causes bacteria in the mouth to make acid which can dissolve tooth enamel #NoBedTimeBottle #WhiteWing Click To Tweet

2. Thumb Sucking

Children that suck on their thumbs do so as a soothing reflex, but for parents, it can be a bit frustrating. Thumb sucking is understandable if your child is really young, but if it continues as they get older, it can become a problem.

At around 6 years old, permanent teeth begin to erupt. If a child is still sucking on his or her thumbs at that point, they risk pulling their teeth out of alignment. Not only does it affect the teeth, it could potentially alter the roof of their mouths.

3. Tongue Thrusting

This primarily affects infants.

Infants tend to push their tongue at the top of their mouth right behind their front teeth when swallowing, a method called “tongue thrusting”. While this is okay when they are infants, as they grow they begin to lose this habit and begin to swallow normally like older children and adults do.

However, if they continue tongue thrusting as they get older, they risk having the same thing happen to them as if they were sucking on their thumbs. Teeth can be knocked out of alignment and the roof of the mouth may be altered.

If you think that your child may be too old and is still swallowing in this manner, our McAllen or La Feria dentists at Whitewing Dental can spot these types of symptoms and help you come up with a plan to curb this habit.

4. Tooth Grinding

Also known as bruxism, tooth grinding is a common problem in growing children. Teeth grinding can cause a lot of damage to primary or permanent teeth which can, in turn, ultimately cause pain and tooth sensitivity.

Luckily, your McAllen family dentist can treat this problem by creating a custom night guard for your child. A night guard is an appliance made in a laboratory from an impression of your child’s mouth. It fits perfectly on their teeth to prevent the surfaces from grinding against each other.

According to the American Sleep Association, 15% of children are affected by bruxism. #GetANightGuard #WhiteWingDental Click To Tweet

5. Over-Retained Primary Tooth

This phenomenon usually occurs when your child’s primary tooth remains in position while the permanent tooth is trying to erupt into the same space. This can happen because of several reasons:

  • The absence of a permanent tooth (occurs only 2.5 to 6.9 percent of the time)
  • Misalignment of the permanent tooth
  • Gender (females are more likely to have over-retained primary teeth)
  • Obstructions
  • Infection
  • Trauma
  • Delayed eruption of the permanent tooth

Treatment generally depends on the condition of not only the primary tooth but the structures surrounding it as well. It isn’t unusual to reshape the tooth if it is deemed acceptable, but other times—especially if it is crooked—bridges, braces, or dental implants may have to be used.

6. Gum Diseases Like Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a big risk for children that don’t have great dental hygiene. Plaque buildup can get under the gums, inflaming them and turning them red and tender. Not only does it cause bad breath, it can cause the gums to bleed whenever your child brushes his or her teeth.

If left unchecked, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis, where bone loss on the jaw and tooth loss is highly likely.

Luckily, your dentists at Whitewing Dental can help reverse early stages of gingivitis while improving your child’s dental hygiene habits.

Bring in your children to WhiteWing Dental in McAllen or La Feria for an expert dental checkup today.

For years, our pediatric dentists at Whitewing Dental have assisted families with all of their dental needs. Let us help you and your child develop strong dental hygiene habits so that you can avoid costly dental procedures later on.

To schedule your appointment, contact us today at (956) 686-5577.

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