When you visit Forest Hills Dental in Tampa, Florida, you’ll know you’ve found the perfect place for your family’s care.
Our team loves helping kids grow into healthy adults. At either end of the age spectrum, the bases are covered. Dr. Morganti knows that early experiences influence the value kid’s place on their oral health as adults. And they choose to seek or avoid future care by how they’re treated now. Rest assured, the bar sits high here.
The services offered at Forest Hills Dental, ensure that patients of all ages feel welcome. From the earliest check-ups to the management of orthodontic decisions, Dr. Morganti will listen to your concerns and guide you through every stage.
Tooth decay often begins at an early age, making young children particularly susceptible. Nearly half of 2-11 year-olds have experienced tooth decay while 32% of kids between 9 -11 years old display cavities in their permanent teeth. Major contributing factors to this public health problem include baby formula with added sugar and heavily-sugared fruit juices. Even breast milk can cause cavities in baby teeth because of the natural sugars present.
Care for baby teeth should begin as soon as the first tooth appears. We recommend that you bring your child in for an exam no later than his or her first birthday. And regular six-month checkups from then on will put kids on a similar schedule to most adults. We can monitor your child for dental problems while customizing preventive coaching to fit specific conditions.
As A Parent, Some Early Steps Can Help Guard Your Child Against Tooth Decay, Even Before The First Dental Visit:
- Your baby’s teeth should always be flushed with water or wiped down with a damp cloth after feeding, especially before they fall asleep. Milk or formula residue left in the mouth can promote decay even in the youngest patients. Untreated cavities can eventually lead to pain and infection.
- Try to wean your child off breastfeeding or bottled milk by age two year. This effort helps avoid decay and minimizes the chance of jaw growth problems from excessive sucking.
- Begin brushing as soon as the first tooth appears. Even a small piece of tooth showing can develop a cavity. Start by brushing with a soft bristled brush and water, and ask your dentist when it’s ok to begin using a small amount of toothpaste.
- Once your child is old enough to begin brushing on his or her own, continue to monitor their brushing, going back to clean any areas they may have missed.
- Don’t give bottles of sugary drinks or milk before bedtime
- Use a straw with sugary beverages to allow the teeth to have less contact with the liquid.
- Try to limit the overall sugary foods your child eats and drinks.
Dental health during teen years offers another set of challenges. For most parents, this doesn’t come as a big surprise. A dizzying number of changes strike during these formative years, and parents often experience a few frustrations along the way.
But teens listen more than we realize, and pestering parents can make a tremendous difference in the dental future of these young adults. Oral home care habits tend to slide, sometimes to the point of complete neglect. Increased independence may lead to eating and drinking habits that harm oral and overall health. Don’t underestimate any encouragement given to help your teen avoid the long-term effects of cavities and gum inflammation.
Preventive visits every six months provide us with an opportunity to coach your teen and reinforce the efforts you’re making with them. Sometimes the rapport we establish in a professional, yet friendly, setting proves especially effective. Plus we can share problems with them through visual aids while reinforcing any positive efforts they’re making.
Tips For Home Efforts That Protect Your Teen's Dental Health:
- Limit sodas and energy drinks. Sugary carbonated drinks are the number one cause of tooth decay in adolescents. Many 20 ounce bottles of soda contain 18 teaspoons of sugar in an extremely acidic liquid. The combination can be devastating for teeth.
- Encourage brushing before bedtime. Night hours can be especially harmful as the mouth dries out and bacterial plaque flourishes.
- Explain the dangers of sharing toothbrushes. Teens love to share everything, even toothbrushes. The bacteria that cause gum disease and cavities can easily transfer from one person to the next through this method.
- Slip in dental floss or a toothpick with their lunch or backpack.
A variety of tooth and jaw issues open up the door to orthodontics in a growing child. Dr. Morganti may point out that your child’s baby teeth appear crowded, or the relationship between the jaws isn’t ideal. While not generally the time for treatment, it may help you prepare for the possibility of future corrective care. As permanent teeth start to appear, usually around age 6, Dr. Morganti monitors the process further and helps you decide if early orthodontic treatment makes sense.
Although the majority of cases involve teenagers, braces can play a role for some kids in their earlier years. Since permanent teeth are typically larger than baby teeth, space may need to be opened with the gentle force of braces. This allows teeth to move into place properly, helping avoid more extensive treatment later.
A narrow jaw or a large overbite may create a similar dilemma. Guiding jaw growth while your child’s developing can make a tremendous difference in the long-term outcome. Once the growth stops in teen years, the only corrective measure often involves surgery…always a good scenario to avoid when possible.
The Usual Track
Many youngsters benefit the most from orthodontics after baby teeth fall out and permanent teeth move into place. This classic case may start in the early teen years, leaving a nicely aligned and highly functional set of teeth going into adulthood. The length of time spent wired-up can vary, but average treatment time often falls around two years.
A variety of methods allow orthodontic treatment to solve nearly every possible scenario that appears, but successful treatment relies on good patient compliance. Wearing elastic bands consistently, keeping follow-up appointments for adjustments, and practicing outstanding home care can lead to a positive outcome. This commitment involves frequent preventive visits with your hygienist as well, a strategy that helps avoid cavities around brackets. The Forest Hills Dental team specializes in helping our orthodontic patients enjoy a successful outcome: a gorgeous, healthy smile.