Every parent wants what’s best for their child, and doctor’s visits are just a part of everyday life for families. Your child has probably spent plenty of time at the pediatrician, but when was the last time they went to the dentist?
We’re in the midst of a dental health crisis in America. It’s estimated that 1 in 5 kids aged 5-11 in the US have at least one rotted tooth. Proper dental care for kids can help ensure that they have a bright future as adults. That’s why it’s important to find the best pediatric dentist for your kids to see.
Regular check-ups should be a part of everyone’s healthcare routine, but there are some very clear signs that your child should see a dentist sooner rather than later. If you find yourself searching “signs my child needs a dentist” frequently, know that these are the 5 most common signs that your child needs to see a dental specialist ASAP.
1. Swollen or Discolored Gums
When most parents worry about dental issues in children they immediately look for signs of problems in the teeth. Teeth may be a very important part of dental health, but parents that want to ensure that their children aren’t experiencing dental issues should pay special attention to their gums.
Do you notice blood in the sink after your child brushes their teeth? Have they complained about their gums being sore in the past? Do their gums look red, inflamed, or bloody?
It may be too early to worry about serious gum disease like gingivitis, but your child may be dealing with a build-up of plaque on their gums. Not taking care of that plaque could lead to serious dental problems in the future.
Also, be on the lookout for signs of white bumps on the gumline. Some parents may mistake them for the beginnings of teeth breaking through the gums, but this could be a sign that your child has thrush or a different oral fungus.
2. Tooth Sensitivity
This can be difficult for parents to catch in their kids. After all, kids are growing so isn’t a little discomfort to be expected?
It isn’t unusual for your child to mention in passing that a bite of very cold or very hot food made their teeth feel strange. The problem happens when they keep mentioning the issue.
Remember, sensitive teeth don’t always feel painful to people, so it can be hard for your child to identify how they feel. This is why we recommend asking children if their teeth feel “funny” when they eat.
Tooth sensitivity can be caused by an array of problems. Some children may just be predisposed to it because their parents also have dental issues. In some extreme cases, the sensitivity may be caused by a small crack in the tooth, cavities, or other issues.
Regardless of the cause, sensitivity issues should be dealt with as soon as they’re noticed. Be sure to ask your child to describe how they feel in detail to the dentist so they’ll have a better chance of diagnosing what’s wrong.
3. Delayed Growth
Most kids start to typically lose their baby teeth by age 6, but this can be delayed a year without an issue. It may take your child a bit longer to have their permanent teeth come in, but problems start to occur when they’re 8 or older and haven’t shown signs of losing any teeth.
In some cases, some of your child’s permanent teeth may make an appearance before they’ve lost any baby teeth. This may be normal, but you should still have a pediatric dentist check them to ensure that everything is growing properly.
Toothaches are usually a universal sign that it’s time to see a dentist. Many toothaches are caused by cavities, but there are other more serious issues that could be causing your child pain.
Teeth that are impacted or growing in the wrong direction can cause a lot of pain and discomfort in children. This can be a sign of bigger orthodontic issues that could occur if the problem isn’t dealt with swiftly.
It’s important to bring your child to the dentist even if they claim their toothache has gotten better. It isn’t uncommon for some serious dental problems to feel painful one moment then go away for another. Dentists should examine your child as soon as they feel they have a toothache so they can analyze and treat the problem properly.
5. Crooked/Misaligned Teeth
Having a gap in your front teeth or teeth that aren’t perfectly aligned isn’t the worst thing in life. In fact, some people may think that a few dental imperfections are charming or cute. These problems may not hurt your child much aesthetically, but ignoring these issues can cause problems in the future.
People can underestimate just how big of a role teeth play in language development. In order to form certain words and sounds your child will have to rely on certain special teeth. Having misaligned or missing teeth can lead to problems with pronunciation.
It’s also worth mentioning that crooked or misaligned teeth can be a sign of a larger problem. Ignoring these issues could lead to expensive and uncomfortable orthodontic work in the future.
It’s always best to get dental problems diagnosed when children are young since they’re still growing. Even if you don’t think what you’re seeing is an issue, let the dentist be the one to make that decision.
Find the Best Pediatric Dentist
Dental care should be a part of every child’s life, but there are some problems that can’t wait for an annual check-up. If you notice any of the 5 problems we mentioned in this post know that it’s time to find the best pediatric dentist to help your kid ASAP.
Do you have questions about some dental problems your child has been experiencing? Are you interested in learning more about our services or staff? Are you interested in learning more about pediatric dental health?
Regardless of what you need, we’re here to help! Contact us today so we can start a conversation about dental health.