Do I need braces? This is a common question at the dentist office. Orthodontics (braces) help correct irregularities of the teeth, called malocclusion.

Seeing a pediatric dentist at a young age helps to monitor jaw and teeth development. In some cases, early orthodontic intervention is needed; although most problems have to wait for adolescence when all primary teeth are lost.

Malocclusion can affect our speech, ability to chew food, and put unnecessary stress on the gums and bone supporting teeth, which could lead to periodontal disease or irregular tooth-wear later in life.

With regular visits to your dentist, they will monitor when you are a good candidate for orthodontic treatment.

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Mouth Ulcers

One of the most common problems of the soft tissues in the mouth ulcers, also called: canker sores, apthous ulcers, or recurrent apthous stomatitis.

The lesion appears as a white spot surrounded by a red border. It is very sensitive, which can make brushing and eating difficult. Spicy and acidic foods or drinks can cause the ulceration to hurt more. Stick to a bland diet and drink plenty of water.

As there is not a cure, some people find swishing with warm salt water or using over-the-counter products help with discomfort.

If you have sores that do not seem to heal, or occur frequently, check with your dentist to rule out systemic diseases.

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Missing Teeth

If a child loses a baby tooth prematurely due to cavities or trauma, other teeth may tip or drift into the unoccupied space. This eliminates room for the eruption of the future permanent tooth, leading to the need of more expensive orthodontic or surgical treatment.

If a tooth can not be saved, the child’s dentist can place a space maintainer to hold the space open for the unerupted permanent tooth.

To minimize expense to the parents and dental disease to the child, routine care every six months with radiographs as advised, is the most cost effective and preventive course of action.

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Bad Breath

Bad breath can be an issue for children and young adults. Alcohol based mouthwashes may actually compound the problem.

An evaluation by the dentist will include examining the tongue, reviewing homecare for the removal of odor causing bacteria, and check for decay and/or infected teeth. The dentist will also check for infected tonsils, postnasal drip, and certain odors that can indicate medical issues.

Do not hesitate to ask your child’s dentist if you notice or suspect any breath problems.

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