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How a Pediatric Dentist in Jacksonville, FL, Can Help Your Child Quit Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is a natural habit that many children have early in their lives. Some even begin in the womb. It’s a reflex that generally provides a feeling of contentment and security. Over time the habit will lessen and eventually disappear. In most children, this happens between the ages of two and four. However, some children suck their thumb into the school years, which can cause a problem when adult teeth start to erupt. “Buck teeth” is one example.

A pediatric dentist in Jacksonville, FL, as you find at Weaver & Stratton Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, can provide tips to help your son or daughter kick the habit. We’ll share them here.

The first thing to keep in mind is that this is natural, and there’s no need to take drastic steps. In short, keep calm. Your best bet is to reinforce the positive rather than focus on the negative. Praise your child when they don’t suck their thumb, instead of making an issue of when they do.

Your pediatric dentist will also tell you that you can help break the habit by putting a Band-Aid or sock on their thumb at night as a reminder not to suck. Make sure to let them know it’s not a punishment but a reminder.

Creating a diversion when your child sucks their thumb can help eliminate the habit, as will teaching coping skills if you find they suck when they are anxious or stressed. Rewarding your child when they resist the impulse is also a positive way to help them overcome thumb sucking.

 

little boy at the dentist

Ease Your Child’s Anxiety About Pediatric Dental Care in St. Johns County

Some children have concerns about going to the dentist and will feel high levels of anxiety at the thought. It’s not uncommon, but luckily there are several ways in which a pediatric dentist can help ease your child’s mind about treatment. Our staff at Weaver & Stratton Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics will discuss these techniques here.

One of the keys to assuaging your child’s fears about pediatric dental care in St. Johns County is explaining the process. The fear of the unknown can be potent, but when a young patient is told what will happen and has the chance to ask all of their questions about treatment, the stress is eased.

Pediatric dental care is generally delivered in a kid-friendly clinic focused on putting patients at ease and making them feel welcome and relaxed during every visit.

Dentists who deliver pediatric care use special approaches to providing local analgesia and dental sedation to patients. They can also offer treatment under general anesthesia if required.

Ensuring that your child is comfortable with dental visits is the primary key to securing a lifetime of oral health and wellbeing for them.

toothbrush with toothpaste on it

Benefits of Fluoride Toothpaste for Children

When it comes to dental care, good habits are learned early in life. Brushing and flossing is one of the most effective ways to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Your pediatric dentist in Jacksonville, FL, may make recommendations about using fluoride toothpaste. Here are a few reasons why this advice is a good idea for your child.

Why Fluoride Matters

Fluoride enhances toothpaste, making it a strong defense against tooth decay. Historically, it effectively changed how people brushed their teeth. Dentists and researchers found that fluoride-enhanced toothpaste assisted in many ways:

Re-mineralization: Fluoride strengthened tooth enamel and helped to re-mineralize teeth. When applied to a damaged area of a tooth, it attracted minerals like calcium to assist in rebuilding the teeth.

Antibacterial Properties: Fluoride stimulates the production of fluorapatite, a type of enamel that is resistant to acid and bacteria. Cavities and gingivitis form due to the growth of bacteria, so fluoride actively counters their development.

Fluoride also adds a protective layer to teeth that prevent microbes and bacteria from adhering to the surface. This lessens the likelihood for bacteria to eat away at the teeth and cause cavities.

When speaking with your pediatric dentist, ask about recommended toothpaste brands. You will find that many of their answers will refer to fluoride-enhanced toothpaste.

toddler playing

Teeth Grinding in Toddlers: When to Take Action

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is common among children. It happens when an individual presses their upper and lower jaws together. While the act itself is not dangerous, habitual teeth grinding can damage teeth and even accelerate tooth loss. Severe bruxism might require pediatric dental care in St. Johns County, FL.

Sleep-Related Bruxism

Many children might grind their teeth while they are asleep. This is because the jaw muscles are more likely to contract while sleeping. Teeth grinding while sleeping can be so loud that others might hear. If it is happening, it is involuntary and your child does not even realize they are doing it.

 

Doctors do not know what causes bruxism in children. Many factors might contribute to the behavior, including stress and anxiety, sleep disorders like sleep apnea, or pain caused by toothaches, teething, or ear infections.

Effects on Health

Bruxism in children is common. Children may engage in the behavior early, but may grow out of it as they gain their permanent teeth. However, if your child is past the age of six and still doing it, then it may require intervention.

Bruxism can disrupt sleep schedules, leading to a range of sleep-related problems. When a child gets their permanent teeth, bruxism can damage the teeth and gums, increasing the risk of gum disease and tooth loss.

Your child might require pediatric dental care for their bruxism if they have frequent headaches, signs of trauma in the teeth or gums, or they have complaints about pain or discomfort in the face when waking up. Arrange an appointment with your dentist if any of these signs occur.

colorful tooth brushes

Encourage Children to Form Good Dental Health Habits with Charts

Toothbrushing charts are a fun tool for preventative dental care in Jacksonville, FL. They are ways to help children remember to brush and floss their teeth every day. It also gives parents a bit of reassurance, knowing that this important daily task isn’t being forgotten. It works just like a chore chart, which you may already be using.

If your child has a hard time remembering to brush their teeth on their own, use a toothbrushing chart to encourage daily preventative dental care is a smart move. With motivation and even some rewards, your child will be eager to brush in no time. Here are free toothbrushing charts:

Good oral hygiene typically leads to good overall health, so start teaching the importance of proper oral health skills early on. You are your child’s first role model. Show toothbrushing as a twice-daily ritual and explain why it’s important to maintain a proper preventative dental care routine.

It’s always best to supervise their brushing. Although children may be able to mimic the motions of brushing teeth, they generally can’t brush their teeth on their own effectively until after they are about five years old. You’ll need to continue supervising brushing and flossing twice daily to make sure they’re doing a proper job.

small child at the dentist

Preparing Your Child for Their First Dental Appointment

When you have decided on a pediatric dentist in Jacksonville, FL, for your child, call them to schedule a visit.  You can inquire if it is possible for you and your child to come to their dental office for a tour and to meet the dentist before the actual day of their checkup. If your child has any special needs, discuss these with the staff member who schedules your appointment.

Preparation Tips

In general, young children typically do their best in the morning when they are bright and full of energy. Try to avoid scheduling pediatric dentist appointments late in the day or close to nap times when kids can be groggy or cranky.

Mental Preparation

Children absorb and learn best when they are having fun. You can practice giving their favorite stuffed animal a checkup with a toy mirror.

Put Them At Ease

When discussing upcoming pediatric dentist trips, assure your child that there are no shots at this visit and that the dentist will simply examine and brush their teeth and talk to them about how to keep their teeth healthy.

Anticipating Follow Up Visits

Once the first pediatric dentist visit is over, it’s time to prepare your child for their second visit. Remind them of the positive things that happened, such as:

  • There Were No Shots
  • The Toothbrush Tickled
  • Nothing Hurt
  • The Dentist Counted All of Their Teeth
preventative dental care jacksonville fl

Do Children Need Preventative Dental Care in Jacksonville, FL?

You might be wondering why exactly children need preventative dental care in Jacksonville, FL when their baby teeth are just going to fall out anyway. There are two main reasons why you shouldn’t put off taking your child to a pediatric dentist.

  1. Dental Problems Still Hurt – Tooth decay and cavities can still lead to pain, trouble concentrating, and other medical issues if they are allowed to go unchecked–even in baby teeth. Diseased or damaged teeth can keep children from chewing their food easily, learning how to speak clearly, and building confidence in their smiles and self. A pediatric dentist helps your child avoid all of this pain and discomfort by assisting them in keeping their teeth and gums nice and healthy.
  2. Good Habits Start Young – By showing your child how important it is to maintain the health of their teeth and go for regular dental checkups when they are young, you are building positive habits that can stay with them throughout their entire lives.
    The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics encourage parents to bring their children to a dentist by the age of one. These early visits not only help to ensure your child’s first teeth are healthy but also help to teach you and your child as they grow the best practices to reduce the potential of decay and other issues.

 

pediatric dental work jacksonville fl

What to Expect on the Day of Pediatric Dental Work in Jacksonville, FL

Bringing your child to a pediatric dentist for dental surgery might feel a bit stressful for both you and your child. However, when you know what to expect, you can alleviate much of this worry and rest easy knowing your son or daughter is going to receive the best pediatric dental work in Jacksonville, FL, from a compassionate and skilled dentist. Take a look below to get an idea of what your child’s procedure day might be like.
Arrival – When you and your child arrive, you will check-in at the front desk. One of the pre-op nurses will then call your child back to prepare them for their surgery. This can include changing them into a gown, checking their vital signs, and even allowing the child to enjoy some television or stuffed animals to help them remain calm and comfortable.

Anesthesia Preparations – If anesthesia is required for your child’s dental surgery, the anesthesiologist will come over and introduce themselves to you and explain the process to you. Your child may be given a premedication of a pink liquid called Versed to help calm your child 20-30 minutes before going into the operating room. This is determined by the anesthesiologist and is not always required.

Intraoperative Imaging – Before entering the OR, the dental surgeon will introduce themselves and explain or answer any questions you might have about the procedure. X-rays will then be taken in the operating room once the child is asleep to ensure that all necessary work is completed during the procedure.

Procedure – The child will be brought into the operating room and given a mask over their face with anesthesia gases for them to breathe. In most situations, the child is sedated within just 10 seconds. Once under general anesthesia, a tube will be placed down their throat and into their lungs so that a ventilator can breathe for them. The dental surgeon will then perform the procedure and remove the tube once the child is awake and breathe on their own again.

Post-Operation – After the operation, the child will be allowed to recover in a private recovery room; once their vital signs appear stable, they will have something to drink and have their IV removed. They will then be able to go home. Most recovery times are less than 45 minutes for most dental surgery procedures. You will then be given post-operative instructions to be reviewed before your child’s discharge to ensure their continued recovery and health success.

pediatric dental care st. johns county

How Your Child Can Benefit From Pediatric Dental Care

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association both recommend that pediatric dental care in St. Johns County, FL, should start on or before a child’s first birthday. Recent studies have shown that preschool-aged children are getting more cavities than ever before. Many children will develop cavities as early as age two.

You may choose any dentist, but, for many reasons, it’s worth finding one that has experience treating children. This is because they specialize in pediatric dental care for children and are better prepared to focus on and handle the specific issues related to children’s oral health, such as the emotional and developmental states that can impact children’s dental appointments. Here are some more good points.

More Formal and Specialized Training

Pediatric dentists undertake additional training that family dentists don’t. Typically, they spend two to three years in additional training after completing dental school. This pediatric dental care training focuses on child psychology, growth, and development in infants, children, teens, and children with special needs.

Developmentally-Based Dental Care

Dentists specializing in pediatric dental care will be more mindful of your child’s age and stage of development. They use this knowledge to decide how and when to introduce healthy dental habits or to book age-related oral procedures. For example, the first few visits may typically be geared toward teaching young children how to care for their teeth and gums properly. Later, the focus will be on promoting the healthy development of adult teeth to making good dental hygiene a lifelong endeavor.

preventative dental care jacksonville fl

The Importance of Preventative Dental Care

There is no way around it; preventative dental care in Jacksonville, FL, is essential. The phrase “dental appointment” brings anxiety and dread to some people. There are many reasons why people feel this way, but the reality is that a visit to the dentist can save you a lot of pain, suffering, and money in the long run.

The critical importance of preventative dental care can be seen from its impact on physical health benefits to improved social interaction. Here are the top three reasons to book regular dental appointments this year:

Your Dentist Can Monitor the Condition of Your Teeth and Gums Over Time

Brushing and flossing daily is not enough to keep your teeth as healthy as they should be. Even though brushing is an essential step for oral hygiene, patients need to have regular checkups with a dentist that can do a thorough assessment and identify any developing conditions.

It Can Save You Money

Many people avoid preventative dental care and dental visits because they think it will save money. Some dental appointments might be costly; however, they are not as expensive as they would be if you develop a condition that could have been prevented. It’s more economical in the long run to go for the preventive dental appointment where a dentist can diagnose your oral condition

Identifying Serious Diseases

Poor oral health can lead to severe and sometimes fatal conditions such as heart attacks and strokes. Preventative dental care can help to identify conditions like oral cancer, which is treatable when detected early. It’s all too common for people to regret a grim diagnosis of a situation that could have otherwise been easily managed.