5 Common Dental Problems in Kids

Children are constantly growing, changing, and running around, so it’s no wonder that they can be at higher risk for certain oral health problems. To reduce your child’s risk for costly dental treatment, you should be on the lookout for early warning signs. Read on in this blog from Tiny Tooth Pediatric Dentistry to learn about 5 of the most common dental problems seen in children.

1. Dental Trauma

Children are at a disproportionate risk of suffering from dental trauma, especially from sports-related injuries. Young children can slip and fall, leading to chipped or cracked teeth. Older children are more active in sports and can get hit in the face, causing jaw injury or a knocked-out tooth. 

This is why it’s important to wear a mouthguard to protect their teeth from injury and damage. Trauma can also occur while your child is sleeping if they grind their teeth. Teeth grinding can cause enamel erosion, chips & cracks, or even break a tooth in half from the significant and repetitive force on the teeth.

2. Tooth Decay

Children are also at a higher risk for cavities because primary teeth are composed of thinner enamel which is more susceptible to erosion. Children may also try to neglect their oral hygiene or eat a diet high in sugar. Infants are at risk for baby bottle tooth decay when parents put them to sleep with a baby bottle that contains sugary drinks such as fruit juice or even breast milk. 

Baby bottle tooth decay can also be caused by sharing utensils or licking their pacifier clean because the bacteria in your mouth can cause tooth decay in their mouth. Cavities are caused when left-behind sugars in the mouth are fed on by bacteria and transformed into acids that attack the enamel. 

This starts to wear down the teeth and eventually causes holes known as cavities, the first stage of tooth decay. When left untreated, this can penetrate through the enamel and reach the deeper layers of the tooth such as the dental pulp. 

At this point, your child will need more than just a filling. They may need a pulpotomy that treats infections isolated in the crown of the tooth. However, if the roots are also infected, they could need a root canal or an extraction. 

3. Tongue & Lip Ties

About 3% of babies are born with a tongue or lip tie. This is when a piece of connective tissue restricts movement in the tongue or lips and can cause a host of issues such as difficulty breastfeeding, speech impediments, mouth breathing, sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, and difficulty gaining weight. 

A frenectomy is a treatment performed by pediatric dentists to correct tongue and lip ties. It involves cutting the connective tissue that is restricting movement so the tongue and lips can move freely and prevent the associated speech and feeding problems. 

4. Orthodontic Problems

It’s common for many children to have orthodontic issues such as gaps, overcrowding, misaligned teeth, or bite problems. This is why it’s recommended that children get an orthodontic screening by the time they are 7 years old. 

Catching the signs of orthodontic problems early on can enable us to implement early orthodontic treatment that manipulates the still-developing jaws and teeth to encourage proper alignment. 

This can prevent the need for braces later on. When orthodontic treatment is started early, it is easier to manipulate the jaws and alignment of the teeth with less invasive and time-consuming treatment.

5. Premature Tooth Loss

Believe it or not, your child’s primary teeth are very important to their oral health, tooth alignment, and the eruption of permanent teeth. If a primary tooth is lost too soon, it can no longer maintain space in the mouth which will cause the surrounding teeth to shift. 

As the teeth shift, they can cause the teeth to become crooked, cause bite problems, or block the space where the old tooth used to be. This space needs to remain open for the permanent tooth to know where to erupt when it’s time to come through the gums. 

Without your primary tooth, your other teeth can block the space and cause the permanent tooth to be impacted in the gums. A space maintainer avoids these problems by keeping the space open and preventing the teeth from moving until the permanent tooth is ready to erupt.

Schedule Your Child’s Next Pediatric Dental Appointment in Columbia

Pediatric dentists undergo an additional 2 years of education and training after dental school to specialize in preventing, diagnosing, and treating oral health problems in children. 

While your child is growing, they can benefit from seeing a specialist with in-depth knowledge and training on child-friendly dental care. Contact us at Tiny Tooth Pediatric Dentistry in Columbia today to schedule an appointment for your child. 

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