Not all kids need to be seen by a pediatric dentist. We have experience treating children and are happy to see patients of all ages. Children bring fun and excitement into our office and sometimes help our staff behave like kids too!
Dr. Wietholder, Dr. Schilke, and their team pride themselves on being able to treat the whole family. By treating all members of a family, we are able to be your “dental home”. In rare instances, when a child needs treatment (fillings, extractions) and is too young to tolerate care, then a referral may be made to a pediatric dentist so general anesthesia can be administered while the dental work is completed.
It is recommended that parents bring their children in for their first visit after they get their first baby tooth. This is important for several reasons. The first is to help the child get used to the dental office so that they do not fear the dentist later. Bad dental experience as a child can make a person fear the dentist for life, having a negative impact on their dental health for many years.
We believe in building positive relationships with children through early, positive dental visits. The second reason to see children at a young age is to establish good oral hygiene habits. Kids who see the dentist and hygienist on a regular basis usually develop good oral hygiene habits that they use throughout their lives. This will help them prevent severe dental issues and keep their teeth healthy. The third reason is often to educate the parents. Usually, a baby gets their first tooth around 6 months of age. The parents will be the main people responsible for caring for those teeth for several years after that. Education is the key to preventing major dental problems in young children.
Many people think that baby teeth aren’t important because they will “fall out anyway”. This is not true. Primary, or baby, teeth serve many important functions. They allow children to chew and speak properly. They also serve as placeholders for the permanent teeth. When primary teeth have to be extracted prematurely, due to large cavities and/or infection, then the permanent teeth may not be able to erupt properly without a dental device placed in the mouth to hold the space. Also, infections in teeth can be very serious, especially in younger children. It is best to treat baby teeth like permanent teeth by taking very good care of them.
A topical fluoride treatment is suggested for all children at their regular dental hygiene appointment. It is important for kids to have fluoride to help strengthen the enamel on their teeth. Fluoride is a mineral that helps keep the cavity-causing bacteria from dissolving the enamel on the teeth. With strong enamel, it is hard for cavities to grow. Fluoride in toothpaste and tap water are also other important sources of fluoride for children.
It is possible, however, for kids to have too much fluoride. Please ask Dr. Wietholder what is right for your child.
Dental sealants are recommended for children soon after the permanent molars erupt – usually around ages six and twelve. Sealants do not require a shot and are a great way to protect permanent molars from cavities. Dental sealants are a filling material, which flows into the grooves on the chewing surfaces of the teeth and is then cured. This prevents bacteria from starting cavities in the deep grooves of molars.
At All American Dental, we offer a program to reward children that have exceptional dental hygiene. Each time a child gets a checkup with a cavity-free report, they are in! Every month, we will have a prize drawing for a $25 gift card to the winner’s favorite place! They will also be featured on our Facebook page.
Make an appointment for your child today. Call All American Dental in Columbia, MO 573-449-1918.