Children’s or Pediatric Periodontics
Rockwall & Paris, Texas
Periodontal treatment is most commonly performed on adults, however there are instances when children require periodontal care to correct gum-related issues that may be caused by an infection or some other issue. It is uncommon for children to need treatment for bone loss or buildup of plaque, although children with thin gum tissue may need a gum grafting procedure. There are also instances when surgical adjustment of bone or soft tissue is necessary for orthodontic treatment.
At Northeast Texas Periodontal Specialists, we are committed to providing your child with attentive, delicate care to make sure they receive the treatment they need and are as comfortable as possible. During your child’s initial examination, we welcome you to be in the room as we perform our evaluation. We will explain our findings and discuss treatment options with you and your child in a gentle and reassuring manner. We will also answer any questions you or your child may have during this time. We also offer sedation options as part of children’s periodontal procedures and this is often provided by a dental anesthesiologist who is specially trained.
Dr. Hodges and the rest of our team care about the health and wellbeing of all of our patients, and in the rare cases of children needing treatment for periodontal issues, we are here to help. To learn more about our office’s approach to children’s periodontics, please refer to the following. To schedule an appointment for your child, contact our Rockwall office today at (972) 771-8640 or our Paris office at (903) 785-4832.
Why It is So Important
One of the most important services we provide our patients is education on the importance of good oral hygiene habits. Establishing these habits at an early age is essential to avoid developing issues later in life and enjoying good oral health. The following are four critical reasons why we encourage parents to teach their children the importance of good oral hygiene habits:
- Health of their adult teeth: Compared to adult teeth, baby teeth are much smaller and have a thinner layer of enamel, which increases the risk of cavities and decay developing. Because adult teeth rest behind baby teeth, any health issues that impact your child’s baby teeth may also damage their adult teeth.
- Alignment of their adult teeth: Baby teeth that are lost too early will result in less room for the permanent tooth to grow, which can result in improper alignment and crooked teeth later in life.
- Development of speech patterns: Poor speech patterns can develop early when baby teeth are not properly aligned and can persist through adulthood.
- Self-Esteem: Having strong, healthy teeth and a bright white smile plays a critical role in the development of your child’s self-esteem. Dental pain or having dental issues can make children feel embarrassed, angry, or anxious about their smile, which can inhibit your child’s ability to create important friendships, develop confidence, and be well-adjusted.
For Newborns and Children
If your child’s frenulum is too tight, thick, or short, tongue-tie (also known as ankyloglossia) issues can develop. There are several different issues that may develop as a result of the tongue’s range of motion being restricted. Among newborns, the most significant issue is difficulty nursing. If your newborn is not able to keep their tongue over their lower gum, they will be unable to properly suckle at the nipple, and will instead chew, which can be very uncomfortable for the mother, to the point where nursing may be avoided entirely.
Common signs of frenum-related issues among newborns and children include:
- Speech issues
- Difficulty eating
- Discomfort, pain, or restriction in the tongue area
- Difficulty moving tongue side-to-side
- Difficulty lifting tongue up to upper teeth
- Difficulty pushing tongue past lower front teeth
Braces and Other
Orthodontic Treatments Options
While most everyone has either had or knows someone who had braces during their adolescent years, there are other orthodontic devices that may be effective in helping your child that are less well known, including the following:
- Palatal Expanders: A custom-made pediatric orthodontic device used to correct issues such as crowding, impacted teeth, and crossbite. The expander pushes the halves of the jaw from each other while preserving the bone to broaden the top jaw. Once the proper expansion has occurred (normally within three to six months) the expander will remain mounted for several additional months so bone in the gap of the palate can develop properly.
- Nance Button: Used for children who shed baby teeth too early, this partial acrylic plate is fixed around the rear teeth using two metal bands and is designed to prevent adult molars from moving too far forward. The Nance can either be removable or cemented in place depending on your child’s unique needs. A removable Nance is generally used if possible, as doing so allows your child to engage with more games and sporting activities.
- Lower Lingual Holding Arch: This orthodontic device is similar to the Nance in that it also prevents adult teeth from progressing too quickly following the shedding of a baby tooth, however, the lower lingual holding arch is attached to the bottom teeth with metal bands bound to the back molars and a U-shaped bar that joins these bands is placed behind the fully grown molars. Because the arch is not connected to any soft tissue, moderate soreness can occur, though unlike the Nance Button, there is little chance of contamination occurring.
To determine if your child requires braces or any of the aforementioned orthodontic tools, we will conduct a thorough examination to ensure their adult teeth grow in strong and healthy. We will also consult with your child’s dentist or orthodontist to ensure the best care is provided for your child.