Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby bottle tooth decay or syndrome is a form of tooth decay that can destroy the teeth of an infant. This decay may even enter the underlying bone structure, which can hamper development of the permanent teeth. The teeth most likely to be damaged are the upper teeth.

Baby bottle decay is caused by frequent and long exposure of a child's teeth to liquids containing sugar such as milk, formula, fruit juices, pop and other sweetened liquids. These liquids fuel the bacteria in a child's mouth, which produces acids that attack enamel.

Thumb Sucking
Thumb Sucking

It is completely normal and healthy for your baby or young child to suck on a thumb, finger, or pacifier. Children usually give up sucking habits on their own by the time they are 4 to 5 years old.

If they stop the habit at this age, the shape of the jaw is usually not affected and the teeth grow in normally.

Children who continue sucking on a pacifier, finger, or thumb when their permanent adult teeth start to come in are more likely to have bite problems.

Sucking can cause:
- The top front teeth to slant out
- The bottom front teeth to tilt in
- The upper and lower jaws to be misaligned
- The roof of the mouth to be narrowed
- The need for braces

Treatment: Your doctor may decide to construct an appliance to discourage thumb sucking.

Mesiodens
Mesiodens

Mesiodens is the most common type of 'supernumerary' (extra) tooth. It is typically discovered on routine radiographs taken in young children (3-6 years of age) and is always located in the mid-line between the upper permanent central incisors. The most common complications of all supernumerary teeth (including mesiodens) is delayed or lack of eruption of the adjacent permanent teeth. Only about 25% of mesiodens erupt spontaneously, therefore most of them require surgical management. Treatment of mesiodens is deferred until permanent incisors have at least 2/3 of root development (between ages 7-9), since early treatment can cause damage to the unerupted permanent incisors.

Ankylosis
Ankylosis

This refers to a tooth or teeth (primary or permanent) that have become 'fused' to the bone, preventing it or them from moving 'down' with the bone as the jaws grow. This process can affect any teeth in the mouth, but it is more common on primary first molars and teeth that have suffered trauma (typically the incisors). Treatment can vary depending on the degree of severity of the ankylosis (how 'sunken into the gums' a tooth may appear). The degree of severity usually will vary depending on how early the process started, and as a general rule, the earlier it starts, the more severe the ankylosis becomes with age. Several considerations must be taken before any treatment is provided, and your dentist will discuss all the risks and benefits of each treatment option.

Mucocele
Mucocele

This is a common benign lesion in children and adolescents that results from the rupture of the excretory ducts (very small tubes) that deliver saliva to the top tissues of the lips. More than 75% of mucocele are located on the lower lip and their size and color may vary, however, they tend to be relatively painless for the most part. Most of the time, patients report that these 'bumps' grow until they burst spontaneously, leaving small ulcers that heal within a few days. This does not mean the lesion is gone, as they often tend to re-appear weeks or months later. Most dentists will recommend surgical treatment for these lesions.

Missing Permanent Teeth
Missing Permanent Teeth

Hypodontia (the common dental term) describes a situation when fewer than 6 permanent teeth are missing, the term Oligodontia is used when more than 6 permanent teeth are missing (they were never formed). The most common missing teeth are the third molars (otherwise known as the Wisdom Teeth), followed by the premolars and the lateral incisors. Although it is not uncommon to have one missing tooth, patients with multiple missing teeth generally have a strong genetic component and it has been linked to conditions such as Ectodermal Dysplasia and several syndromes. Because early recognition aids in proper treatment, your dentist will refer you to specialists (orthodontist, oral surgeons, etc) that will determine which options suit you best to replace the missing teeth.

Traumatic Ulcer
Traumatic Ulcer

It is not uncommon for children to inadvertently "bite" on their lips or cheeks, particularly following a dental visit where local anesthetic was used. The main reason why this occurs is the natural curiosity that a child has about the area of the mouth that is "numb." We try our best to explain to children that local anesthesia is temporary and we give them (and their parents) instructions on how to prevent "lip biting." In the event that this occurs, please notify our office so we can determine if your son or daughter will require treatment (i.e. antibiotics or pain medicine).

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