Every child should see the dentist for regular checkups. These checkups are a good time for you as a parent to bring up any concerns you might have about your child's oral health and dental care. However, some dental problems should not wait until the next checkup. Here are five signs you need to schedule an appointment with your child's dentist now.
1. Complaints of Throbbing Tooth Pain
Is your child holding their cheek and complaining of throbbing tooth pain? They might tell you that their tooth feels like it has a pulse or like someone is drumming on it. Throbbing tooth pain is often a sign of a dental abscess, which makes it a symptom you should never ignore.
Dental abscesses occur when the tooth root and the tissue around it become infected. As your child's body fights the infection, pus builds up in the area, leading to pressure and pain. If left untreated, the infection can spread to your child's jaw and even into their blood.
Your child's dentist may perform a root canal procedure to remove the infected tooth material. In the meantime, while you're awaiting an appointment, give your child over-the-counter pain relievers and use ice packs to control the pain.
2. Persistent Bad Breath
You shouldn't be concerned if your child has bad breath in the morning or when they forget to brush their teeth. Help your child brush to make sure they are doing a thorough job.
But if the bad breath persists in spite of good oral hygiene, this could indicate cavities or gum disease, both of which should be treated by a dentist. Don't wait until you see a cavity or your child complains of pain - by that stage, cavities are harder to treat.
3. Aversion to Hot and Cold Foods
Pay attention to your child's eating habits. If you suddenly notice they are avoiding overly hot foods or cold foods when they once enjoyed these items, this could indicate a problem with their teeth.
Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures could just mean your child has a cavity that needs filling. It could also be the first sign of a dental abscess or a sign that your child cracked or chipped a tooth during play.
4. Persistent Bleeding After Brushing or Flossing
If you see a little pink in the sink after your child brushes or flosses, you should not immediately be concerned. Occasional bleeding is not uncommon and may just mean your child's using a little too much force - or too stiff a toothbrush - when brushing. Persistent bleeding that happens every day, on the other hand, could indicate gum disease.
Gum disease is not hard to treat when you catch it in the early stages. Your dentist may need to help your child improve their brushing and flossing technique. They may also recommend an antiseptic mouthwash.
5. Brown Spots on the Teeth
Some parents fail to worry about brown spots on baby teeth. They may suspect the spots are cavities, but they figure the teeth will fall out anyway. But cavities in baby teeth are still painful and can interfere with your child's ability to eat, drink, and speak. Plus, baby teeth are needed to guide the adult teeth into place.
If you see spots on any of your child's teeth - deciduous or permanent - make an appointment with the dentist. By the time you can see a cavity, it's pretty serious.
As with most aspects of health care, the sooner you seek treatment for your child's dental problem, the better. If you're looking for a reliable pediatric dentist in the Reno area, get in touch with Grant/Moana Dental Office.